(Reuters) - Landon Donovan scored a hat-trick as the LA Galaxy stormed into Major League Soccer’s Western Conference final with a 5-0 (aggregate 5-0) crushing of Real Salt Lake on Sunday.
Donovan, who will retire at the end of this season, was at his clinical best as Salt Lake uncharacteristically collapsed.
Galaxy will face the winners of Monday’s other Western Conference semi-final between Seattle Sounders and FC Dallas which stands at 1-1 after the first leg.
Donovan opened the scoring with an 11th minute header and 10 minutes later turned provider, slipping the ball across to Robbie Keane, who slotted home from close range.
The MLS all-time top scorer made it 3-0 in the 55th minute, racing on to a Keane pass and rounding goalkeeper Nick Rimando before finishing from a tight angle.
Irishman Keane was the creator again for the fourth, finding Brazilian Marcelo Sarvas in the area for a confident finish.
Donovan completed the rout with his hat-trick, poking home after a clever chip from the influential Keane.
“I would love to go out as a champion,” Donovan told ESPN. “We won the series (home and away) against both (Dallas and Seattle) in the regular season so we are confident we can do the job against whichever team we face,” he added.
In the East, New England Revolution beat Columbus Crew 3-1 (aggregate 7-3) to reach the Conference final where they will face New York Red Bulls.
Leading 4-2 from the first leg the home side were never in danger after Lee Nguyen gave them the lead in the 43rd minute after he was found in the area by Teal Bunbury.
Jose Goncalves made it 2-0 in the 55th minute, bursting down the left flank to meet a low cross from Charlie Davies.
The Crew then had Ethan Finlay sent off, harshly, after a collision with New England keeper Bobby Shuttleworth.
A Tony Tchani header in the 68th minute was little more than a consolation for Columbus but Bunbury made it 3-1 in the 77th minute.
Columbus ended the game with nine men after forward Justin Meram was dismissed for a second yellow card.
The first legs of the conference finals will be held on Nov. 23.
Editing by Greg Stutchbury