CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Keane’s fallow stretch the past month and half or so has, not coincidentally, mirrored the LA Galaxy’s recent offensive struggles.
When he broke out of his slump with a sizzling goal early in Wednesday night’s clash with the New England Revolution, it triggered something in LA’s psyche, and the goals came flowing. They scored five in all, their biggest output since last October.
The Galaxy had scored multiple goals in just one of five league encounters since a 4-1 rout of Philadelphia on May 25, when Keane last tallied. But everything fell into place this time as the DP striker netted two goals and set up two fine strikes by Gyasi Zardes, his partner up front, as LA romped to a 5-1 victory at StubHub Center.
"Sometimes when you see opportunities, sometimes they’re half-opportunities," Keane said after scoring his eighth and ninth goals of the season. "When you see opportunities tonight, most of them are really on-goal opportunities, where you have a chance to score. We’ve certainly created a few chances that we probably should have scored [in recent matches], but I think tonight was the old Galaxy, where we were creating clear-cut chances for people, and that was the difference."
Keane was doing a lot of the creating, and said he felt "really, really sharp tonight."
"I had the freedom to play, to get on the ball, drop off, make things happen -- what I’ve been doing since I came here," he said. "Always nice to play that way. That’s the way I enjoy playing."
He ended his scoring skid in the 10th minute, taking a pass on the left flank, cutting in, and unleashing a shot to the upper-right corner. It was as nice a goal as he’s scored this year, and his first in some seven-and-a-half weeks.
"I didn’t even know that," he said. "That shows I was really worried about that. ... I couldn’t care less."
His teammates care, and they say he does, too.
"We were all real happy for him," Landon Donovan said. "We know it wears on him when he doesn’t score, and he’s scored so many goals in his life, when he’s not scoring, it’s tough. He’s been doing a lot of good things the past few games, he’s done a lot of things to help us win, and tonight it was good to see him get rewarded, and he deserves that."
Keane set up Zardes with a simple pass in the 18th minute to make it 2-0, then fed the second-year forward a perfect ball into New England’s goalmouth to make it 3-1 three minutes into the second half. The Irishman scored the fifth goal in the 78th minute, hitting an open net after a Revs turnover in front of their box.
"He’s picked it up over the last two or three weeks," head coach Bruce Arena said. "Robbie’s going to score goals. Strikers at times get in a little bit of a slump, or they’ll go scoreless for a while, but there’s never a doubt in our minds that Robbie will produce goals for us, whether it’s directly from him or assisting.
"We know he’s going to be in and around the goal and be dangerous. It was just a matter of time before he hit the back of the net again."