Robbie Keane has been the most important part of the LA Galaxy’s success for two-plus seasons, but after his team’s 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake on Saturday night in Carson, the Republic of Ireland international gets to shoulder a large portion of the blame. With two clear chances in the first half, the two-time Best XI striker couldn’t deliver an opener, and with a chance to equalize from the spot in second half stoppage time, Keane cost his team a point when he couldn’t beat Nick Rimando.
Over the course of the 2014, Keane is going to win far more points than he gives away. One Saturday night, however, his season got off on the wrong foot.
In the 19th minute, a square ball from Landon Donovan from the left of the RSL penalty area found Keane at the far post. As Rimando tried to get back past across goal, Keane’s left-footed shot flew into the crowd, leaving the game scoreless.
Fifteen minutes later, a poor clearance from Rimando eventually led to to a chance for Keane just inside the penalty. With Rimando stranded in the middle of goal, Keane had both sides to choose from before putting his shot off the right post.
The coup de grace came in the 92nd minute, after Galaxy debutant Rob Friend drew a penalty on Tony Beltran, sending Keane to the spot. Moments later, on a knee-high shot too far inside Rimando’s right post, the Galaxy’s last chance to pull even was denied, with Keane’s third big miss relegating his team to a season-opening loss.
There are only a few players in the league whose bad nights warrant this kind of attention, but that’s the rarified air the league’s best forward occupies. When Keane misses three easy chances (and any of those chance could have earned his team a point), it’s going to be a topic of discussion.
He may not be the most clinical striker in Major League Soccer, but Keane is one of the more prolific, making it all the more remarkable when three easy chances can’t yield at least one goal. It’s going to be a long time before we see another performance like this out of the Galaxy star.