This time there would be no last-minute collapse by the Galaxy at the hands of the San Jose Earthquakes.
Robbie Keane's two goals and Landon Donovan's 100th career regular-season goal as a Galaxy player led L.A. to a 3-0 win over San Jose at StubHub Center on Saturday night.
The victory not only bolstered the Galaxy's playoff hopes in Major League Soccer's Western Conference, but it also gave the Galaxy some redemption from its play June 29, when the Earthquakes scored twice in second-half stoppage time to win, 3-2.
This time, “Our entire group played well defensively,” said Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena.
Donovan was streaking toward goal when he took a pass from Keane in the 26th minute and, from just outside the six-yard box, Donovan kicked the ball back across his left into the net past San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch.
Donovan, the Galaxy's all-time leading scorer, now has 132 career MLS regular-season goals, and he's two goals shy of tying Jeff Cunningham's MLS record of 134 goals.
In the 42nd minute, Galaxy midfielder Gyasi Zardes was fouled inside the 18-yard box, so the Galaxy got a penalty kick. Keane took the kick and, after a stutter step, drilled it past Busch as the goalkeeper dived to his right.
And in the 67th minute, Keane scored again from directly in front of the net after teammate Sean Franklin sent a header pass a few yards back to the waiting Keane.
“As the game went on our passing improved,” Arena said.
Keane's two goals, coming on his bobblehead night in front of a sold-out crowd of 27,000, gave the Galaxy captain 12 goals on the season.
The Galaxy is trying to win its third consecutive MLS championship. The win over San Jose, the latest installment of what's dubbed the California Clasico, kept the Galaxy in second place in the conference, five points behind Real Salt Lake.
When the Galaxy lost to San Jose in June, it was another loss resulting from late-game defensive lapses. But before Saturday's game, Donovan said that trend was ebbing.
“We feel like we've now gotten over the hump a little bit as far as [allowing] late goals and [poor] concentration late in games, so we want to keep progressing,” said Donovan, who last week signed a multiyear contract extension with the Galaxy.
Donovan and defender Omar Gonzalez will now join the U.S. national team for World Cup qualifiers, while Keane and goalkeeper Jaime Penedo also will report for international duty with Ireland and Panama, respectively.
That means all four players are expected to miss the Galaxy's next game Sept. 7 against the Colorado Rapids at StubHub Center.