CARSON, Calif. – In his first three games of the year, Robbie Keane has done everything that has been asked of him, gotten into dangerous scoring positions and, for one reason or another, just wasn't able to score his first goal of the season.
But on Sunday, Keane got his break and scored two goals to lift the LA Galaxy to their first regular season victory of 2012 with a 3-1 win over D.C. United at the Home Depot Center.
After crashing out of the CONCACAF Champions League at the hands of Toronto FC last Wednesday, head coach Bruce Arena even admitted that Keane had “lost a little confidence.” Following a stellar performance against D.C., it looks like the Keane of old is back.
Full Highlights: LA 3, DC 1
“I think the first half looked a mirror image of our previous games, where we controlled the game, had the run of play, created the chances and had nothing to show for it," Arena said after the match. "Therefore, Robbie’s goal at the end of the half was important for our team and important for Robbie. You saw it in the second half, that was a player playing with a lot of confidence and he played quite well.”
While Keane’s confidence appeared to return after the first of his two goals, one thing was still missing: his trademark somersault celebration.
“I was just pissed off ... at me self,” Keane, who had been frustrated by all the chances he's missed over the last couple of weeks, said when asked by reporters why he celebrated his first goal in a subdued fashion.
But in the 69th minute, Keane’s celebration – like the player – made a triumphant return after he fired a laser from 16 yards out past the outstretched foot of defender Brandon McDonald and a diving Joe Willis to seal his first brace in MLS.
Although the past two weeks have been difficult for the Irishman, Keane knew that eventually he’d get back on track.
“I don’t mind missing chances; I mind when I’m not in the position to score them,” said Keane. "As long as I keep getting in the positions to score them, then I know that I’ll eventually score. You try not to let it weigh on your mind too much, but football can take you over. That was probably a little bit of the case, but I knew that as long as I kept plugging away and getting into positions, I knew that I’d score.”
Fresh off his two goal performance against D.C., Keane and the rest of the Galaxy will have two weeks to regroup before hosting the New England Revolution on March 31. For the striker, who had been on loan with EPL side Aston Villa until only two weeks ago, the break will be his real chance to develop chemistry with Edson Buddle.
While Keane acknowledged that the team needed the break after a taxing two weeks, he hopes that it in no way slows down his hot streak.
“As a striker, when you’re scoring, you want to keep playing,” admitted Keane with a chuckle. “But of course, we look forward to the break. You don’t normally get to many opportunities to have a break. I’m sure we’ll get a good bit of training in the next few weeks and hopefully you’ll see an even stronger team over the next couple of weeks.”
Adam Serrano writes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.