The Republic of Ireland is advancing to the 2012 European Championships. With two goals in the first leg, captain Robbie Keane proudly helped lead his team to a long-awaited championship berth.
Now, Keane is expected back in Los Angeles to prepare for the MLS Cup.
In the first leg against Estonia, Keane scored two goals in Ireland's 4-0 victory. Although Bruce Arena was hoping to get the Irish Captain back early for the Galaxy, Keane decided to stay with his country. While Arena agreed Robbie should "be there for Ireland," the Galaxy coach still hoped his striker would see limited playing time.
I wouldn't call 67 minutes limited, but at least Keane wasn't reported injured in the final leg of the series. In the second leg, Keane had several near misses for another goal. In the end, Ireland came to a draw with Estonia. Yet, the 5-1 aggregate victory was more than enough for the Republic to advance.
Considering Keane missed almost a month of playing time while out with an adductor injury in October, Galaxy fans are happy to have him back for the final game of the postseason. After hitting the woodwork several times in the playoffs, Keane finally netted a goal in the Western Conference Championship against Real Salt Lake on Nov. 6.
Since Oct. 30, Keane has played in three MLS playoff games and two Euro games. While some players may suffer from fatigue with international travel, Keane will probably be okay. For example, after traveling to Los Angeles for his MLS debut, he made a goal against the San Jose Earthquakes just two nights later.
When Chad Barrett injured his ankle, I was concerned about Keane also hurting himself in the European series. After all, Keane is an important offensive player and we really need his goal scoring abilities against Houston.
The MLS Cup is on Nov. 20. This gives Keane a few days to recharge and train with the Galaxy for the final. I'm glad Keane led Ireland to victory. Now, I'm just hoping he can do the same for the Galaxy.
Melissa Matters is a long time Los Angeles resident and devoted Los Angeles Galaxy fan.
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