CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan each have duties beyond the day-to-day grind of the LA Galaxy, and each will have different obligations to tend to after Saturday’s match against Chivas USA (10:30 pm ET, ESPN2, LIVE CHAT on MLSsoccer.com).
But both international standouts insist they are focused on the SuperClásico and helping the Galaxy snap a four-game winless streak.
“You have to take it as a normal game,” said Keane, who will travel to Ireland on Sunday to start preparations for the European Championship. “It’s a good game against your rival, so I’m sure everyone’s looking forward to it. You have to approach every game with the same mentality. I certainly approach every game with the same mentality.”
As captain of the Irish national team, Keane will turn his attention to Euro 2012 after trying to lead the Galaxy to victory over their in-stadium rivals. Keane had a hectic travel schedule last year trying to help Ireland qualify and, while that paid off in the form of a Euro appearance, his time with the Galaxy was cut shorter than most in LA would have liked.
Donovan, meanwhile, is likely to get called in to the US national team as they prepare for World Cup qualifying. While he said it was not yet a given that he would depart after Saturday’s match, he said it appeared to be the case.
“Fairly likely,” Donovan told reporters. “I don’t know for sure … but it could be for a long time. I want to go out the right way if that’s the case.”
For Donovan and the Galaxy, that right way would be with a triumph over Chivas USA. The rivalry has been one-sided in the Galaxy’s favor – Chivas’ last win over LA came in 2007. Still, both teams have had their share of setbacks and frustration in 2012.
“Obviously it’s a little different than in years past because we’re both struggling,” Donovan said. “But there’s probably added meaning in that way because we both need the points.”
Donovan has just twice under US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the last match coming at The Home Depot Center in September. Now, he will likely have to sacrifice some time with the Galaxy in order to help the US prepare for 2014 World Cup qualification.
While he, too, could miss out on upcoming matches against San Jose (May 23) and Houston (May 26), his time away from MLS games figures to be shorter than other years. After the May 26 match against the Dynamo, the Galaxy won’t play a league match until June 17.
“The league did a really good job of doing that and later in the year, too, they’re taking maybe a little break during qualifying,” Donovan said. “It’s nice because it’s frustrating to miss games with our teams. It’s not perfect yet, but they’re taking steps to alleviate that.”
Luis Bueno covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org