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Oct, 6, 2013

Landon Donovan ties MLS goals record

CARSON, Calif. -- Landon Donovan would be more excited about his latest piece of MLS history if he wasn't so consumed with the Los Angeles Galaxy's push for another league title.

Donovan scored twice in the first half, tying Jeff Cunningham's MLS career goals record in the Galaxy's 5-0 victory over Chivas USA on Sunday.

Donovan has 134 regular-season goals, passing second-place Jaime Moreno (133) and matching Cunningham's total. The Galaxy's home crowd gave a warm halftime ovation to Donovan, who's likely to reign high atop the list in the coming years.

"If this had happened earlier in my career, I would have thought about it more," Donovan said. "But we're in a playoff race right now, so for us, it's about winning. But at halftime, it hit me, and I realized it. I'll sit and think about it at some point, but for now, I want to keep going."

The U.S. national team star scored in the 23rd minute on a sharp pass from Gyasi Zardes before tying the record in the 41st minute with a beautiful chip shot over Chivas goalie Dan Kennedy. After the Galaxy ran out the clock on a blowout win in the SuperClasico rivalry, Donovan's thoughts already were on the Americans' upcoming World Cup qualifier and the Galaxy's next match against Montreal.

"It would be nice to get (the record) out of the way so there's no attention on it," Donovan said. "I would trade maybe not all of them -- but most of them -- for another championship ring."

Donovan bounced back impressively after struggling through a scoreless September on a sprained left ankle. With the Galaxy needing wins to stay in playoff contention, the 31-year-old star finally pulled even with Cunningham, who played eight of his 14 MLS seasons with Columbus.

Robbie Keane also scored two goals for the two-time defending champion Galaxy, who ended a four-match winless skid.

"The way we started until the end was very professional, very dominating," said Keane, who didn't realize Donovan's accomplishment until afterward. "It's a great achievement for anybody to score that many goals. He was good. I think everybody performed in this one."

Zardes scored a goal and helped Donovan set up Keane's opening goal in the sixth minute as the Galaxy trounced their StubHub Center co-tenants. Los Angeles won the SuperClasico for the sixth straight year.

The Galaxy won without coach Bruce Arena, who served a one-game suspension for leaving his technical area in last week's loss at Portland to protest a call. Associate head coach Dave Sarachan ran the bench.

Jaime Penedo earned his third shutout in seven games with the Galaxy.

While Donovan reached milestones and Keane put on yet another multigoal performance, the game also was a showcase for Zardes, whose runs down the left side caused misery for Chivas' defense, particularly Mario De Luna. The midfielder also scored on a scramble in the box in the 26th minute.

"I felt like (De Luna) was inviting me down the line, so I took it," Zardes said. "I'll do my best to keep playing well so (Donovan) can break even more records."

The rivals played an afternoon game on a sweltering day in Southern California, with the temperature reaching 93 degrees at game time. The Galaxy chose a curious day to wear their third jerseys, an all-black ensemble with red and green trim in an homage to the club's original jerseys.

Despite the temperature and their inopportune attire, the Galaxy opened with fire.

Los Angeles opened the scoring when Zardes made a run down the left side and found Donovan, who made a back pass to Keane in the middle of the Goats' disorganized defense.

Donovan then scored on a remarkably similar pass from Zardes, who threaded the ball past three defenders and onto Donovan's foot.

After Zardes scored three minutes later, Donovan capped the first-half barrage with a sharp run onto a pass from Pablo Mastroeni and a delicate chip over Kennedy for the record-tying score.

Keane added his second goal in the 90th minute, giving him 15 goals in 20 games during another standout MLS season.

The Galaxy fans in the Angel City Brigade section chanted "Relocation!" at the Chivas supporters during stoppage time.

Galaxy and U.S. national team defender Omar Gonzalez sat out the second half to rest a strained groin muscle. Gonzalez was called up along with Donovan for the Americans' World Cup qualifying match against Jamaica in Kansas City on Friday.

"It's just something I've been dealing with for a long time now, and it's something I can get over," said Gonzalez, who confirmed he'll go to Kansas City "no matter what."

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