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LOS ANGELES GALAXY

Kofi Opare gives Galaxy 1-0 win over Montreal Impact

Rookie scores in the 68th minute, his first MLS goal, and L.A. stays in the hunt for a playoff spot.

October 16, 2013|By Jim Peltz
  • Defender Kofi Opare scored his first career goal in the Galaxy's shutout victory over the Montreal Impact, 1-0.
Defender Kofi Opare scored his first career goal in the Galaxy's shutout… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)

Landon Donovan, nursing an ankle injury, will have to wait at least one more game to set Major League Soccer's all-time scoring record.

But at the other end of the spectrum, Galaxy rookie Kofi Opare scored the first goal of his MLS career, and that was all the Galaxy needed for a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Impact on Wednesday night at StubHub Center.

Opare, 23, gave the Galaxy a key lift in the reigning MLS champion's effort to earn a spot in the playoffs again this year.

In the tight Western Conference, the Galaxy is tied with the Seattle Sounders for third place with 51 points. And the Galaxy is only two points behind conference leader Portland and one point behind second-place Real Salt Lake.

There are two games left in the Galaxy's regular season, a home game against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday and an Oct. 27 game against the Sounders in Seattle.

"I'm glad we got the three points" with the victory, said Opare, a defender who played at the University of Michigan before signing with the Galaxy.

Making his fourth start of the season, Opare was among several Galaxy players who were swarming in front of the Montreal goal in the 68th minute, with Opare finally shoving the ball into the back of the net.

"I just happened to be at the right place at the right time and just tucked it away with my left foot," Opare said.

Donovan and defender Omar Gonzalez, who has a left hip strain, sat out the game after being released from their duty with the U.S. national team because of their injuries.

The Galaxy also was without its normal goalkeeper, Jaime Penedo, who was playing for Panama's national team in World Cup qualifying and was replaced by Brian Rowe.

Robbie Keane, the Galaxy's other star forward, also had been away playing with Ireland's national team. But he returned to Southern California on Wednesday afternoon "and said he was ready to go," Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena said.

Keane didn't start the game but entered in the 60th minute and immediately gave the team "confidence and energy," Arena said.

The Galaxy had other good opportunities to score. One came in the 42nd minute when Gyasi Zardes kicked a 15-yard grounder from directly in front of the net.

However, goalkeeper Evan Bush, diving to his right, deflected the shot with his right hand as he hit the ground.

Donovan is tied with Jeff Cunningham for the record number of all-time MLS regular-season goals with 134. (Cunningham's last year was 2011.)

Donovan's next opportunity to claim the record outright is Sunday when the Galaxy hosts San Jose.

Donovan began his career with San Jose in 2001 and scored 32 of his 134 goals with the Earthquakes.

Said Arena: "We expect [Donovan] to be ready to play this weekend."

james.peltz@latimes.com

Twitter: @PeltzLATimes

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