CARSON, Calif. (Friday, October 5, 2012) – Following Saturday’s all important game against Real Salt Lake, three Galaxy players will head off for international duty with their respective national teams. Forward Robbie Keane has been included in Ireland’s squad for a pair of UEFA World Cup Qualifiers while midfielders Dan Keat and Christian Wilhelmsson have been called up by New Zealand and Sweden respectively. All three players will leave on Sunday and return to Southern California around October 17, ahead of LA’s final road game of the season, against the Western Conference leading San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday, October 21.
Ireland’s all-time leading goal scorer with 54 goals in 120 appearances for his country, Keane helped Ireland come from behind to earn a 2-1 road win over Kazakhstan in their first game in Group Three last month. Keane, who leads the Galaxy with 14 regular season goals this year, will captain Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad in a pair of games during the upcoming international break with Ireland hosting Germany in Dublin on Friday, October 12 before hitting the road to take on the Faroe Islands in their third game of the current qualification cycle on Tuesday, October 16.
Wilhelmsson, who joined the Galaxy last month and has a goal in two appearances for the club, was called up by Sweden head coach Eric Hamren for the first time since signing with LA. Sweden also play in UEFA’s Group Three and opened the campaign with a 2-0 home win over Kazakhstan on September 11. Just like Ireland, who they will face twice in 2013, Sweden will play the Faroe Islands and Germany, playing away to the Faroes on October 12 and then away to Germany on October 16. Wilhelmsson, who last played for his country in a friendly against Brazil in Stockholm on August 15, has nine goals in 78 appearances for Sweden.
While Keane and Wilhelmsson will be playing in Europe, Dan Keat will be taking part in a pair of qualifiers in the Oceania region with New Zealand. Keat and the rest of the All Whites will play away to Tahiti on October 12 and before hosting them four days later in Christchurch. The second-year midfielder, who collected his first cap in February, was in New Zealand’s squad for a pair of qualifiers last month against New Caledonia and the Salomon Islands but he did not play in either game. After winning their first two games in the qualification cycle, New Zealand currently lead the final round of qualifying in Oceania, with the winner of the four-team group advancing to a playoff against the fourth place team from CONCACF for a berth in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
In addition to those three, Galaxy forward Jose Villarreal will be playing for the U.S. Under-20 National Team at the 2012 Marbella Cup in Spain. He will leave the club on Sunday and is scheduled to rejoin his Galaxy teammates ahead of the game at San Jose on Sunday, October 21.
All four of those players are scheduled to be available on Saturday night when the Galaxy host Real Salt Lake at The Home Depot Center. The game, which is presented by Amgen Breakaway from Cancer, kicks off at 6 p.m. and will be Fan Appreciation Night with the club offering fans a series of exciting giveaways, prizes and experiences. To learn more about Fan Appreciation Night or to purchase tickets to any Galaxy home game, please visit the club’s official website at www.lagalaxy.com.