CARSON, Calif. – When the LA Galaxy needed him most, Robbie Keane stepped up and showed why he is one of the best players in MLS.
Keane notched the second hat trick of his MLS career, both of which came this season, to lead the Galaxy to a 4-2 victory over Western Conference leading Real Salt Lake. After RSL went up early in the second half on a finish by Joao Plata, the Irish forward kicked it up a notch to lead the Galaxy’s rally.
He broke through first in the 56th minute when he evened the score, slipping past Carlos Salcedo before cutting back to his right foot and firing a shot to the inside of the right post. A few minutes later, the Irishman put LA up for good when he scored his finest goal of the night, a volley off a cross from Sean Franklin, in the 67th minute.
Keane completed his hat trick in the 86th minute, once again from Franklin, who sent a pass over the Salt Lake back four, which the Irishman lifted over Rimando into the back of the net. With the three goals, the 31-year-old forward now has 10 goals on the season for LA, making him just the fourth player in club history with consecutive seasons of 10 or more goals.
The three-goal performance wasn’t what was truly important for Keane, who believes that with the comeback, LA showed some much needed fortitude heading into the stretch run.
“It’s always nice to score goals but the most important thing is the three points,” said Keane. “And after going a goal behind we showed a lot of character to come back and get four goals in the end because you have to win the game.
“I think our first goal came at a good time, it wasn’t too long after their goal. And then again just the momentum, the second half the goals just kept coming,” Keane added.
What led to such a deluge from the Irishman? In the first half, the game was a frantic affair with both sides trading chances at will, but in the second stanza, LA began to dominate play after Plata’s early strike.
“The game slowed down a little bit and I think it helped bring Robbie into the game. Robbie was a little off in his touch in the first half, but I think despite the fact we went down a goal, our players played with confidence,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “They [even] passed better, for whatever reason the first half our passing was a little bit sloppy, so I think the second half we continued to show energy, and our passing was better.”
With crisper passing, Keane and the Galaxy were able to get forward and create havoc in the final third. The statistics backed up Arena’s claim, particularly, in the final third as LA completed 107 of their 148 passes in the attacking half for an accuracy of 72 percent.
Keane’s passing was just as crisp as he completed 22 of 25 passes on the night—two of which led directly to Galaxy scoring opportunities.
After another stellar night for Keane, the Galaxy admit that they’re just simply happy that the Irishman is on their side.
“We love that he’s on our team and we don’t have to play against him,” said defender Omar Gonzalez with a smile.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com