CARSON, Calif. – There will be no limitations or pregame fitness tests, LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane is fit and ready to participate in Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal first leg against Monterrey.
Keane was unable to play in LA’s victory over the Colorado Rapids two weeks ago while away on international duty with Ireland and did not travel to last Saturday’s match against Toronto FC, electing to return to Southern California to receive treatment after picking up a calf strain in his country’s 0-0 draw in Sweden on March 22.
Now with two days of training under his belt, Keane believes that he is ready to play against Monterrey, even though the Irishman admitted that he was initially a tad worried.
“I’ve always been very good about getting back fairly quickly. I obviously got a strained calf, I trained [Monday] and today and now I’m ready to go,” said Keane. “You have to be careful with anything that is kind of strained, the doctors said a couple of weeks and it’s been 10 days so I’ve been back. I was expecting a bit worse to be honest with you. Full credit to the physios here and the doctors in Ireland, they did everything to get me back as quick as possible and that’s the case.”
“In your head, you always believe you're going to be ready, but until you actually do some running. I came in Sunday myself to do some stuff with the physio and did some running on the field,” Keane added. “Once I got through that running, I knew I was going to be ready for this game. But in the back of my mind, I kind of thought I was going to be ready [all along]. But you never know.”
Keane will likely get the start against Los Rayados, but who he starts alongside remains a question as Jose Villarreal, Jack McBean, Mike Magee, and even Landon Donovan are options to play with the Irishman. Regardless of who starts alongside Keane, his potential strike partners are eager to have him back on the pitch.
“He's our leader on the field, and we've got our goal scorer back,” said Villarreal, who scored a goal against TFC in Keane’s absence. “It's good to have him back. Just happy he's back and Landon's back, so we're adding more strength to our team.”
Keane’s teammates may be glowing in their compliments, but the Irishman was quite impressed with the way that LA handled his absence going 1-0-1 in the two games that he missed.
“It’s been good. They’ve done very, very well,” said Keane. “It’s very important when players like myself and Omar [Gonzalez] go away on international duty that there are people that can come in and help the team out.”
The Galaxy will need all the help that they can get come Wednesday as they take on a Monterrey side that has won two consecutive CONCACAF Champions League titles. For the Galaxy to put themselves in a prime position heading into the second leg at Estadio Tecnológico, a positive result at The Home Depot Center is mandatory.
Although the Galaxy will have a tough opponent in Monterrey, the bullish Galaxy captain believes that LA can go toe-to-toe with their Mexican opponents.
“Like every game that we go into, we go in to win,” Keane said. “Listen, don’t think for one second we think they're better than we are. Look at the team we have; we're as good as anybody. We'll give anybody a game. We’re playing at home and certainly we want to win our home games.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com