The Los Angeles Galaxy dominated the spotlight before a national television audience Sunday with a 4-0 win over Seattle Sounders FC, a hat trick by designated player Robbie Keane, and a history-making appearance by Robbie Rogers.
Keane scored his three goals over a 20 span of the first half, when all goals were scored.
But even that might have been overshadowed by an L.A. substitution in the 77th minute, when Rogers was sent onto the pitch and became the first openly gay man to play in a major U.S. sports league.
He was greeted with a brief ovation by the crowd of 24,811 at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
The Galaxy (6-4-2) broke ahead in the 12th minute; and Keane had a hand in that goal, too, as he took a pass from Marcelo Sarvas, carried the ball into the penalty area, and slipped a pass across to Sean Franklin, who swept the ball into the goal from close range.
Keane followed that with three straight goals. His first came by getting to a deflected ball near the penalty spot and finishing cleanly.
His next two came on penalty kicks. The first followed a controversial call on Djimi Traori, the second on a clear foul by Brad Evans, who also received a yellow card.
Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning actually stopped the first penalty shot, but a rekick was ordered when midfielder Mauro Rosales entered the penalty area before Keane struck the ball.
The second half played out quietly, until Sounders (4-4-3) frustrations yielded a red cad to Joseph and a yellow to Eddie Johnson.
The ejection means Joseph will not be available for Seattle’s next league match, Saturday at Chivas USA.
That’s bad news for coach Sigi Schmid who put together a Sunday lineup that lacked Osvaldo Alonso and Steve Zakuani due to injury but for the first time included all three designated players: Rosales, Joseph and Obafemi Martins.
The Sounders will travel across the country to Florida on Monday for their U.S. Open Cup match at the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Wednesday.
Player reaction and more information on the game are available at blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer.
77′: Robbie Rogers subs on, becoming the first openly gay male player ever to appear in a major U.S. sports league. Notable, but not overwhelming applause.
65′ Neagle and Estrada in, Morales and Corrasco out.
Second half: … has begun.
Halftime: Galaxy, 4-0; three goalsy by Robbie Keane.
44′ Evans dumps Junino and card; Keane hits PK for first half hat trick. LA, 4-0.
34′ Traore called for foul in box. Gspurning stops first PK but re-kick for Rosales going early in box. Keane nails next one. LA, 3-0.
24′ GOAL LA. Robbie Keane cleans up defelected ball from penalty spot. LA, 2-0.
12′ GOAL Los Angeles. Franklin from Keane. Just seemed inevitable as LA was swarming from the start. LA, 1-0.
First 10 minutes: Galaxy looking very dangerous very early. But still scoreless.
First kick: … has been struck. We’re under way. Sounders in rave/rave, Galxy in white/white.
Lineups: For Sounders: GK Gspurning; D Yedlin, Hurtado, Traore, Gonzalez; M Rosales, Carrasco, Joseph, Evans; F Johnson, Martins. So, the Sounders three designated players start together for the first time. Sounders bench: Hahnemann, Scott, Burch, Martinez, Caskey, Neagle, Estrada.
The Galaxy lists these starters: Cudicini; Franklin, Gonzalez, DeLaGarza, Cochrane; Donovan, Sarvas, Juninho, Stephens; Keane, Zardes. Reserves: Rowe, Leonardo, Garcia, Jimenez, Rogers, Villarreal, Rugg
Pregame: First kick for Sounders and Galaxy is set for around 8 p.m. from the Home Depot Center.
The game will be shown on ESPN2 and heard on the usual radio outlets. I’ll also blog here, and tweet other updates @donruiztnt.
I should be back soon with lineup information. But what we do know is that Robbie Rogers has been cleared to play for the Galaxy, and he is expected to be in uniform.