Sounders lose to Galaxy in first of best-of-two


CARSON, Calif. (AP) — When Robbie Keane firmly tapped the Los Angeles Galaxy’s third goal into the net, their roaring fans could be excused for thinking ahead to another MLS Cup celebration.

Even after opening the Western Conference finals in dominant style, Keane and the surging Galaxy say they won’t plan for another title shot before they finish this job.

Keane scored twice, Mike Magee added his latest clutch playoff goal and Los Angeles beat the Seattle Sounders 3-0 on Sunday night to take a commanding lead in the first leg of the conference finals.

Keane had an assist and Sean Franklin set up two goals by the defending champions, who will head to Seattle next Sunday in prime position to earn their third MLS Cup appearance in four years.

“We had a wonderful night, but we know anything can still happen,” said Keane, who converted a header on a pass from Landon Donovan in first-half injury time before finishing his fourth goal of a dynamite postseason in the 67th minute. “So it’s up to the lads, the senior players who have a lot of experience, to remind everybody that this is not over. We’re happy with tonight, though.”

The Galaxy entered the postseason as the West’s fourth seed, but have maintained the impressive form they showed down the regular-season stretch. After beating Vancouver in a knockout playoff and ousting Supporters’ Shield-winning San Jose in the first round, Los Angeles largely dominated the talented Sounders — particularly while scoring two goals in three minutes early in the second half.

Sounders coach Sigi Schmid immediately reminded his players that they beat the Galaxy 4-0 in their raucous home stadium Aug. 5.

“We have to do that again, but it’s going to be a very difficult challenge,” Schmid said. “We went through a bad period in the second half where we lost our shape, lost our concentration, lost our focus, and they banged in two goals. Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan were more dynamic up front than we were all day.”

The Sounders played without defender Marc Burch, who is suspended three games for using a homophobic slur during Seattle’s first-round series against Real Salt Lake.