The LA Galaxy roster is getting a spruce-up at the very best time. Not only does Landon Donovan figure to be available for minutes tonight against Monterrey, striker Robbie Keane has been pronounced fit.
The Ireland international probably won’t be 100 percent as the teams open their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal series tonight at the Home Depot Center. Tonight’s match from outside Los Angeles kicks off at 9 p.m. ET (Fox Soccer Channel, Galavision).
LA’s captain and top marksman is battling through a calf injury collected two weeks ago against Sweden in a World Cup qualifier. But he did train Monday and Tuesday and says he’s available.
In your head, you always believe you’re going to be ready. But until you actually do some running. I came in Sunday myself to do some stuff with the physio and did some running on the field. Once I got through that running, I knew I was going to be ready for this game. But in the back of my mind, I kind of thought I was going to be ready [all along]. But you never know.”
Keane’s availability does a lot for Bruce Arena’s team, even if he isn’t full speed. Speed was never the primary ingredient in his game. Rather, it’s his wits, his timing and his movement off the ball (not to mention his opportunism and instincts near goal) that make Keane such an impactful offensive weapon.
In combination with Donovan’s intelligence and handy burst of speed (at 30, even when nowhere near fully fit, the man still has wheels) and you get a Keane multiplier effect.
It does pose something of a quandary for Arena. Presumably, Keane would start and Donovan would come off the bench. That sharply decreases the likelihood that LA’s two Designated Players would find themselves on the field at the same time.
So, that’s a problem to be solved. Then again, that’s why Arena is Arena … because he’s good at sorting out these things.
One more small point to consider here: Given Donovan’s historical ability to retain fitness at high levels, don’t be shocked if he’s in the starting lineup tonight. Only problem: it would be a gamble, since neither he nor Keane are likely to last 90 minutes, which means Arena starts the match with the understanding that he’ll essentially just have one sub for tactical adjustment or injury.
While you ponder all that, here’s a good look from LA Galaxy Confidential on how Donovan’s return shakes up the depth chart around the Home Depot Center.