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.
If Los Angeles survives and Houston wraps up the Eastern Conference finals after beating D.C. United 3-1 earlier Sunday, the MLS Cup would be a rematch of last season's game, when David Beckham, Donovan and Keane won it all at Home Depot Center.
"I think when we're in really good form, we're hard to stop," said Magee, who has scored in six of the Galaxy's last eight playoff games dating to last season. "Having said that, we're already been stopped two times by this team in Seattle."
Indeed, 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."
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