The importance of Robbie Keane to Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy cannot be stressed any further.
The energy he brings to the team is immense, and when his leadership is seen on the pitch, the Galaxy’s chances of winning matches greatly improves.
Take, for example, tonight’s match between the Galaxy and John Hackworth’s Philadelphia Union. When combined with Landon Donovan, the Galaxy are an unstoppable force. Granted, it took the club 71 minutes for the two players in question to put the pieces together, but one Keane and Donovan started clicking, the Galaxy could not be stopped.
In terms of distribution, according to the Opta Chalkboard Keane was solid, with an 81 percent pass success rate on 48 touches, four lay offs and three key passes. Defensively, Keane only earned two recoveries, and in terms of ball possession, he had a 4 percent dribble success rate, lost possession on the challenge 15 times and won a couple of fouls.
The one minus that Keane has is that he tends to be offsides at the most unfortunate of times. Late in the first half, Keane was offsides because he touched the ball as it was about to go into the net. Had Keane just let the ball go, the Galaxy would be leading 2-1 at the break and won 5-1 at the full time whistle.
But that play just sums up Keane’s frustrations from being injured the past few weeks. When Robbie Keane is not donning the captain’s armband, Los Angeles tends to struggle. Keane is going to be needed more than ever on Sunday when the Galaxy take on the New York Red Bulls and the ever-reliable Thierry Henry.
With the victory, Los Angeles move back up to third in the MLS Western Conference, and a win against New York could see them return to second. The Galaxy will need every win they can get to chase FC Dallas, but in order to do that, Robbie Keane will need to be on the pitch with Landon Donovan for the team to stand even half of a chance to chase the best team in the league.