CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy now have one Designated Player in camp – with another to arrive soon, it is believed, and another off to France (and no word on his replacement) – and Robbie Keane was happy to jump right into action first chance he got.
He played the first 45 minutes in the Galaxy's 5-0 victory Friday over the US Under-17 national team in their first preseason scrimmage, scoring the second goal from the penalty spot as 10 days of work with Tottenham Hotspur served him well.
“What you get paid to do is play football, so might as well get straight into it and get into the mix,” the Irish striker said afterward. “That's where you're going to get your fitness and your match sharpness, and running [laps] around the pitch for 20 minutes is boring, so I like to be out there playing.”
Keane arrived Wednesday night in Los Angeles and ran for 20 minutes after completing his physical Thursday. The time in London with his former club helped – “It was nice and intense for me, which was quite good after having six weeks off” after the MLS Cup title-game triumph, he noted – but there's still much to be done before the season kicks off March 3 against Chicago.
“He's going to need some work, obviously,” Galaxy manager Bruce Arena said. “I think Robbie would probably admit he needs some time. So the next three weeks are going to be important for him.”
Keane, who signed a two-year contract extension last month because, “I'm quite happy here,” isn't used to so much time away from the field – three or four weeks is the norm in England. He said it helped him get over “a few little niggles. The Achilles I had, which is still a little tender. I needed rest to be 100 percent. It feels OK, so hopefully that will stand me in good stead the rest of the season.”
Keane looked relatively sharp against the U-17s, and rookie Gyasi Zardes, who started on the right flank before moving to his customary spot up top for the final 10 minutes of the first half, treasured his time with Keane.
“Robbie and Sean [Franklin] were coaching me throughout the game, and I definitely loved that ...,” Zardes said. “[Keane is] so crafty, you really have to read him. Starting to build that chemistry with him, it's just an honor. He was tricking me – he did a no-look flick straight to me. Now I just have to always know the ball is expected to come to me when he has the ball at his feet.”
No date has been set for Landon Donovan's arrival in camp – Keane, asked what he thought about the Galaxy captain's decision to return, was to the point: “Well, I think we knew that, but he's not back now” – and was pleased to see former DP David Beckham sign on with Paris Saint-Germain, with his salary going to charity.
“I spoke to him yesterday,” Keane said. “He says he's in a very charitable mood, so I asked him for his Rolls Royce. He said no. ... I'm delighted for him. I'm sure he'll do well there. They're a great team, and it looks like they'll be successful for a long, long time, and it'll be good for him to be part of it.”