The Stars Were Out: LA vs TFC

The stars were out in Los Angeles on Saturday night. It was another record-breaking performance for the greatest American player of all time, as Landon Donovan notched the 136th assist of his career — and the league’s best, 19th assist this season. The Galaxy cruised to a 3-0 victory over Toronto FC, and although the StubHub Center was witness to some jaw-dropping goals, LA never really had to get into top gear.

Jaime Penedo didn’t have much to do but was excellent when called upon. Toronto matched the Galaxy with 13 shots, but only Luke Moore’s was on target in the 6th minute. The backline showed again why they are the best in the league with yet another shutout, and continue the 10-game unbeaten run. It turns out Leonardo maybe isn’t as bad as everyone thought, but Head Coach Bruce Arena will be hoping that both Dan Gargan will be back soon and that Robbie Roger’s injury isn’t too serious. “We’ll check him, there was a possibility that he could have continued.” Rogers tweeted the next day, “Huge performance last night! Love the roll we’ve been on!”

Gyasi Zardes has had about 15 Best-Games-of-his-Life in a row, but he finally didn’t have one tonight. Not to say he played badly, he just didn’t score. To make up for it, captain Robbie Keane had yet another MVP-worthy performance, scoring twice and probably earning another MLS goal of the week nomination on his second goal of the night.

On the assist from Landon, Keane hit an inch-perfect volley from Marcelo’s cross to make it 2-0 just 25 minutes in. You won’t hear him say it; “It’s not my decision to make. I just do my job for the team — score goals and help create goals.” But Bruce Arena has no problem speaking the obvious: “I think when you step back and look at it, I can’t see why people couldn’t conclude that Robbie is the most valuable player in the league.”

“I think when you step back and look at it, I can’t see why people couldn’t conclude that Robbie is the most valuable player in the league.”
—Bruce Arena

Keane’s two goals put him at 19 on the season with 14 assists on top of that. I’m not too good at math, but a lot of goals plus a lot of assists makes for an MVP, in my opinion.

There were periods where Toronto dominated possession – Michael Bradley was all over the field spraying passes from every angle, and Dominic Oduro’s speed was threatening – but the Galaxy never looked troubled. Alan Gordon topped off the night with a goal that you won’t see Alan Gordon score very often, hitting a stoppage-time thunderbolt into the top corner from about 22 yards out. It’s his 5th with the Galaxy this season and with Keane leaving on National Team duty this week, the Captain thinks the Galaxy are in good hands, “It just seems normal for him to come in and score a goal … I’m sure Alan Gordon will come in … We keep saying it every time he comes on — when he comes on, he scores.”

The Galaxy now sit alone on top of the Western Conference with 60 points from 31 games and are leading the Supporter’s Shield race with just three games remaining and Seattle playing Colorado on Sunday. LA has the best goal difference in the MLS with +35, scoring a league-high 66 and giving up a league-low 31.

It was a big win, but as Donovan said, “I wasn’t particularly happy with how we played the second half … but we’ve got to regroup and be better against Dallas this week. We can’t play that way in Dallas and expect to win.”

The game kicks off at 4 pm Eastern next Sunday October 12th.