Monday, August 15, 2011

The Best Get Better (And Vancouver too?)

Add another name to the MLS DP dossier. Like a bolt of lightning none of us saw coming, Keano is headed to the land of sun.

From MLSS:

Robbie Keane was officially brought aboard Monday as he and the Galaxy agreed to terms on a contract that will eventually see the Irish national-team star line up alongside former English Premier League rivals David Beckham and Landon Donovan. 
“He can be an excellent addition to our club,” LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “He’s an experienced player, a proven player at the club and international level and is at an age where he can still have many productive years ahead of him.”
At 31, Robbie Keane is a sprightly young man in high-paying DP parlance. The Fire signed Blanco when he was 34. Torsten Frings is 34 and now on TFC's bankroll, Henry was 32 when New York picked him up last summer, etc... Further, Keano's goal scoring record has been exceptional, but most importantly for MLS, its been consistent recently. Out on loan from Spurs, he bagged 12 goals in 16 appearances for Celtic in 2010 and scored two in nine for a terrible West Ham team last spring. This is not a hobbled veteran limping to the US with the promise of a big pay-day on offer. I'd fully expect Keane to compete with the the league's best for top goal-scoring honors over the final games of the year.

I know a lot has been made of some of his lesser points... most of those centering around his lack of nimbleness. But most of his issues are EPL problems. Personally, I've always thought Keane had fairly attuned instincts around the area, but his goals are rarely of the aesthetically pleasing variety, which immediately calls skill into question when the competition includes the likes of Berbatov, Defoe and Van der Vaart. He'll run into no such quibbles in MLS, a league that up until Eric Hassli has prided itself on workmanlike goals and a head-down approach. These fit into Robbie's skill set. As a solid-bodied forward getting great service from Donovan, Beckham and Juninho, I think he'll fit in fine.

I've seen reports that the deal will approach $9 million over two years. A big contract, but considering his position and LA's sucking void there currently, I'm sure nobody at the Home Depot Center feels fleeced.

The real upshot of the deal is LA's opportunity to finally cut the albatross off the line. Juan Pablo Angel has been hoovering up a handsome paycheck from the league ($1.25 million, to be exact) to do nothing for the Galaxy this season. When he has played, he's been a black hole on possession and continuously fires off shots that make New York fans wonder where over the country's midsection Angel's skill set fell on the initial plane ride out. When he hasn't played, LA has put most of the burden on its midfielders to make up for what you lose with the great Chad Barrett up top.

And Donovan wins the in no way truthful coach-speak award of the day.
“Juan has been a great addition to our team this year," he said. "We all like playing with him. He’s a great professional and whatever happens, happens."
So where to with JPA? Rumors indicate either a return to Chivas or a switch to Philly. I'll speak from here on out as though JPA won't be a complete liability. With Nick LaBrocca providing service, adding Angel gives Robin Fraser the ability to shelve the incredibly streaky Justin Braun to harness his moodiness. As for the Union... with their recent addition of Adu and extended stay near the top of the Eastern Conference table, how scary does an in-form Angel seem on that side? Maybe a change of scenery is all it'll take.

I'm no Galaxy fan, but I've gotta get me one of these now.

Update: Looks as though the 'Caps are wheeling on a move of their own. Canada native Owen Hargreaves might be an MLSer before league rosters freeze Sept. 15.

- Will Parchman


bhamhawker said...

If Hargreaves can stay healthy, he's a brilliant signing for MLS and would likely be one of it's top 4-5 players instantly. ManU was reluctant to let him go, but in the end his injuries concerns were too much. Guy is a helluva talent.

Also, the above shirt can only refer to one person - and it's not Robbie.

If only MLS could lure Roy out of retirement....

Phil McCracken said...

It will be interesting to see how Keane fits in. He does like to drop into midfield to pick up the ball and that will infringe upon Beckham's and Juninho's space.

I know that people are talking like he's purely a poacher, but he's a different player than that and likes to play off of a more advanced forward.

The best forward for the way that the Galaxy play is Buddle, but they couldn't keep him.

Will Parchman said...

The Keano is in the eye of the beholder, eh bham? Although THAT Keano is currently out of a job as far as I know. More than luring him out of retirement, how about an MLS coaching gig?