LOS ANGELES — Not only did the LA Galaxy score a win over 29-time Serie A champion Juventus on Saturday evening, but they welcomed their captain Robbie Keane back from a three-week injury layoff.
Keane came on at halftime and set up the eventual game-winner for Landon Donovan before adding a goal of his own late as the Galaxy defeated the Italian giants in front of 40,681 at Dodger Stadium. The 45 minute appearance was Keane’s first since suffering a left hip flexor strain during LA’s 2-1 defeat to the Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field on June 13.
The Irish forward returned to the practice field late last week, but against the Italians, he was dynamic as he helped set up the game-winning-goal by Landon Donovan and then added a goal of his own in the 89th minute.
“For me, it was about 45 minutes and getting my fitness right. I wanted to be sharp for the most important game, which is next Sunday against FC Dallas,” said Keane, who added that he felt 100 percent fine after the game. “These are games that we have to play and they come at a good time for me because I’ve been injured for a couple of weeks, so it was good to get 45 minutes and play some more minutes on Wednesday.”
Keane had been slated to return to the field during the Galaxy’s match in Miami next week, but Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena and the club’s training staff opted to give the Irish forward minutes on Saturday.
“Robbie played well. He’s been out three weeks and our plan all along was to give him some minutes,” said Arena. “We thought about giving him 30 minutes tonight, but gave him the start in the second half. If he had to come out then we would have taken him out. I was pleased that he was able to get 45 minutes.”
The Irish forward's return from his injury was only one of three additions that the Galaxy had to their lineup, as Omar Gonzalez and Donovan both returned from international and MLS All-Star duty. Both players tallied a goal, but Donovan seemed to be rejuvenated as he got the start up front, playing alongside Jose Villarreal and then Keane, something that has not been a common occurrence for the Galaxy this season.
Although the Galaxy picked up a result against one of Europe’s finest clubs on Saturday at Dodger Stadium, in the end, it will be the return of their full squad that remains the most important take away for LA.
“Getting Robbie, myself, Omar back in the mix, and having a majority of our starting group together helped a lot,” said Donovan. “We have some pretty good players and we feel like we’re a team that can do special things when we have our full group together.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com