Robbie Keane’s Legacy in MLS

Coming back from double Achilles surgery, Keane tries to leave his mark as he heads into the last few years of his career
by Jamie Pham   |   Monday, March 31, 2014

Galaxy of Angels – column on Los Angeles Galaxy (LA Galaxy) & the LA soccer scene.

When Robbie Keane arrived in MLS to the LA Galaxy, David Beckham was the main attraction. But Keane is arguably the best player to come out of Ireland and continues to captain his squad while playing for the LA Galaxy.

Coming off double Achilles surgery in the off-season, some pundits have said he isn’t fully fit and can’t compete at a high level anymore.

“He’s too slow.”

“He’s too selfish.”

“He’s too old.”

There are plenty criticisms against him but one thing is for certain, he’s devoted his life to this sport and gives his team everything he has every time he steps on the pitch.

Keane managed to score 16 goals and notched 11 assists in only 23 games last season. He missed a few games due to a nagging hip injury and playing in World Cup Qualifiers for the Republic of Ireland. Golden Boot winner Camilo Sanvezzo had 22 goals but played 9 more games than Keane in 2013.

Keane’s work ethic is undeniable, as he doesn’t have the same branding and notoriety as Beckham does off the pitch so he makes a name for himself when he is playing.

One example is when Keane suited up for a 7 p.m. kick off last October after his 12-hour flight from Ireland landed at 4 p.m. All this just a day after going 90 minutes in Ireland's final World Cup qualifier nearly 5,200 miles away.

Arena wanted to rest him but LA was in a tight playoff race among the top teams in the Western Conference. He was brought on as a sub in the 68th minute.

“I knew I'd be back in time,” Keane said. “I should have been back a lot earlier, but the flights [to London and then to Los Angeles] got delayed, so it was a little bit of pushing. ... It was a tight squeeze, but nevertheless I got here, and that was the most important thing.”

The Galaxy rewarded the 33-year-old with a multi-year contract extension last month and he has said that he wanted to end his soccer career in MLS. In the 2 and half years he has spent with the Galaxy, he’s scored 35 goals and has 21 assists in 57 games.

Other than a handful of international super stars like Thierry Henry, many have left after a short stint in America. Rafa Marquez, Juninho, and Carlo Cudicini are some examples of players who have left.

His successful presence in the league have helped influence in bringing other international stars to MLS such as his old Tottenham teammate, Jermain Defoe, who transferred to Toronto FC in the offseason.

It is still early in the season and the Galaxy has only played 2 MLS games (Keane scored in one against Real Salt Lake and another against Club Tijuana in the CONCACAF Champions League semi-finals). It’s hard to judge his fitness skills at this point but one thing is for certain, he will give the team everything he has as they try to make their way back to the top of the league.

NEXT UP: April 6 – LA Galaxy vs. Chivas USA, StubHub Center, Carson, Calif., 3 p.m. EST, TWC SportsNet and MLS Live.

Jamie PHAM

Pasadena City College
Club Domestic:
LA Galaxy
Club Foreign:
Former tour manager turned sports blogger, Jamie spends loads of time reviewing the Los Angeles sports scene and is a big MLS and USMNT supporter.