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Sep 23, 2012

Galaxy clinch playoff berth

CARSON, Calif. -- Juninho had two spectacular first-half goals and Robbie Keane also scored twice Saturday night as the Los Angeles Galaxy beat Toronto FC 4-2 to clinch a playoff spot.

The Galaxy (15-11-4) moved up to second place in the Western Conference with their fourth straight win, thought their shutout streak ended at five matches -- including two in CONCACAF Champions League play.

"In May, (making the playoffs) would have been an unlikely scenario, so it's been a terrific run probably of close to 20 games for our team," said Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, whose team has charged from last place in the West with a 12-3-2 run since mid-June. "We're happy where we stand right now. There's a lot of games left."

Juninho, taking set pieces with David Beckham sidelined by a sprained ankle, curled a free kick from just outside the box toward the upper-right corner in the 11th minute, then struck a 32-yard rocket to the upper-left corner in the 33rd.

Keane finished a sequence to give Los Angeles a three-goal lead three minutes later. Keane added another, his 13th of the season, deep into second-half stoppage.

Juninho, who has seven goals in his last seven games, all competitions, might have had a third, but Toronto goalkeeper Freddy Hall tipped a 22-yard blast off the crossbar midway through the first half.

Terry Dunfield scored in the 38th minute and Luis Silva cut the deficit to one in the 86th, but Toronto (5-18-7) lost for just the third time in 12 games.

"Tonight in my view was not a complete performance," Arena said. We were a little bit sloppy, but Toronto played hard, came after us for 90 minutes. ... We gave up two bad goals tonight, but give Toronto credit. They were opportunistic. I think if we were a little sharper today, it's a game we win going away."

Dunfield drifted away from Marcelo Sarvas to head home Jeremy Hall's throw-in from the right wing nodded on by Silva. It ended Galaxy shutout streaks of 491 minutes, including 351 in MLS play.

Toronto forced the action in the second half and pulled within a goal on Silva's shot, which looped off Gonzalez and over Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders. Keane danced past Morgan for a fine finale seven minutes into stoppage.

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