Posted November 06, 2011 on
AP on Fox
Mike Magee scored the go-ahead goal on a pass from David Beckham in the 58th minute, and Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane also scored as the Los Angeles Galaxy advanced to the MLS Cup with a 3-1 victory over Real Salt Lake on Sunday night in the Western Conference final.
With spectacular plays from their trio of superstars, Los Angeles advanced to face the Houston Dynamo in the MLS title game Nov. 20 at Home Depot Center, where the Supporters' Shield-winning Galaxy haven't lost all year.
Beckham will play for his first MLS title in the final game of his groundbreaking five-year contract with the Galaxy. His sublime crossing pass set up Magee's third goal of the postseason for Los Angeles, which advanced to its record seventh MLS title game.
Alvaro Saborio scored for Salt Lake, which beat Los Angeles in the 2009 MLS Cup.
Beckham left Thursday's playoff victory over New York with back spasms, but played well to extend his MLS tenure for at least two weeks. Beckham is in the midst of his best MLS season with rumors swirling about his future, but he served up yet another phenomenal scoring pass to Magee and several additional chances before leaving to a standing ovation from the crowd of 23,437 in stoppage time.
Donovan scored his MLS-best 19th playoff goal on a first-half penalty kick, and Keane made a stellar run in the 68th minute for the Irish striker's fourth goal in 10 games with his new team.
The Galaxy had MLS' best regular-season record for the second straight year, but they finally added playoff success after falling short in the postseason in the past two seasons. Los Angeles is 14-0-5 at home in MLS games this season after two playoff wins, along with three CONCACAF Champions League victories.
Both teams took chances and tried for big plays from the opening minute, showing no caution while playing for such high stakes.
Donovan scored on a penalty chance for the second straight playoff game, connecting in the 23rd minute after Omar Gonzalez drew a penalty in the box from Andy Williams, who apparently made contact with Gonzalez's back on a header.
But Saborio evened it on a header 2 minutes later, putting an initial header from Robbie Russell past Saunders.
Keane, who bounced back swiftly from injury to return to his new club late last month, had an active first half for the Galaxy, hitting a post in the 32nd minute and curling a strike just inches outside the other post moments later. RSL's Kyle Beckerman hit the post himself in first-half injury time during a sequence that left Beckham and referee Jorge Gonzalez screaming in each other's faces after the half ended.
Magee put the Galaxy ahead by bending down to head home the cross from Beckham, who connected with Magee for the third straight game. Just 10 minutes later, Keane thoroughly undressed Salt Lake's Jamison Olave on a 1-on-1 run, stutter-stepping around the defender and putting the ball in the far corner before setting off the Los Angeles party with his trademark cartwheel-somersault celebration.
Keane could have had another goal in stoppage time, but inexplicably missed an open net.
Salt Lake missed two golden opportunities to keep up with Los Angeles. Robbie Russell put a heavy strike from deep in the penalty area squarely into Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders' chest in the fifth minute, and Fabian Espindola hit the crossbar in the second half moments after Magee's goal.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
David Beckham and Robbie
Keane helped LA Galaxy beat Real Salt Lake 3-1 in the Western
Conference championship game on Sunday, setting up a
league-deciding MLS Cup clash against Houston Dynamo.
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