CARSON, Calif. – Now that the 2014 season is over and the LA Galaxy are once again champions of MLS, LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano will look back on the season with his review on each position. Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes will each have their own review.
The LA Galaxy Insider Year in Review will begin with goalkeepers and then move up the field to defenders, midfielders, forwards, and finally, coaches.
APPPEARANCES IN ALL OFFICIAL COMPETITIONS:
- GP: 37 (29 in MLS regular season, five in MLS Cup Playoffs, two in CONCACAF Champions League, and one in U.S. Open Cup)
- GS: 36 (28 in MLS regular season, five in MLS Cup Playoffs, two in CONCACAF Champions League, and one in U.S. Open Cup)
- G: 23 (19 in MLS regular season, two in MLS Cup Playoffs and two in CONCACAF Champions League)
- A: 18 (14 in MLS regular season, three in MLS Cup Playoffs and one in CONCACAF Champions League)
Heading into the 2014 season, Robbie Keane was Major League Soccer’s worst kept secret. The Irishman had put up gaudy numbers for the LA Galaxy since arriving stateside in August 2011, but had never really earned much recognition for the league as a whole. In 2014, everything changed
Keane was at his absolute best as he led the Galaxy to a record fifth MLS Cup title with his best statistical season in more than a decade. The 34-year-old Irishman recorded MLS career highs in 2014 in both goals and assists as he ended the season with 19 goals and 14 assists. Keane’s scoring rate gave the Galaxy captain the highest total combination of goals and assists of any player in a single season in club history. Keane’s statistical success once again placed him in the thick of the MLS MVP race for a third straight year, but unlike past years, the Irishman was voted by his peers and the media as the league’s top player in 2014.
After lifting the Galaxy all season, Keane kept his production going into the offseason as he tallied two goals while notching three assists during LA’s run to the MLS Cup title. But Keane saved his last bit of magic for the final when he scored deep into extra-time to give the Galaxy a 2-1 victory over the New England Revolution. For his championship-winning goal, Keane earned another bit of recognition, this time in the form of the MLS Cup MVP trophy.
Clearly at the height of his powers, Robbie Keane put forth what will be remembered as a near perfect season for the LA Galaxy, but there were several games in that campaign where the club will have wanted more from their Irish captain.
In a season jam-packed with clutch moments, Keane and the Galaxy came up short in their U.S. Open Cup fourth round match against the Carolina RailHawks. Despite bringing a full strength squad to North Carolina, Keane and the Galaxy were unable to get past the NASL side that has eliminated the Galaxy from the competition for three consecutive years. On a hot and humid evening in Cary, Keane was silent as the RailHawks advanced in the tournament thanks an extra-time goal.
After a mercurial run during the summer, Keane and LA’s attack were unable to capitalize on opportunities in their penultimate regular season game against Seattle Sounders FC. In their first match at StubHub Center, the Galaxy saw a two goal lead evaporate as they earned a 2-2 draw. After being unable to find the back of the net in the first match, Keane was rendered a spectator in the final match of the season as the LA attack went silent and Seattle lifted the Supporters’ Shield with a 2-0 victory over the Galaxy.
Robbie Keane enjoyed the finest season of his storied career in 2014, but with the LA Galaxy in a state of transition after the retirement of Landon Donovan, LA will once more lean on their Irish captain heading into the 2015 season.
After such a successful 2014 campaign, the Galaxy will need Keane to be at the top of his game if the team is going to retain the MLS Cup. If 34-year-old Keane is able to avoid injury and produce like he did last season, the Galaxy will again complete for an MLS Cup title. As good as Keane was in 2014, he may have an opportunity to pad his numbers further once his former Liverpool FC teammate Steven Gerrard joins the club in July.
In addition to his own production, Keane will look to further develop his partnership with the emerging Gyasi Zardes. As Zardes blossomed into a legitimate scoring threat last season, Keane was there to push the youngster along, and one can only expect him to continue to provide guidance for the 23-year-old heading into next season. If Keane continues to help Zardes mature as a forward, it will only add another wrinkle of dynamism in the Galaxy attack.
In addition to helping to helping the Galaxy repeat as MLS Cup champions, Keane will look to lift the Republic of Ireland to their second consecutive berth in the European Championships. For the Republic of Ireland to qualify for just their second international tournament in more than 20 years, they’ll need more production from their captain who has struggled offensively after being used as a lone striker in manager Martin O’Neill’s system.