When it comes to teams with swagger like Real Salt Lake, the Los Angeles Galaxy need to be up to the task to deliver and counter with their stars. And no bigger star shined brightly for the Galaxy on Saturday than Robbie Keane.
Sure, all the talk and all the hype was on Omar Gonzalez and his signing as the third designated player for Bruce Arena’s Galaxy, but those in know…know better. The thing is, Keane has had a history of scoring goals against teams like RSL and on Saturday against Jason Kreis’s side, he was up to his old tricks. We’ll get to the goals in a bit. First, the rundown of the stats on the Opta Chalkboard.
Distribution-wise, Keano had a 88 percent pass success rate on 25 touches. Not bad. He also had one through ball, a successful flick-on, a layoff and two key passes. He didn’t register defensively, but he had three shots on target, two blocked shots, and of course, the hat trick.
Keane had a 25 percent dribble success rate and lost possession on the challenge nine times. He was also offsides twice. In the end, it’s all about the goals, and the Republic of Ireland captain was on the money.
On the first goal, Juninho sends a long pass to Keane, who nutmegs Carlos Salcedo and rockets one past Nick Rimando to make it 1-1. The second goal was, perhaps, the best of them. Apparently, so the story goes, Bruce Arena smelled blood in the water and brought in Sean Franklin to relieve Hector Jimenez.
The gamble paid off. Franklin was open on the right side and sent a cross to Keane who delivered the type of touch that would rival Juan Agudelo heroics against the Chicago Fire earlier in the day. This goal might not win Goal of the Week, but it sure was fun to watch.
As was the third goal from Keane that iced it. Again, it was Juninho that picked him out. Keane was onsides and it was a signature chip shot. He’s got the skill, he’s got the gift, he’s got the touch, he’s Robbie Keane and his hat trick bagged all three points for the Los Angeles Galaxy.
“It’s always nice to score goals, but the most important thing is the three points,” Keane told MLSSoccer.com’s Scott French. “And after going a goal behind we showed a lot of character to come back and get four goals in the end, because you have to win the game.”
Character and better defending will be needed for the Galaxy when they tackle the CONCACAF Champions League against Cartagines and league play against Vancouver. If Robbie Keane can build on his form, the Galaxy will be back in business play the type of football that got them to the top the past two years.