Donovan, Keane back in training, could return vs. NY
CARSON, Calif. – Two of the LA Galaxy’s biggest question marks at the start of the week have started providing answers as the playoff opener nears for the league’s Supporters’ Shield winners.
Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan trained with the full squad on Thursday as the Galaxy put the finishing touches on their home-based training sessions ahead of Sunday’s Western Conference Semifinal first-leg match at New York (3 pm ET, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes).
Keane, who declined to speak to the media after training, participated in his first full training session on Wednesday after not having taken part in training due to injury and international duty for more than three weeks.
Teammates said the Irish striker showed a lot in a short amount of time.
“Players like Robbie really don’t lose their touch when they come back on the field,” Galaxy forward Chad Barrett said. “They get their fitness back and their touch is always there, which is nice.”
Barrett and Keane could potentially see time together, although Galaxy coach Bruce Arena has also used Adam Cristman and Paolo Cardozo up top in recent matches. Keane has not played 90 minutes since a Euro 2012 qualifier with the Republic of Ireland on Oct. 8, in which he picked up an adductor injury.
He looks ready to return to full action, but in what capacity remains to be seen.
“He fits right back in,” Barrett said. “Whatever role he gets slid into, he’s going to do great. He’s good at holding the ball, good at connecting, good at getting in the box and a good finisher. It’s a great asset to have back and everyone welcomes it.”
Keane could essentially get tossed into the fray with limited preparation time but such was the case when he first joined the club.
“He came in the first 20 minutes he was here and he scored a great goal,” Barrett said. “I fully expect him to be able to do the same thing, coming in and the first 20 minutes he’s back, score a goal. He’s that kind of player.”
Meanwhile, Donovan is seemingly further along. Donovan played 30 minutes in a match at Motagua on Oct. 20 and, while he has not played a league game since Oct. 1, he said this bit of a removal from training has been both a positive and negative experience.
“I feel great, actually,” Donovan said on Thursday. “My body feels as good as it has since probably the first day of preseason sometimes these things are a blessing in disguise. As painful as it is to have to watch, I’m eager to play, my fitness is good and hopefully I’ll be able to play a part on Sunday.”
Not being part of the action has him primed for Sunday, perhaps more than he would have been otherwise.
“Now having gone three weeks without playing a game,” Donovan said, “this is about as excited as I’ve been for a soccer game.”
Luis Bueno covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @RunnerLuis