Keane

Robbie Keane status uncertain after Saturday injury

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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.

Two more years: Keane confirms contract extension with LA Galaxy

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A skeptic that points to Robbie Keane’s age as reason to be wary of re-signing the Ireland international must not have watched enough Galaxy games last season. With 16 goals in 28 games (and an even stronger showing in the playoffs), Keane put in a MLS Best XI season, with many lauding him as the league’s best player after his return from the summer’s European Championships.

That’s why, even at 32 years old with one year remaining on his previous Galaxy deal, Keane’s contract extension is more likely to be a point of applause than concern, especially with David Beckham’s silhouette shrinking in the sunset (and Landon Donovan threatening to follow).

Yesterday on Sky Sports, Keane confirmed his new deal, saying the extension had been offered at the end of the season, and as of two days ago, he’s signed it.

“I had another year left and they offered me a new contract at the end of last season so I’ve just signed a new two-year contract two days ago.”

Obviously, this is good news for Galaxy and fans, though Keane’s age shouldn’t be completely discounted. By the end of this deal, he’ll be five months past his 35th birthday. There’s room for Keane to regress a little and still be worth his Designated Player slot, but there’s also the possibility Keane will have to start making adjustments as he enters the last phase of his career. How effective he is at accounting for those additional years will dictate whether the final season of this extension proves worth it.

Regardless, this deal was a must for the Galaxy. With only one year left on Keane’s deal, now was the time to re-up. Even with the risk, two years is the perfect length.

Keane also downplayed the likelihood he’ll be playing elsewhere this winter, saying fitness and a long year make rest a priority:

“It’s been a long season, with the Euros and what have you so I’ve a few little niggles that need to be sorted out so I don’t think at this moment in time it would be right for me to go anywhere.”

Again, this is good news for Los Angeles. With Donovan still not guaranteed to be with the team at the beginning of training camp. having an attacking focal point in the team from day one should help the Galaxy as they try to avoid last year’s slow start.