|Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan (10) celebrates with defender Todd Dunivant (2) after scoring on a penalty shot against Real Salt Lake during the first half of their MLS western conference playoff soccer match in Carson, California November 6, 2011. (REUTERS/Alex Gallardo)
CARSON, CA - A three-goal performance from the Los Angeles Galaxy saw the club punch its ticket for the 2011 MLS Cup Final, as the Galaxy topped Real Salt Lake 3-1 at The Home Depot Center on Sunday.
Landon Donovan opened the scoring with a penalty kick in the 23rd minute, but it was immediately canceled out by a header from Alvaro Saborio two minutes later.
But the Galaxy persevered, as Mike Magee and Robbie Keane tallied goals in the second half to claim the Western Conference championship and maintain their unblemished record in the postseason this year.
Omar Gonzalez had a clear cut opportunity to head home the opening goal midway through the opening period, but Andy Williams barged into the Galaxy defender's back and referee Jorge Gonzalez pointed the spot. Donovan stepped up and converted the ensuing kick for his second goal from the penalty spot in as many games.
Real Salt Lake responded immediately from a corner kick in the 25th minute. Jamison Olave headed the initial delivery back in front of goal where Saborio redirected the ball past Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders and into the net for his third career playoff goal.
Los Angeles took control of the match on the opposite side of halftime with two goals in the span of ten minutes.
Magee maintained his streak of notching a goal in every 2011 postseason game, as he nodded home a teasing cross from David Beckham in the 58th minute.
Keane then secured the victory in 68th minute, beating Olave one-on-one and firing a low shot to Nick Rimando's far post into the side netting.
As the MLS Supporters' Shield winners, the Galaxy have had the fortune of home field advantage throughout the playoffs. That benefit will continue on Nov. 20 when The Home Depot Center hosts MLS Cup.
Los Angeles will face the Houston Dynamo in the postseason finale after the Texas club edged Sporting Kansas City 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Final.
It will be an MLS-record seventh appearance in the championship match for the Galaxy, as well as their second in three years.