PORTLAND, Ore. — When last night’s match at JELD-WEN Field paused in the 79th minute, a brief murmur went through the crowd. It was unclear why the game’d stopped. I quick check of the sidelines showed no ball had been thrown on the field, and none of the game’s 22 players were on the ground.
Then Galaxy star Robbie Keane, walking so slowly you couldn’t tell if he was repositioning himself or making his way to the sidelines, starting approaching the Galaxy bench, his left hand prodding an area above his left hip. Somewhere along the way to their 2-1 loss in Portland, Los Angeles had lost their best player, who didn’t have an explanation as to what exactly was wrong.
“I don’t know,” Keane said when asked about his injury after the match. “I’ll have to get it scanned. It’s definitely a pull, or something like that.
“I tried to take off, and I just couldn’t run. I’ll get a scan, maybe tomorrow, and we’ll see how it goes.”
Modern therapy being what it is, you can’t buy into too many assumptions about a player’s condition. But “I just couldn’t run” doesn’t sound like something that will be cured with a good night’s rest.
LA’s upcoming schedule isn’t particularly challenging, should Keane have to miss time. The Galaxy only have three games in the next four weeks. In fact, their next mid-week league match isn’t until mid-October. Games with Vancouver and at Colorado over the next two weeks will be challenging, but they’re are not headlining, battle of giants-type matchups in the near future.
That softens the potential blow of Keane’s absence, but if he misses time, LA will be without somebody who is as important to his attack as any player in Major League Soccer. Without the distribution of David Beckham in the middle, and with Landon Donovan’s presence having been inconsistent throughout the year, LA’s attack moves through Keane, who is second in the league in assists.
Without him, and with Donovan at the Gold Cup, Bruce Arena will need to find a new focal point. Without an obvious candidate to fill those shoes, Los Angeles will have more reason than usual to hope a player’s injury isn’t as bad as originally thought.