CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan is hanging up his boots at the end of the 2014 season and will play his final game of his illustrious career on Sunday when the LA Galaxy take on the New England Revolution on Sunday in MLS Cup.
But even though the nation’s most famous player will play in his final game on Sunday, his teammates aren’t interested in winning the title solely because they want to send him out on top. No, there is no “Win one for Landon.”
The Galaxy insist that they want to win the title so that each one of them can experience the joy of lifting the Phillip Anschutz trophy aloft.
“It’d certainly be nice, but our focus is on winning this for the Galaxy, for the team and for the organization,” said head coach Bruce Arena. “It just happens to be Landon’s last game, but it’d be very nice to send him out on a high.”
LA’s ever candid captain Robbie Keane took it one step further, asserting that LA wish Donovan the best, but have selfish motives when it comes to Sunday’s game.
“Listen if anyone deserves to go out on a high, it's certainly Landon because of all that he's done for this league and the U.S. National Team But it’s not going into our thinking. [His retirement] is something that has been going on for years and it hasn't affected us since,” Keane said with a smile. “I just hope that since it's his last game that he'll put forth his best performance and do as well as he can."
Robbie Keane on MVP: "I'm delighted to win the award, but I'd trade it in for a championship on Sunday"
LOS ANGELES -- When Robbie Keane arrived in Southern California in 2011, he made a simple yet powerful declarative statement: "I'm not coming here for a vacation."
It's pretty clear that he’s backed up those words in his three-and-a-half years with the Galaxy.
On Wednesday, Keane was named the 2014 MLS Volkswagen MVP after a stellar season that saw the Irish striker score 19 goals and 14 assists to lead an LA team that led the league in scoring. Even as Keane basked in the success of his most recent season, many focused on the forward’s great success with the club since joining the team in 2011.
Whereas previous incarnations of the Galaxy fell short of titles in 2009 and 2010, when Keane was introduced, the Galaxy pushed their way to the top, winning two straight MLS Cups in 2011 and 2012. And because of that, Galaxy boss Bruce Arena was not shy to declare Keane that Keane was missing piece that LA needed to truly contend for the league’s top prize.
“I’ve watched Robbie for years and there was always something in the back of my mind that this was the type of player that we want to get in this league and that I’d love to have on my team one day," said Arena. "We were very fortunate when we had the opportunity to get him from Tottenham.
“He sets the tone for our team every day. He’s good with the young players, he gets our team ready to play,” Arena added. “Those are things that you don’t see in the box score, but he’s that valuable for our team each and every day.”
But as you might expect from a player labeled the missing piece to a championship side, Keane’s focus is not on winning individual honors, but rather the real title that will be awarded on Sunday.
"It's great to be recognized by your fellow professionals and the media. I'm delighted with the award, but I'd certainly trade it in for a championship on Sunday," said Keane. "These awards mean something, I'd be a fool if I said that it didn't, but if we didn't win the championship then it wouldn't mean that much to me. If we win, it'll cap off a great year for me and for our team."
LOS ANGELES -- I had an opportunity to speak to LA Galaxy captain and 2014 Volkswagen MVP Robbie Keane after he was named Most Valuable Player.
Check out my conversation with Keane above.
LOS ANGELES -- Robbie Keane is King.
MLS announced on Tuesday that the LA Galaxy captain has been named the 2014 Volkswagen MLS MVP. Keane was the standard barer for a Galaxy side that finished with the second best record in MLS and the highest goals scored total. The 34-year-old finished the regular season with 19 goals (tied for third best in MLS) and 14 assists (tied for second).
Watch Keane's announcement press conference above.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy had three players named to MLS Best XI, the league announced on Tuesday during MLS commissioner Don Garber's State of the League address.
Galaxy stalwarts Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Keane were named to the league's Best XI on Tuesday after banner seasons for an LA squad that finished with finished with the league's second best record. The selection is an MLS record seventh for Donovan while Gonzalez was named to the Best XI for a foruth time while Keane earned his third selection in a row.
The trio’s inclusion marks the first time that the three Galaxy Designated Players have all been named to the MLS Best XI in the same season.
SEATTLE- The day is finally here: LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders FC for a berth in the MLS Cup.
In the latest edition of the LA Galaxy TV Insider Breakdown, I take a look at three facets of the Western Conference Championship second leg.
Check it out above.
Robbie Keane says Gyasi Zardes must get back to basics if he's going to score against Seattle Sounders FC
CARSON, Calif. – Gyasi Zardes took MLS by storm with 16 goals in his second season with the LA Galaxy, but since finding the back of the net on Sept. 28, the forward has been silent.
Recently, Zardes has seen his amount of chances dwindle from an average of just over a shot on goal per game after the New York Red Bulls match to just two chances in the entirety of his six-game scoring drought.
Although the 23-year-old forward has failed to bury his chances as of late, his strike partner, Galaxy captain Robbie Keane says Zardes must get back to basics if he’s going to find the back of the net against Seattle Sounders FC this weekend.
“He has to get back to understanding what got him here in the first place. The most important thing that he has to understand is to be a team player first. If you’re a team player first then everything else will take care of itself,” Keane said after training earlier this week. “He needs to get back to what he’s good at, which is getting behind the defense and creating opportunities. But when he gets those opportunities then he has to take them and in the last few games, he hasn’t. He needs to get back to that.
“Like any striker, you always go through stages where you don’t score and it plays in your mind. The most important thing is that he has to get that out of his head fairly quickly, because when you’re going into games thinking that you haven’t scored for a while, it’ll work against you. One thing that I would say is that when you get an opportunity, rather than be clever and try to place it, sometimes just put your foot through and try to smash it. Usually that has worked for me over the years when I haven’t scored in a few games.”
To his credit, Zardes agrees that if he’s going to find the back of the net in LA’s Western Conference Championship series, he has to be sharper in front of the net
“To be honest, I’m working extremely hard and there are numerous opportunities, but I'm just going to keep doing the same things that I've been doing. I've been unlucky, but the [chances] are there,” said Zardes. “I just think that I have to get on the end of crosses because if you look at my goals, they typically come with solid link-up play with Robbie.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Way back in July, the LA Galaxy were walloped 7-0 by Manchester United in the Chevrolet FC Cup at the Rose Bowl. Although the match meant nothing in the MLS regular season standings, a certain segment of the Galaxy believe that the "embarrassment" from that win helped propel the club to the Western Conference Championship.
In front of droves of fans at the Rose Bowl, the Galaxy fell flat to a fierce United side that made quick work of LA's defense, particularly once the home side's first team was off the field. But since that defeat, LA has been a much different squad
Starting with a 3-0 domination of the very same Seattle Sounders FC team that they'll face on Sunday, the Galaxy have gone an impressive 10-3-4 since their defeat to the English Premier League club.
"It was embarrassing and we just turned a corner," said A.J. DeLaGarza. "Every year there is a game that turns everything around...it happened to Omar [Gonzalez] and I in college, it happens to us here."
Added Landon Donovan, "We don't put much stock into the final score, but we didn't play well. When we play well and lose then we can live with that and Bruce [Arena] can live with that. But when we lose and don't play well then that is unacceptable."
But Robbie Keane, who famously said that the defeat to Manchester United was a "kick in the ass" for the Galaxy, said that the match had no impact on his own thinking about LA's season.
"I literally haven't thought about Manchester United since that game," said Keane. "I don't pay any mind to preseason games, and it's even less when it's not our own preseason."
Robbie Keane returns from international duty fit for Western Conference Championship clash with Seattle Sounders FC
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy welcomed back captain Robbie Keane from international duty on Tuesday ahead of this weekend's Western Conference Championship first leg clash with Seattle Sounders FC.
Keane spent the last week with the Republic of Ireland and saw limited second half action in their 1-0 Euro 2016 qualifying defeat to Scotland last Friday. The match was the first time that Keane had been left on the substitute’s bench for a competitive international match in 13 years.
“I was disappointed with the result which wasn’t what [the Irish squad] wanted, but I move on and I’m fully focused on the game on Sunday,” Keane said on Tuesday following the team’s training session. “[Coming back early] gives me six days to get back into the swing of things for Sunday after the travel back from Europe.”
The 34-year-old noted that conversations between the Galaxy coaching staff and the Republic of Ireland allowed Keane to miss out on their 4-1 defeat over the United States on Tuesday. Not only does Keane’s return aid in his preparation for the Sounders match, but the Irish striker notes that he is “90-ish percent” back from a left hamstring ailment that plagued him for the last month.
Keane returns to a Galaxy squad that is the midst of their preparations for their clash with a Seattle side that clinched the Supporters’ Shield by defeating the Galaxy on Oct. 25 at CenturyLink Field. Although the Galaxy felt the sting of that defeat after the Seattle match, Keane says that loss will have no impact on what happens on Sunday at StubHub Center.
“There’s no fear. You can’t have fear going into game like this. These are the games that you want to be playing in,” Keane said. “We can’t change about what happened in the past, but we can change what will happen on Sunday. We have to make sure that we go into the game with the right mentality and not thinking that is revenge.
“This is where we wanted to be. We wanted to have a chance to play for a championship and we have every opportunity to do so.”
The LA Galaxy have long been one of the banner clubs in MLS and it’s no surprise that they were well-represented in MLSsoccer.com’s All-Time Playoff XI.
The league’s website released their list on Monday with the Conference Championships starting later this week. Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy MLS Cup champion in 2005, 2011, 2012) leads the charge for the Galaxy contingent which includes Chris Armas (LA Galaxy MLS Cup finalist in 1996), Todd Dunivant (LA Galaxy MLS Cup champion in 2005, 2011, 2012), and Brian Mullan (LA Galaxy MLS Cup champion in 2002).
Included in the list of honorable mentions are LA legends Mauricio Cienfuegos, Kevin Hartman and Cobi Jones as well as Galaxy MLS Cup winners Robbie Keane, Omar Gonzalez and Ned Grabavoy.
If you disagree, feel free to leave a comment below.