The Galaxy couldn't have scripted Sunday's game much better.
Needing a victory to stay firmly in Major League Soccer's playoff race, the reigning MLS champion prevailed in game it was expected to win by beating last-place Chivas USA, 5-0, at StubHub Center.
The Galaxy's goals came early and often despite the 92-degree temperature at game time. The Galaxy's star forwards, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, each scored twice and Gyasi Zardes also scored.
Donovan tied Jeff Cunningham for the MLS all-time scoring record of 134 regular-season goals.
Donovan, speaking about holding the record outright with his next goal, said "it would be nice to get it and get it out of the way so that there's no attention on it."
He added: I would trade, maybe not all of them, but most of them for another championship ring."
When the game ended, the Galaxy was tied with the Colorado Rapids for fourth place with 48 points in the Western Conference.
The two teams were only four points behind first-place Real Salt Lake, three points behind second-place Seattle and one point behind third-place Portland, which was playing Vancouver on Sunday night.
The top five teams at the end of the regular season qualify for the playoffs. The Galaxy, seeking its third consecutive MLS championship, has three games left in the regular season.
This was the third and final game of the regular season between the Galaxy and Chivas USA, which share StubHub Center as their home venue, in what's known as the "SuperClasico" series.
The Galaxy overwhelmed Chivas USA despite the absence of Coach Bruce Arena, who was suspended for the game for leaving the coach's area during an argument at the previous weekend's game against Portland.
With Dave Sarachan, the team's associate coach, at the helm, the Galaxy scored in the sixth minute when Keane, standing just inside the six-yard box, took a pass from Donovan and rolled the ball past goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
Donovan scored his first goal in the 23rd minute inside the six-yard box after taking a cross from Zardes, and Zardes scored in the 26th minute when he outdueled Mario de Luna, got free and kicked the ball past Kennedy.
Donovan's second goal came in the 42nd minute after he caught up with a looping, perfectly placed pass in front of him from Pablo Mastroeni, and Keane scored his second in the 90th minute.
"We're at a point where we needed three points," Sarachan said. "It gets us closer to a playoff position."
Four Galaxy players are called up to national teams
Four Galaxy players were called to their national teams for upcoming World Cup qualifiers: Donovan and Omar Gonzales for the United States, Keane for Ireland and goalkeeper Jaime Penedo for Panama.
It's unclear if they'll have to sit out any MLS games. The Galaxy does not play again until it plays host to Montreal on Oct. 16.
Twitter: PeltzLATimesCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun