Robbie Keane is a football player that just can’t say no to sitting out any important contest. This is a player that had to go through a fitness exam just to be on the pitch at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. on Sunday night for Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy against Schellas Hyndman’s FC Dallas.
“I had a swollen knee so I had to get fluid taken out yesterday in the hospital,” Keane told the media. “It was kind of touch-and-go before the game, so I’ve come along way the last two days to get myself fit. Lucky enough I felt 80 percent.”
But once Keane got on the pitch to get going, he showed to the 19,000-plus in attendance the type of leadership that can give a struggling ball club the proverbial kick up the backside it so rightfully deserves. It resulted in a 2-0 shutout for the Galaxy and a clean sweep to kick off the month of July. Suddenly, the race in the MLS Western Conference got even tighter.
“It was a complete performance right from the start,” said the Republic of Ireland international. “It would have been nice to get a goal in the first half but it wasn’t to be. We managed to get a goal in the second half and then we killed the game off after.”
Despite being a bit off with his touch, Keane had a 73 percent pass success rate, two key passes and lay offs each, a through ball and an assist, according to the Opta Chalkboard. In the 65th minute, Keane orchestrated a sequence that found Marcelo Sarvas to break open the deadlock.
“Marcelo’s been great in the last few games and totally deserves that goal,” Keane said. “He’s been doing well. Full credit to him, he’s been one of our best performers in the last month or so. Hector as well, since he’s come in since Landon [Donovan]’s left he’s done very well.”
Keane also had two recoveries and a 40 percent dribble success rate. But it’s not just the stats on the Opta Chalkboard that make Keane’s rating for this match significant. It’s his leadership and on-field bravado.
When Juninho earned a yellow card for arguing with Ricardo Salazar, Keane stepped in and told him to settle down or risk getting sent off. The fans could tell he was not happy with Juninho asking for a red to David Ferreira for a harsh challenge he suffered.
And as I have mentioned many times on this blog, years and years of experience make you a leader and a worthy captain. He’s a DP; that’s why he’s paid the big money. All part of the job, all part of the business. And Keane does it with trademark professionalism.
One more thing of worthy note: Keane is now the league’s leader in assists. But does he really look into the individual statistics? Not really.
“I don’t really sit and look at it to be honest with you,” Keane added. “As long as we win the championship at the end, I don’t care to be honest with you. It’s always nice, I like setting up goals so it’s always pleasant.
“I think the position where I play I like to score goals but I think certainly I also like to set up goals as well.”
Watch for Robbie Keane to work his magic again on the road against another top club in the MLS Western Conference, Caleb Porter’s Portland Timbers, this week.