CARSON, Calif. -- David Beckham says he's having the most enjoyable season of his five with the Los Angeles Galaxy. The only thing that would make it better is a championship.
The Galaxy moved one step closer to making that a reality Thursday night, when Landon Donovan scored on a penalty kick in the 74th minute and Los Angeles beat the New York Red Bulls 2-1 to advance to the Western Conference final.
The Galaxy will be will appearing in their third consecutive conference final after winning the two-game series with a 3-1 aggregate goal total, including their 1-0 win in Harrison, N.J., on Sunday.
"I haven't even thought about what's next after this," said Beckham, whose contract with the Galaxy is expiring. "Right now, I'm just thinking about the moment and winning a championship."
The Supporters' Shield winners have a quick turnaround, facing Real Salt Lake on Sunday in a rematch of the 2009 MLS Cup. Los Angeles has the benefit of hosting the match at Home Depot Center, where they are unbeaten this season (13-0-5).
Game time is 7 p.m. at Honda Center.
Entering Thursday's game, Los Angeles needed a win or a draw to move on. Luke Rodgers quickly made things interesting by putting the Red Bulls ahead less than 4 minutes in, tying the aggregate at 1-1.
"I thought it was one of those games where we were going to score a lot of goals," Rodgers said. "We should have won that game tonight. But it wasn't meant to be."
Mike Magee scored for the Galaxy in the 42nd minute on a header off Beckham's corner kick. It was Magee's second goal in as many games after he scored the winner in the first leg of the series.
Beckham took a hard fall onto his back during an attempted header midway through the opening half. He went to the ground on a couple of occasions in visible pain and later came off the field as trainers checked on him.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena briefly thought Beckham might have to be substituted. Instead, the rejuvenated English star left his mark with a patented set piece minutes before halftime.
Beckham, who was second in the league with 16 assists, sent in a perfectly placed corner that met Magee's head and carried past Frank Rost's outstretched arms to level it 1-1.
"We started off badly. It wasn't what we planned," Beckham said. "The way we adjusted ourselves showed the character of this team."
The Galaxy were awarded a penalty kick when New York defender Roy Miller shoved Beckham down from behind in the box. Donovan, the Galaxy's captain and leading scorer, stepped up and finished left as Rost dove right. The goal provided the final dagger in a series marked by physical play and trash talk from both sides.
"Some of that stuff, it's just the way it goes," Donovan said of the back-and-forth verbal jabs. "I have a lot of respect for their team and think they played a great series."
Rodgers added to the drama with his first career playoff goal to quiet the lively Home Depot Center crowd in the opening minutes. Thierry Henry played a through ball as Rodgers got behind the defense and slide it home.
On the ensuing kickoff, Rodgers made a hard challenge at Beckham's ankles, earning a yellow card. It resulted in some pushing and shoving from both sides, reminiscent of teams' postgame scuffle in the first meeting.
Rodgers later had a chance to put the Red Bulls ahead in the 58th when he broke clear of the defense, but his left-footed attempted sailed just wide of the post.
"We felt we had a great start. We worked hard as a team," Rodgers said. "It's tough to swallow."
New York's Rafael Marquez and Juninho of the Galaxy missed the match while serving suspensions for their roles in the scuffle. Major League Soccer announced Thursday it had added two additional games to Marquez's suspension, citing his "violent and aggressive" conduct.