CARSON, CA (BDCi Sports) — The Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Orlando City Lions 4-2 in a match full of MLS playoff atmosphere in front of 27,167 fans at the Stub Hub Center .
It was a much hyped match-up with many story lines. First, there was the return of all-time MLS leading scorer Landon Donovan who announced the end of his retirement earlier in the week and return to the Galaxy club. Second both teams got back several star players from either the injured list or international play. Third, Kaka, FIFA’s 2007 World Player of the Year was playing in his first MLS match in Los Angeles.
In the first twenty minutes of the match, the Galaxy dominated the ball movement but could not convert on top 5 MLS goalkeeper Joe Bendik. Then in the 21st minute, Orlando City surprised the hometown crowd by scoring first on a Kevin Molino rebound shot against Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe.
GALAXY BEAST WAKES UP, DESTROYS ORLANDO CITY BEFORE HALFTIME
In the 35th minute, Jelle Van Damme powered a ball deep from the defensive end to a sprinting Emmanuel Boateng on the left side who crossed it perfectly to Giovani dos Santos who closed it easily past Bendik. It was Santos’ 13th goal of the season, but he wasn’t done.
Not long after, in the 38th minute, Dos Santos found Jelle Van Damme on the left side who crossed to an open Alan Gordon who volleyed the ball into the net to put L.A. up 2-1.
Then in the 44th minute, Alan Gordon suffered a penalty in the box, and Dos Santos converted the goal to give the team a 3-1 lead going into the second half.
After the substitution of Robbie Keane for Gordon in the 60th minute, the crowd got louder in anticipation of Keane’s contributions and Donovan’s return. Sure enough, in the 69th minute, Keane tapped in the Galaxy’s 4th goal after a wonderful through ball by midfielder Sebastian Lletget to Dos Santos who avoided Bendik with a flick pass to Keane. It was Keane’s 8th goal of the season, and Dos Santos’ 11th assist to go with 14 goals on the season.
WILL LANDON DONOVAN COME IN ALREADY?
Chants of “We want Landon” filled the stadium in the 82nd minute, and the MLS superstar entered in jersey number 26 to a standing ovation. While he didn’t score or assist after that, his presence, his energy filled the Galaxy with confidence and made this match very one-sided.
With the win, Los Angeles moves to second place in the Western Conference of the MLS. Orlando City remain in sixth place in the Eastern Conference.