CARSON - Now this looks like the defending MLS cup champions.
Capitalizing on two goals by forward Robbie Keane, the Los Angeles Galaxy shut out the visiting Seattle Sounders, 3-0, Sunday night at The Home Depot Center in the first leg of the MLS Western Conference finals.
The Galaxy travel to Seattle next Sunday to play the second leg as the series is determined by aggregate score. The winner then heads to the MLS Cup on Dec. 1 play either D.C. or Houston. Houston leads that series after one leg, 3-1.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena was thrilled with the game's outcome.
"We played very well tonight against an excellent team," Arena said. "We're not foolish enough to thing these things are over. The game on Sunday in Seattle is going to be a very difficult thing. We need to be ready."
Arena added the entire team was completely in sync against the Sounders.
"They were excellent, the whole group tonight," he said. "This is one of those nights where every player was on form and did very well. But we have a very difficult 90 minutes ahead of us."
Keane got the Galaxy on the board in first half stoppage time as he headed in a pass from fellow forward Landon Donovan while jumping in midair and got the ball past the left side of Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.
The Galaxy made it 2-0 at the 64-minute mark when defender Sean Franklin broke away from the Seattle defense and passed it to midfielder Mike Magee, who put it in the net.
Keane struck again three minutes later. After getting the ball following a strong battle with Seattle's defense, he knocked it in past a diving Gspurning.
With a week off between matches, Arena said he guarantees the Galaxy will be ready.
"There won't be any complacency," he said.
And with the Galaxy getting off to a slow start this year, Arena said he is happy with how the team has gotten better as time has gone on.
"It's been a progression over the season," Arena said. "It's well documented we didn't start the season well. Our younger players have really improved. We have a lot of good depth in a lot of positions."
And with leaders - such as Keane, Donovan and David Beckham - why shouldn't they get better?
"They're outstanding role models for these guys," Arena said of his big three. "They're great examples for any young players to grow and look at."
(Shel Segal can be reached at
and followed via Twitter @segallanded.)