Donovan and LA Galaxy defeat Philadelphia Union 4-1 in emotional home win

May 26, 2014

Carson, Calif. -- The leading story in Galaxy camp and in United States soccer coming into Sunday’s game has been that the best soccer player in American history, Landon Donovan, was left off the 23-man roster for the USA Men’s National team for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil this summer.

Donovan showed his professionalism as he returned to Los Angeles and prepared for a start at home versus the Philadelphia Union.  He would end the day scoring two goals to become the MLS all-time leading scorer -- one of his many achievements that makes the ill-advised snub by Jürgen Klinsmann all the more disappointing and perplexing.

Fortunately for the Galaxy, Donovan was back to help them secure a win and move up the Western conference standings.  In the 3rd minute of play, he took a free-kick from 35 yards out and delivered a perfect ball into Leonardo who headed home the ball for the game’s first goal.

An equally accomplished football player, Robbie Keane, also showed his class in the 12th minute when his chip shot from 20 yards out beat Union the goalkeeper, but hit the crossbar to stay out of net.

Play then got chippy between the sides with Danny Cruz and AJ DeLaGarza knocking each other after the two went for the ball, prompting Cruz to retaliate and push DeLaGarza down to the ground.   Juninho and Leonardo Fernandes also had a scuffle while competing for the ball in the 32nd minute.

As the second half began, LA came out with the 1-0 lead, but was looking for more goals.

As a result, MLS history was witnessed in the 48th minute when Donovan kicked the ball out wide to Keane on the break.  Donovan continued making a hard run for the far post and Keane put the ball back at Donovan’s foot for his 135th goal in MLS, giving LA a 2-0 lead and Donovan the MLS scoring record.

Perhaps the U.S. Team should look at this young kid possibly contributing at the national level one day.

“I’ve sacrificed and dedicated myself to the game of soccer and it was rewarding to score the goal for the record,” said Donovan.

In the 64th minute, the Galaxy made it 3-0 when Keane got the ball on a breakaway and put it under the Union’s goalkeeper to the delight of the roaring Galaxy faithful.  After the ball was given away by Philadelphia just a couple minutes later, Keane had a similar situation, but this time missed just wide of goal, shooting past the goalkeeper.

The Galaxy put the game away in the 82nd minute when Keane passed the ball to Donovan in the box, and Donovan took a couple defenders to school, scoring with his left foot for a 4-0 lead.  Donovan was subbed out following the goal, inspiring the 21,010 in attendance to give a standing ovation for the best American player in history.

The reception for Donovan on this day was nearly as passionate as when this reporter saw the Galaxy win the MLS Cup, and after the game Donovan expressed his appreciation for the fans, friends, and family who have supported him.

"You have no idea how many messages I’ve received--literally, thousands of messages from people around the country, around the world," said Donovan.  "People who’ve said, I’m a diehard Sounders fan, I’m a diehard D.C. United fan—I’ve hated you all my life on the field. I’m so happy for you. I respect what you’ve done and all those things. The support has been overwhelming. It’s funny the way things work out. I’ve said this many times in my life. I try to stay present. It’s been hard. All day today my mind was wondering on where else I could be today. I kept coming back to being present. Staying present, enjoy this game and do your best. I’m glad I was able to do that.”

In the 88th minute, the Union earned a penalty kick with a foul by the Galaxy’s Raul Mendiola in the box, which Maurice Edu -- who also did not make the US national team -- finished to cut the deficit to 4-1.

Although the Galaxy got another must needed 4-1 win, the story remained Landon Donovan.  Donovan had two goals and an assist and set the all-time MLS scoring record in an emotional day for him and his fans.

“If there are 23 better players than Landon, then we have a chance to win the World Cup,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, summing up the Donovan-Klinsmann situation perfectly.

The Galaxy will now travel to Illinois to face Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Sunday, June 1 at 1:00 p.m. PT.

Box Score

Scoring Summary:
LA – Leonardo 2’ (Assisted by Landon Donovan)
LA – Landon Donovan 49’ (Assisted by Robbie Keane)
LA – Robbie Keane 64’ (Unassisted)
LA – Landon Donovan 81’ (Assisted by Robbie Keane)
PHI– Maurice Edu 88’ (Unassisted)

Misconduct Summary:
LA – Juninho (Yellow Card) 31’

News and Notes
  • With the win, the Galaxy are 4-3-3 on the season, leaving them with 15 points, playing their third game in nine days.
  • In matches when Keane and Donovan play together up top, the Galaxy are 11-3-6 with 30 goals and 21 assists among them.
  • The Galaxy were without Todd Dunivant, remains on the shelf with an abdominal injury.

By Brian Kowalski
Staff Reporter for

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