By CAITLIN MURRAY
The potentially final meeting between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA went about the way so many previous meetings have: with the Galaxy terrorizing the Chivas USA defense, and the Goats coming away with zero points.
Gyasi Zardes and Landon Donovan combined twice Sunday as the Galaxy thrashed the Goats, 3-0, in front of a sellout at the StubHub Center. Robbie Keane came on as a second-half substitute to add a beautiful goal of his own.
Donovan continues to ride impressive form since announcing less than a month ago plans to retire from professional soccer, and his pair of assists Sunday puts him six shy of Steve Ralston’s Major League Soccer career record of 135.
With the resounding win, the Galaxy are riding a four-game winning streak — their best all season — and sit just two points shy of Western Conference leaders, the Seattle Sounders. Meanwhile, last-placed Chivas USA are now winless in their last seven and look like a team ready to be put out of its misery.
The completeness of the Galaxy offense shined brightest on their final goal of the day, with quick, tight passing setting up the opening for Zardes’ brace.
In the 71st minute, already up 2-0, Donovan knocked the ball to Baggio Husidic, who sent it back to Donovan, but Donovan pulled a dummy and let it go to Keane. Donovan took off into the box and collected a through ball back from Keane and tapped it across to Zardes far post, who easily put the ball in net.
Keane doubled the Galaxy’s lead in the 68th minute, 10 minutes after subbing on for Alan Gordon, with a cheeky individual effort. Dancing through the Chivas back line and nutmegging the ball through defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado’s legs, Keane found the space to chip a floater over goalkeeper Dan Kennedy’s head.
Although the Galaxy dominated possession 60-40, they got off to a slow start. The match looked like it may be destined for a scoreless halftime until the 40th minute, when Donovan fed a ball to an unmarked Zardes, who finished low and wide.
The Galaxy laid siege to the Goats, outshooting them 20-8, with nine on target to Chivas’ two.
The match drew 18,652, which will go down as an unusually large crowd for a Chivas home game — but Chivas and the Galaxy both play at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., making it a Chivas home game in name only.
It is assumed to be the final edition of the SuperClasico between these two sides, but rumors persist that Chivas USA could remain in tact for another year as MLS continues to shop for the right replacement franchise.
Up next, Chivas will stay home and face a tough test as they host the Sounders on Wednesday. The Galaxy will also stay put and face the Colorado Rapids for the final time this season on Friday.
Here are the match highlights: