The big boom

By The Associated Press

CARSON, Calif.-Herculez Gomez and Josh Gardner scored in the first five minutes of the second half, lifting the Los Angeles Galaxy over Real Salt Lake 2-0 on Saturday night.

The Galaxy (5-10-3) has won three straight games and climbed within five points of fourth-place Chivas USA. The winning streak began with the return of Landon Donovan from the U.S. World Cup team. He scored two goals last week in a 2-0 win at Kansas City and added another Tuesday in a 1-0 victory over New York.

Los Angeles hasn’t allowed a goal in 422 minutes. Before shutting out Houston on June 24, the Galaxy hadn’t blanked an opponent in their first 14 games.

Real Salt Lake (3-9-4) is in last place, five points behind the Galaxy.

The Galaxy improved to 3-2-2 under coach Frank Yallop, who took over for Steve Sampson on June 7.

Gomez struck quickly after the break. Less than 2 minutes into the second half, Gomez collected a ball off a throw-in from Donovan. He dribbled past defenders Eddie Pope and Nelson Akwari and knocked a shot into the back of the net from 12 yards out.

Less than 5 minutes later, the Galaxy doubled its lead. Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Scott Garlick held the ball to the right of the goal and tried to clear it out of the penalty area. But the ball rolled softly to the top of the penalty area.

Gardner scooped up the ball and fired it into an empty net from 20 yards.

Chivas goalkeeper Scott Garlick knocks away a shot during the team’s 0-0 draw with RSL last week. RSL dropped a 2-0 decision to the L.A. Galaxy on Saturday.