SANDY, Utah—Robbie Keane has played a major role for the LA Galaxy during their run to two consecutive MLS Cups, but now that their bid for a third title is over, the fiercely competitive Irishman is looking for a little time to recharge his batteries.
Since joining the Galaxy back in August 2011, Keane has played almost constantly for LA, Ireland as well as a brief loan spell to Aston Villa and a training stint with Tottenham Hotspur. In 2013, Keane enjoyed an MVP-type season with 16 goals and 11 assists in 23 appearances, however, in the postseason, LA’s captain failed to find the back of the net in the team’s Conference Semifinal Series defeat to Real Salt Lake.
After the Galaxy’s surprising defeat at Rio Tinto, Keane admitted that he could use some time to get back to full fitness before the 2014 season.
“I certainly need it because I have a few problems like my [left] Achilles which needs to be looked at fairly quick and hopefully we can solve that situation. It’s been bothering me for a long time and this may be an opportunity for me maybe to get it done or whatever the medics see is the best thing to do,” Keane told reporters following LA’s defeat to Salt Lake. “For me, it’ll be nice to have an extended break, but not too long. Friendlies next week, but we’ll have the two friendlies in Ireland against [Latvia and Poland in November] and I expect to play them and then get a few little niggles sorted.”
Although the Galaxy did not repeat as MLS Cup champion, Keane could still win some silverware as the Irish forward is a front runner for the MLS MVP. However, Keane isn't concerning himself with the trophy ahead of his first long offseason in years.
“Listen, it would be nice if that’s the case, but if it is not then so be it,” said Keane.
There's only four teams remaining in the MLS Cup Playoffs and for the first time, the LA Galaxy aren't one of them.
The Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City will play for the Eastern Conference Championship--the two teams played to a scoreless draw on Saturday in Texas--while the Portland Timbers will take on Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference Championship.
So that leaves the question: who do you got?
Courtesy of LAGalaxy.com videographer Paolo Ferrari, Omar Gonzalez addresses the media following LA's 2-0 Real Salt Lake defeat.
Check it out below...
Jaime Penedo and Marcelo Sarvas advanced to the Round of 16 for Latino Del Ano.
Sarvas is matched up against Houston Dynamo's Boniek Garcia while Penedo is taking on Chivas USA forward Erick Torres.
SANDY, Utah -- In the end, set pieces proved to be the fatal flaw of the LA Galaxy in 2013.
LA crashed out of the Western Conference Semifinals Series 2-1 to Real Salt Lake after dropping a 2-0 result to RSL at Rio Tinto Stadium. Both of the goals that RSL scored on the windy evening came directly or indirectly off set pieces with Chris Schuler’s goal in the 101th one minute coming off a Javier Morales free kick.
In 2013, the Galaxy conceded 17 goals on set pieces: 15 in MLS play and the two in CONCACAF Champions League play. Meanwhile LA tallying just nine on dead ball chances—seven in MLS play and two in CCL. In comparison, in league play in 2012—albeit with David Beckham on the squad—LA scored 15 set piece goals allowing just nine.
After crashing out at Rio Tinto Stadium, LA’s players gave their thoughts on the team’s set piece deficiencies.
OMAR GONZALEZ: “A lot of things hurt us this season from set pieces to…that was the main thing. That’s something we need to figure out, and tonight that hurt us again. It was the story of our year and tonight it ended up biting us in the butt.”
LANDON DONOVAN: “They had a number of quality set pieces. Obviously, the wind blowing the way it was going was going to make it difficult, and we’ve got to give Schuler credit. He made a great play to get his foot on it and put it in. It’s frustrating, you know at this point it’s over with and you’ve got to learn. We know there are a number of areas where we fell short, and we just didn’t get it done tonight.”
ROBBIE KEANE: “Set pieces has kind of been our downfall the whole season, so I think we go away now and come back next year hopefully a stronger team as we reflect on this season, which I’m sure that Bruce [Arena] and the players certainly will, but that’s life. That’s the nature of the beast. That’s what we’re in this game for. It happens to the best of teams. Maybe this year, we probably weren’t the best team, but we were certainly the team that people probably expected us to go on and win it, but in football, it doesn’t happen like that, I’m afraid.”
ROBBIE ROGERS: “Yeah, set pieces are a thing -- the whole team is responsible for that. I think over the course of the season, as long as I’ve been here, I think it’s been one of our weaknesses, defending set pieces as a team. There have been a number of games where we’ve given away points at the end of the game off set pieces, and it’s something that I’m sure will be addressed and worked on.”
TODD DUNIVANT: “There were quite a few. We were sort of bending not breaking, and finally they broke through, and they were dangerous especially on their wide free kicks. I think that Morales was definitely putting in really dangerous balls behind our line and putting Jaime [Penedo] in difficult spots. Those were great balls and they finally got on the end of one. We defended well for long stretches and I think let our guard down on that one. Tip your hat to that them.”
SANDY, Utah—Robbie Rogers had his opportunities, but in the end, he like the rest of the LA Galaxy attack were unable to help send the team through to the Western Conference Championship.
In 75 minutes of LA’s extra time 2-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake that caused them to fall 2-1 in the Western Conference Semifinal Series, Rogers tied for the team lead in shots with five. Three of Rogers chances came during a seven minute span midway through the first half, but each of his efforts were sprayed just wide.
Throughout the match, Rogers was one of the more active players on the field for LA, but was unable to capitalize on the time and space afforded to him by the Salt Lake defense.
“We created chances,” Robbie Rogers said. “That's, I guess, the difference between great players and mediocre players is when [great players] get those chances, they finish them. We just weren't good enough in front of goal and defending in front of our goal.”
In the end, Rogers’ struggles were emblematic of the entire team as of 22 chances; the Galaxy had just two shots on frame.
“That’s not a great stat,” Rogers admitted. “We’ll obviously look at this game and see what we did right and what we did wrong, but probably over the course of the two games, we just didn’t finish our chances and made it hard on ourselves.”
A.J. DeLaGarza is set to begin his international career with Guam.
The LA Galaxy defender confirmed via his verified Twitter account on Friday that he'll be heading to play with the "Matao" during their upcoming friendlies against Laos and Cambodia in the November international period. Since the matches are friendlies, DeLaGarza will not be tied to Guam.
DeLaGarza received interest from Guam last November and commited to the nation earlier this year after racking up two caps for the U.S. National Team.
New challenge of my career starts Sunday. Traveling to Laos and Cambodia for a few friendlies with Guam. Then few days in Guam to see family
— AJ DeLaGarza (@AJD_20) November 8, 2013
SANDY, Utah – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena’s comments from LA’s 2-1 aggregate defeat to Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference Semifinal.
(On the team’s defeat…)
ARENA: “We didn’t play well tonight or over 210 minutes. We really had our opportunities on Sunday to have a cushion coming in here and didn’t do it. Tonight we failed on defensive set pieces. The win made the game terrible with the field conditions and all that, so it was a really sloppy game, a scrappy game, and they were more opportune on their set pieces than we were, and it was the difference in the game.”
(On whether the season was a failure…)
ARENA: “I don’t know about that, but these are tight games in the playoffs.”
(On the play of Keane and Donovan…)
ARENA: “They were not factors tonight for us. Give Salt Lake credit, they played them well.”
(On Penedo’s play…)
ARENA: “Penedo had a very good game, you said? He was alright.”
The conditions were both for teams with the hard field. This field is like playing on the street and it makes for balls bouncing a lot. The conditions were tough, but both teams have to play on these conditions and they played better than we did. They were very direct, they put balls behind us, put our backs under pressure, scrapped a lot, and were hectic in their attack and created some opportunities from that.”
(On the second goal…)
ARENA: “The last goal, the referee [calls] the whole night like it’s a boxing match and he calls that foul, but in all fairness, we shouldn't position ourselves to be called for a foul down there and they score. We had to be smart to place this game into penalty kicks once we got to overtime, and we didn’t get it done.”
SALT LAKE CITY -- We're just hours away from Thursday's Western Conference Semifinal Series second leg between the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake. Remember LA advance with a win or a draw at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Below are a series of links, matchups to watch and a predicted score.
*There may be a risk for the LA Galaxy to be defensive-minded against an RSL, but the Galaxy are confident that they'll be able to attack a desperate RSL side.
*RSL are confident that their history of coming up short in big games will be changed on Thursday, but they'll do so without midfielder Ned Grabavoy.
*LAGalaxy.com's Larry Morgan previews the second leg.
*Lastly, my Three Points to the match.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Marcelo Sarvas vs. Kyle Beckerman
Stopping Beckerman will be key as he provides the main conduit between RSL and their attack. Preventing him from enjoying success is key to LA earning a victory.
Omar Gonzalez vs. Nat Borchers
Watch these two on each Galaxy set piece chance as Borchers and company have resorted to extremely physical tactics to limit Gonzalez's effectiveness.
Luis Gil vs. Todd Dunivant.
The wily youngster will look to cause consdierable problems for the Galaxy left back, but Dunivant will need a strong performance to keep him at bay.
LA 2 REAL SALT LAKE 2: Goals by Sarvas, Keane and Morales and Gil
Video Preview: LA Galaxy Insider previews the Western Conference Semifinal second leg against Real Salt Lake
Ahead of Thursday's match between the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake, I previewed the match in this video piece for LAGalaxy.com
Check it out below..