CARSON -- With most of the teams in front of them either idle or beaten, the Earthquakes had to overcome just one obstacle to earn a win that would propel them back into Major League Soccer's Western Conference race.
But that obstacle, the Los Angeles Galaxy, proved too difficult to surmount.
Robbie Keane scored twice and added an assist to lead Los Angeles to a 3-0 victory Saturday night that kept the Earthquakes two points behind Dallas and Vancouver, both of which are three points out of fifth place, the last playoff spot.
Dallas remains idle this weekend while Vancouver plays host to Chivas USA tonight.
The Earthquakes (9-11-7) face another problem next weekend. Midfielder Marvin Chavez and defender Victor Bernardez will represent Honduras in World Cup qualifying and will miss the game against Philadelphia.
Bernardez did not play against the Galaxy (13-9-4) after he received a red card Aug. 24 in the 2-2 draw against Dallas. Jason Hernandez made his first start since July 13 as Bernardez's replacement.
The Earthquakes had a chance to move ahead in the 10th minute on Chris Wondolowski's 5-yard volley off Chavez's corner kick. But goalkeeper Jaime Penedo lunged to his right to deflect Wondolowski's shot with both palms.
Instead, Los Angeles took the lead in the 26th minute. Keane's midfield chip found Landon Donovan, who sped past two defenders, drew goalkeeper Jon Busch away from the net and converted a 10-yard diagonal shot inside the left post.
Keane extended the lead to 2-0 in the 43rd minute with a penalty kick. The Galaxy's Gyasi Zardes drew the penalty after Steven Beitashour slid into his left leg in the 41st minute.
Keane ended the scoring in the 67th minute with his 12th goal, a 13-yard volley off Sean Franklin's header.
Sept. 8 gamE
Philadelphia (10-8-9) at Earthquakes (9-11-7), 8 p.m. ESPN2