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Galaxy Reach Playoffs With Win Over Toronto FC

  • By Shel Segal
CARSON - After a slow start to the 2012 season, the defending MLS champion Los Angeles Galaxy have locked up a Western Conference postseason berth with a convincing 4-2 victory against Toronto FC Saturday night at The Home Depot Center in front of 27,000 screaming fans.
Midfielder Juninho and forward Robbie Keane each scored two goals in the winning effort with three of the goals coming in the first half.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said he is very glad with the way the team turned itself around.
"In May this would have been unlikely," Arena said. "They've done an incredible 20 games. We're pleased with the win. We knew we can play better, though. The next four games will say a lot."
So, what's the difference between the Galaxy early in the season and the Galaxy now?
"I just think we're playing better," Arena said. "Players are understanding their responsibilities. We have some excellent leadership on the team, but it's been a group effort. We weren't playing as a team at first. But after the last three or four months we've played together and gotten a lot of wins."
Arena added the team should get even better in the postseason, playing San Jose, Real Salt Lake and Seattle.
"I just think we're moving forward as a team," he said. "The team's getting better, the resurrection is there and is a testament to the group. But there's a lot of soccer still to be played this season."
Juninho got the Galaxy on the board at the 12-minute mark when his free kick just outside the penalty box to the left crossed up Toronto goalkeeper Freddy Hall and landed in the upper right corner of the goal.
Juninho got his second goal of the game about 20 minutes later to make it 2-0 when he kicked soccer's version of a slap shot from just outside the right of the penalty box to the left side of the goal, completely catching Hall of guard.
Three minutes later, Keane got in the action taking a pass right in front of the Toronto goal and gently bouncing it in for a 3-0 Galaxy lead.
Toronto was a bit feisty, though, getting their own goal off a header two minutes later and cutting the lead to 3-2 with just four minutes left in the match.
However, Keane sealed the victory in stoppage time, taking a pass from a teammate and putting it into the right side of the goal.
(Shel Segal can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and followed via Twitter @wvjournalsports.)

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