For many a game, Los Angeles Galaxy captain Robbie Keane has had to carry his team on his shoulders late in contests. The Independence Day clash with the Columbus Crew at StubHub Cemter was no different.
Two late penalties in the 85th and 91st minutes of play gave the Galaxy an uncommon 2-1 smash-and grab victory over the Crew before an impressive fireworks display closed the evening. It could have been 3-1 Los Angeles had Keane had Jose Villareal been on point with his passing.
His stats on the Opta Chalkboard MLSSoccer.com” href=”http://www.mlssoccer.com/matchcenter/2013-07-04-la-v-clb/chalkboard” target=”_blank”>are par for the course. Distribution-wise, Robbie Keane had 21 successful passes against 11 bad ones, three unsuccessful crosses and two key passes. Defensively he won four recoveries and won a tackle. In terms of shots, he had three on target, three off target and had another shot blocked.
What makes Keane a clutch striker is his composure from the penalty spot. On the first penalty in the 85th minute, Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum guesses the wrong way, and it’s an easy slot in the bottom right corner. Then, in the 91st minute, Gruenebaum guesses the right spot but he doesn’t make a good dive at it.
The deceptive speed and lethal class of Robbie Keane from the spot is capable of offsetting a terrible night of finishing for the Los Angeles Galaxy. If fans recall the 2012 MLS Cup Final, this was how it was won: composure and winning the mental war with the man guarding the nylon.
It will be a different story for sure on Sunday against FC Dallas, but you can be sure that Robbie Keane will carry his team on his shoulders if it comes down to spot kicks late.