CARSON, Calif. – When LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane left Ireland’s camp to have his right knee surgically repaired at the end of March, the prognosis was a four- to six-week rehab. After missing the month of April, he looks to be ready to make his return this Sunday against the New England Revolution (3:30 pm ET, ESPN) slightly ahead of schedule.
In Keane’s absence, the Galaxy have veered away from their prototypical 4-4-2 formation. Head coach Bruce Arena has come out with a 4-2-3-1, where Gyasi Zardes plays up top as the lone forward and Giovani Dos Santos creates underneath. When it has worked, it produced four- and five-goal results, although Sporting Kansas City appeared to have some answers for it last weekend in a 1-1 draw.
The time away has given Keane the perspective to ponder the team’s run in his absence.
“We’ve done okay," he said. "We certainly wouldn’t say we’re hitting the ground running, but we’re definitely thereabouts once we get back everybody playing again.
“The lads have done a good job the last four weeks.”
Before leaving for international duty, Keane had scored twice in three games for the Galaxy. Zardes’ four goals are split evenly between his starts at forward and his starts at midfield, while all four of dos Santos’ goals since returning from injury have come as an attacking midfielder underneath the forward.
Keane was sure he will be ready to go on Sunday, even saying he felt ready last Sunday but the risks of swelling during travel kept him out. Arena was more cagey about Keane’s slotting back into the squad, simply saying “we’ll see”.
The mostly likely scenario should Keane start would be replacing Zardes up and having the US international head back to the wing.
The recent great form shown by Dos Santos was not lost on Keane.
“We know how good Gio is, and the goals he’s scored as well that’s him you know. He’s scored some spectacular goals, both of the chips. He’s been leading the line very, very well so it’s important now that he continues to do that.”