Landon Donovan Scores Hat Trick as the LA Galaxy Defeats DC United 5-2

ThomasSenior Writer ISeptember 21, 2008

The Galaxy have had a hard time scoring goals as of late. That all changed on Saturday as they defeated the Black-and-Red, 5-2. Beckham & Co. headed to RFK Stadium to face off against DC United in hopes of gaining revenge for the previous meeting when DCU beat the Galaxy, 4-1, at the Home Depot Center.

The match began with high hopes for DCU. Within 71 seconds, yes 71 SECONDS, DCU had taken the lead. Devon McTavish allowed United to get a corner kick and seconds later, McTavish got on the scoresheet with shot in the goal box. The score was United 1, LA zip.

The game went on quietly for the next 17 minutes or so until David Beckham played a long ball to Eddie Buddle who shot the ball wide. A minute later, DCU almost doubled the lead as Emilio shot an attempt on goal only to have it saved by Josh Wicks.

The Galaxy managed to get on the scoresheet for the first time of the night, as Landon Donovan scored a goal in the 23rd minute. An excellent pass from Chris Klein allowed Donovan to charge into the box and flick the ball past Louis Crayton and score the first of his three goals.

Almost ten minutes later, the Galaxy had a chance to take the lead as Beckham once again passed a ball into the box where Eddie Lewis blew a chance to score.

However, the Galaxy took the lead four minutes later as Gordon and Donovan had some great one-two play. Initially, Crayton stopped the shot from Gordon, but Donovan managed to get the ball back and score a streaker from 22-yards out. The Galaxy were now up 2-1 and Donovan had scored two goals thus far.

The Galaxy wasted no time in building a good lead.

In the 38th minute, LA was again on the counterattack. Beckham tried to feed Buddle the ball, but Crayton read the play and broke it up. McTavish failed to clear the ball though and instead, played it straight to Lewis. The U.S. international collected the ball and put a shot on target, but Crayton scrambled across his goal to make the save. Unfortunately for him, the rebound went straight to Gordon, who sneaked a shot just inside the near post to give the Galaxy a 3-1 lead.

It was all Los Angeles to close out the half. In the 42nd minute, Beckham found Buddle with a long ball over the top of the United backline. Buddle did well to round Crayton, but Bryan Namoff did a great job of tracking back to break up the play.

Buddle was at it again in stoppage time. Seemingly living behind the D.C. defense, Buddle had another 1-on-1 opportunity with Crayton. The D.C. goalkeeper saved Buddle's first effort, but gave up another rebound. Buddle took a second crack at goal, but this time was denied by the crossbar.

The second half started out much like the first half - with a DCU goal. In the 47th minute, Khumalo beat Klein to a long ball over the top and collected it at the edge of the area. Wicks was caught out of position on the play, and when Khumalo looked up, he had an empty net to shoot into, bringing United back to within one.

With United fighting their way back into the match, things took a turn for the worse for DCU. In the 63rd minute, Marc Burch was shown a straight red card for taking down Beckham while he was trying to shepherd the ball out for a throw-in. Burch took a swipe at Beckham's heels, sending him tumbling into the sign boards, and referee Terry Vaughn sent off the United center back.

Up a man, the Galaxy put their foot on the ball and tried to take some of the air out of things, picking and choosing their moments to go forward. When they finally did they looked dangerous, especially in the 69th minute when Donovan found Lewis streaking down the left flank. From a sharp angle, Lewis shot on goal, but Crayton made another save.

The Galaxy added a fourth goal in the 81st minute. Donovan tracked down a long ball from Beckham, and streaked into the area. With no real help in the box, Donovan held up the ball waiting for support. When the second wave arrived, Donovan flicked a cross to Peter Vagenas, who placed a side-footed volley just inside the left-hand post.

The Galaxy got one last goal in second-half stoppage time, with Donovan completing his hat trick and scoring his 19th goal of the season. Klein played another long ball over the top, sending Donovan in alone on Crayton, and he made no mistake with his one-on-one with the goalkeeper, rounding out the Galaxy lead.

With this victory over DC, the Galaxy are still in the hunt for a playoff spot.

On Thursday, they will head to Chicago to face Blanco, McBride, and the rest of the Fire team.

United is still barely hanging on to the final playoff spot, remaining on the road for a trip to Honduras for CONCACAF Champions League play on Wednesday, followed by a game at FC Dallas next Sunday.