GALAXY: MLS Cup-bound
November, 6, 2011
By Scott French | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesLandon Donovan's penalty kick got the Galaxy going on their way to a 3-1 win over Salt Lake.
CARSON -- David Beckham hooked up with Mike Magee for the third straight playoff game, and the Galaxy is headed back to the MLS Cup final.
Magee's header 13 minutes into the second half broke open a tight tactical battle and sent the Galaxy toward a 3-1 triumph over Real Salt Lake in Sunday night's in the Western Conference final at Home Depot Center.
Robbie Keane tallied on a breakaway in the 68th minute, outbattling surprise starter Jamison Olave to finish inside the right post to increase the lead.
Landon Donovan converted a 23rd-minute penalty kick after Andy Williams bundled into Omar Gonzalez from behind as he nodded a Donovan cross over the bar. RSL pulled even less than two minutes later when Olave, who passes a pregame fitness test, nodded Javier Morales' corner kick into the center, and Alvaro Saborio headed it home.
Fabian Espindola nearly tied the score again seconds after Magee's strike, but his blast from the left caromed off the crossbar and out of danger. Keane and RSL's Kyle Beckerman hit posts in the first half, and Josh Saunders made a superb reaction save on Robbie Russell after a Morales corner kick.
Magee, who scored from Beckham serves in both first-round playoff victories over New York, scored the lone Galaxy goal in a penalty-kicks loss to RSL in the 2009 MLS Cup, the last time L.A. got so far.
The Galaxy, who will make their seventh title-game appearance looking to add to trophies captured in 2002 and 2005, take on the Houston Dynamo in the Nov. 20 championship at HDC. The Dynamo beat Sporting Kansas City, 2-0, in the Eastern Conference final but lost MVP candidate Brad Davis to a season-ending thigh injury.
AEG, the Galaxy's owner, owns about half of the Texas club, along with a group led by boxer Oscar de la Hoya.
Galaxy 3, Real Salt Lake 1
LA -- Landon Donovan pen. 23
RSL -- Alvaro Saborio (Jamison Olave, Javier Morales) 25
LA -- Mike Magee (David Beckham, Robbie Keane) 58
LA -- Robbie Keane (Landon Donovan) 68
Galaxy: Josh Saunders; Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant; Landon Donovan, David Beckham (Michael Stephens, 93+), Juninho, Mike Magee; Chad Barrett (Chris Birchall, 63), Robbie Keane. Unused subs: Paolo Cardozo, Adam Cristman, Frankie Hejduk, Donovan Ricketts, Dasan Robinson.
Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando; Robbie Russell (Ned Grabavoy, 70), Jamison Olave (Tony Beltran, 82), Chris Schuler, Chris Wingert; Andy Williams (Luis Gil, 75), Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Will Johnson; Fabian Espindola, Alvaro Saborio. Unused subs: Yordany Alvarez, Nat Borchers, Paulo Jr., Kyle Reynish.
Yellow cards: Juninho 56, Morales 70, Franklin 93+.
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez. Att.: 23,437.