CARSON, Calif. –Throughout the latter stages of the LA Galaxy’s season, no one was more influential than forward Robbie Keane.
The Irishman was a man possessed after returning from the European Championships in mid-June tallying 17 goals in all competitions along with nine assists. When the postseason began, Keane ramped up his production even further by notching six postseason goals—as well as the final goal in Saturday’s 3-1 MLS Cup win over the Houston Dynamo – and one assist.
An MLS Cup winner for the second time, Keane admitted that the adversity that the club faced in 2012 made his second title with LA that much sweeter.
“It’s obviously fantastic, it certainly means a lot more this year than it did last year—even though it was great last year— because this year I was here from the start of the season,” said Keane. “Full credit to the team and the attitude that we’ve shown over the last few months because people wrote us off at the start of the season, but there are two halves to the season and the second half of the season as fantastic. We certainly were the best team by far in these last few months and we deserved to win it.”
In Saturday’s triumph, Keane was once again at the forefront of LA’s victory repeatedly testing the Houston back four before eventually putting the game on ice with a penalty kick goal in stoppage time after being fouled in the box by Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall.
After Keane’s stellar performance over the last five months, the Irishman received the highest compliment from his head coach Bruce Arena.
“Robbie, I think we grew up together in Brooklyn. He has the same type of mentality, he is one tough bastard,” said Arena. “[He is] skillful, competitive, a great friend of players, and a great teammate. If you look at it, last year we said we have to get a little bit better and we were incredibly lucky to acquire Robbie.
“Robbie is a clever player, there’s no question about that,” Arena added later. “I don’t think he relies on out-jumping players, out-running players. He’s a thinker, technically terrific, and he’s just extremely clever.”
Tough? Sure. But Keane was not one to get carried away with the praise heading his way.
“I don’t want to speak about myself too much to be honest with you. The most important thing in football is a team and [being] surrounded by players that help you,” said Keane. “You can't win a game on your own. I've been very fortunate to play with a good team, and we've been helping each other, and as long as the team’s helped me to score goals and I can help them ... well, great.”
What’s next for the Irishman now that he has won his second MLS Cup? He has repeatedly deflected talk that he will go on another offseason loan due to a few knocks over the last couple weeks, but he will be playing soccer in Ireland, albeit in a different setting.
“[I’ll go] back to Dublin, play five-a-side with me brother and people like that to keep myself fit – that's all I usually do in the offseason,” said Keane. “I shouldn't really say that to Bruce, in case I get injured.”
However, there was no condemnation from the head coach of Keane’s offseason activity.
“He might have a pint as well,” said Arena with a grin.
“A couple probably,” Keane answered.