The Los Angeles Galaxy will seek to extend Landon Donovan’s career by at least two games when they face Real Salt Lake in the decisive game of a two-game total goals series Sunday at StubHub Center.
Donovan, Major League Soccer’s career leader in goals and assists in both the playoffs and regular season, announced Aug. 7 that he would retire at the conclusion of the season.
“The focus is trying to win the game,” the Galaxy forward said.”At the end if it doesn’t work out then we’ll deal with that then. For now we’re approaching this like any playoff game at home where we need to win.”
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said the team has “spent entirely too many weeks dealing with Landon’s retirement and we’ve put that past us.”
“Now our attention is on this game,” Arena said. “With all due respect to Landon, that’s certainly not on our minds coming into the game.”
The teams played to a 0-0 tie in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinal last Saturday at Sandy, Utah. If Sunday’s game ends in a tie and Real Salt Lake has scored at least once, it would advance to the Western Conference final because it would have scored more away goals.
If the game ends in a scoreless tie, two 15-minute overtimes will be played in their entirety. If the score remains tied, penalty kicks would decide the winner. The away goals tiebreaker does not apply to goals scored in overtime.
The Galaxy is winless in their last four games, while Real Salt Lake is undefeated in their last four games and has not allowed a goal in their last 403 minutes.
“We’re fine,” the 32-year-old Donovan said. “For us, the goal is create chances. We had a few the other night, but we weren’t good enough in certain spots to create real chances. If we do that, then we think the goals will come.”
The Galaxy were outshot 16-3 in the series opener and trailed 6-1 in shots on goal.
The Galaxy have not lost at StubHub Center since a 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake March 8, with 15 victories and four ties since then.
The series winner will advance to the two-game, total goals Western Conference final against the winner of the Seattle Sounders FC-FC Dallas semifinal, which will conclude Monday.
Real Salt Lake eliminated the Galaxy from last year’s playoffs.
Fans are being advised to arrival early for the 4:30 p.m. game. Gates will open at 2:45 p.m. for season ticket holders and 3 p.m. for the remainder of ticket holders.
A toy drive will be held benefiting A Place Called Home, a South Los Angeles-based nonprofit youth center providing educational programs, counseling and mentorship for children and young adults from 8 to 21 years old. Toys can be dropped off at the main gates of StubHub Center or the LA Galaxy Foundation booth.
Fans can also make cash donations that will be used to purchase new toys for A Place Called Home.
All fans donating a toy will receive a raffle ticket for a drawing for signed Galaxy memorabilia.