CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane will make his preseason debut on Wednesday in a closed-door scrimmage as he looks to complete his recovery from offseason Achilles surgery.
The 33-year-old Galaxy captain underwent surgery on both of his Achilles just days after the conclusion of the team’s 2013 campaign to correct issues that had plagued him since 2012 MLS Cup Final. The recovery process has been a gradual one for the Irishman as Keane resumed training late last week with the first team and LA Galaxy II after being reduced to light ball work and jogging since the start of the preseason.
With the team heading into the final two weeks of preseason, and just two matches remaining before the season opener against Real Salt Lake on March 8, head coach Bruce Arena felt that his captain was ready to return to action.
“He’s getting there. He’s going to need some time, but it is important that we start getting him some minutes in the coming weeks. We’re hopeful that he’ll be ready for the opening game,” said Arena who revealed that he expects Keane to earn playing time in Wednesday’s closed-door scrimmage against UCLA. “It’s a long season; we need him at his best at the end of the year. Last year, he wasn’t able to be his best because of some injury problems. Hopefully, we have him positioned to have an even better year than last year.”
A completely healthy Keane will only aid the revamped Galaxy attack after the Irishman tallied 16 goals and 11 assists in league play, finishing second in the 2013 MLS Most Valuable Player voting despite being hobbled by injuries throughout the season.
Although Keane has been antsy to battle through the injuries like he did a year ago, the Galaxy captain knows that his measured approach this preseason will only help him when the season kicks off.
“It’s been a good week of training so far. I look forward to playing my first game [on Wednesday],” Keane told LAGalaxy.com. “I’ve had to be clever and stay on the recovery program that I was on, and I think that by doing that I’ll be stronger as the season goes on.”
Finally rounding into full health without the injury worries that plagued him throughout last season, Keane is eager to get going.
“I feel 100 times better,” said Keane. “Just to wake up, walk properly and to start practice without any pain or taking 40 minutes to really get going, it feels unbelievable.”