Carson, CA – Robbie Keane returned to the LA Galaxy’s starting lineup after missing five games with a knee injury and promptly scored 2 goals in a 4-2 victory over visiting New England on Sunday at StubHub Center. Both of Keane’s goals were assisted by Gyasi Zardes and both of them ended with tap-ins, but they were still a good step for the LA Galaxy’s captain and his team.
Keane was active for the 60 minutes he played. And he combined wonderfully with Giovani dos Santos and Gyasi Zardes in the first real test of an attacking lineup that saw some changes. For the first time this year a pairing of Dos Santos and Keane looked dangerous and free flowing. Helped out in large part by a stellar performance from Zardes.
It was Gyasi Zardes who stretched New England vertically in the opening 45 minutes, and it was Gyasi Zardes who found Keane in the 13th minute at the far post, completely unmarked. It was a left footed shot but it was the play and pass of Zardes that left Keane a high percentage chance.
Keane would score again, in a similar fashion, in stoppage time of the first half. Dos Santos fed the ball to Zardes on the left side of the box. Zardes took one step forward and fired another low, hard cross that again found Robbie Keane on the back post for an easy goal.
“It was a good result for us. The first half was obviously very, very good. We got three goals and we looked very comfortable. Naturally, in games, you’re going to get teams that are going to maybe push on a little bit and that was the case in the second half. We managed to hold on and with [Steven Gerrard’s] goal, obviously he eased the nerves of everyone in the stadium.” Robbie Keane, LA Galaxy Captain
However, the goal of the night was sandwiched between both of Robbie Keane’s goals in the 24th minute. Giovani dos Santos, on a rebound from an Emmanuel Boateng failed cross hit a full volley from the top of the box and rifled a shot past Bobby Shuttleworth.
“I just tried to shoot, and I think it was a good goal. I don’t care about a goal – I know everyone is talking about the goal – but the good thing is that the performance today was good. We took the three points and are looking forward to the next game.” Giovani dos Santos, LA Galaxy Striker
With 21,237 people in attendance, on Mother’s Day, the crowd came alive. The sound inside of StubHub Center was almost of disbelief as the ball slashed into the back of the net. The only thing louder than the noise from the crowd on that play was the noise from the crowd on the replay. It was soccer appreciation at it’s finest.
And with three goals in the first half, this game should’ve been over. But it wasn’t. And it was the last 20 minutes of the game that would see some of the most disconnected and ugly defense the LA Galaxy have shown all year.
The first goal for New England came in the 67th minute from Kelyn Rowe. Given plenty of time and space just outside the box he launched a left footed ball that beat Brian Rowe as soon as it left his foot. Jeff Larentowicz and the rest of the defense simply didn’t close him down. It was a beautiful goal, but came against a lackadaisical defense.
Then just three minutes later, with the LA Galaxy struggling to maintain any type of possession, it was Juan Agudelo’s turn to rifle a shot into the back of the net. Agudelo volleyed home a header that was part of a failed clearance out of the Galaxy’s box. It was another pure finish and a goal that saw the Revs within one goal.
“I’m still waiting. I’m not smart enough yet. I need more time than that. Excuse my language; it was a bit of a sh*t show in the second half for a good 20 minutes or so. That wasn’t good.” Bruce Arena, LA Galaxy Head Coach
The only thing that stood between New England and tying or winning this game was a crossbar and a 77th minute injury to José Gonçalves. The Revs were out of subs and with his injury were forced to play the remainder of the game down a man. This allowed LA to regain some possession and for Mike Magee and Steven Gerrard to pair up for a final LA Galaxy Goal in stoppage time. And it was nifty footwork from Gerrard that finally allowed the StubHub Center to calm down.
“I was thinking, ‘Is this all my fault?’ It didn’t go well, the 30 minutes when I came on they came back into the game. They were showing an awful amount of more energy than us at the time. It was nice at the end to finish the game off and a good three points for us in the end.” Steven Gerrard, LA Galaxy Midfielder
The LA Galaxy are now unbeaten in 7 games and sit in second place in both the Western Conference and the Supporters shield standings, just two points behind the Colorado Rapids. Both LA and Colorado will be part of 5 midweek games as the LA Galaxy will travel to play Philadelphia on Wednesday night at PPL Park in Pennsylvania to take on the Union.
With travel and injuries it will be interesting to see who goes to the midweek game in Philadelphia, but one person thinks he’s a lock to be on that plane, and on that field. “I expect to be playing,” Keane quipped. “I’m back.” The essential, “mic drop” of Captain Robbie Keane.
LA – Robbie Keane (Assisted by Gyasi Zardes) 13’
LA – Giovani dos Santos 24’
LA – Robbie Keane (Assisted by Gyasi Zardes, Giovani dos Santos) 45’+1’
NE – Kelyn Rowe (Assisted by Gershon Koffie) 67’
NE – Juan Agudelo (Assisted by Femi Hollinger-Janzen) 70’
LA – Steven Gerrard (Assisted by Mike Magee) 90’+3’