for this game

Donovan's record-tying goal puts Galaxy in conference finals

Nov 9, 2009 - 5:02 AM By JOSEPH D'HIPPOLITO STATS MLS Correspondent

CARSON, Calif. (STATS) - Landon Donovan used his right leg to tie a Major League Soccer playoff record and vault the Los Angeles Galaxy into its first conference final in four years.

Donovan scored on a penalty kick in the 73rd minute to give the Galaxy a 1-0 victory over Chivas USA, and a 3-2 win on aggregate goals in the Western Conference semifinals Sunday night.

The Galaxy will host the Houston Dynamo in Friday night's conference final - their first since they won the MLS Cup in 2005. Los Angeles then missed the playoffs for three successive years.

"It's huge for our franchise," Donovan said of the win, while mentioning head coach Bruce Arena and two long-time Galaxy fixtures, forward Alan Gordon and former player Cobi Jones, now an assistant coach.

"You could see it in Bruce's face," Donovan said. "Myself, Gordo, Cobi, we understand what this all means. But that's not good enough for us. We're not satisfied. Now, we have a big opportunity to do something special."

Donovan's goal was the 16th of his career in postseason play, tying Carlos Ruiz's MLS record.

"We had plenty of opportunities to be on top," said Chivas USA coach Preki, whose team took six shots in the first half. "There were a lot of moments where we had two against the goalkeeper or two against one and don't even take a shot.

"The Galaxy made one play and won the game."

Donovan's penalty kick came after Chivas USA's Yamith Cuesta fouled the Galaxy's Mike Magee by wrapping his right leg around Magee's groin in the 70th minute.

On the penalty shot, Chivas USA goalkeeper Zach Thornton dove to his left. Donovan sent the ball through the area Thornton vacated.

"My thought, actually, was to go to that side," Donovan said of Thornton's dive to the left. "But I saw him step the other way and then start leaning."

David Beckham began the play that resulted in the penalty by crossing the ball from the right flank to Donovan near the left corner. Donovan then passed to Magee, who was on the right side of the penalty area.

Beckham left the game limping in the 78th minute and had his midsection wrapped with tape on the bench.

"I got a knee in my back that went into spasm, and I thought that I twisted my ankle," Beckham said. "I'm sure it'll be fine. We'll see how it is tomorrow."

Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts made two saves, both in the first half. His biggest stop came in the 32nd minute, when he dove to his right to deflect Justin Braun's 34-yard shot with both hands.

The Galaxy defense held Chivas to three shots in the second half, none of them on goal.

Chivas USA failed to advance past the opening round for the fourth consecutive season.