LA Galaxy star Robbie Keane, truly as good a forward as has ever stalked for goals in Major League Soccer, tops a lot of lists for me.
Before anyone gets too excited, or wonders if there’s some kind of cash prize for that, let me explain that this is not necessarily a good thing. The man tops some “good” lists, but he tops some “bad” ones, too.
Yes, the Galaxy’s prolific Irish international, the league’s reigning Most Valuable Player, is mostly a man among MLS boys in his off-the-ball movement, his opportunism near goal, his instinct and desire to find the right spots near goal and his clinical finishing. But you know what he’s also tops in? In being a big ol’ whiny-pants complainer, someone whose persistent remonstrations and habitual, tired-ass excuse-making are unsportsmanlike at best. And sometimes, they’re just plain lame.
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Long story short, I have a real love-hate relationship with the fellow. Every time I work up a good beachhead of admiration, some wave of Keane nonsense comes along, threating to wash away all the well-earned sparkle.
Last week’s comments following a loss in San Jose are a perfect case in point. Keane was coming off a brilliant spell, with two goals in a road win at Dallas and an even more dazzling follow-up: two goals and two assists as his team absolutely took apart New York City FC.
On they went to California rival San Jose, where things didn’t go as planned in a 1-0 loss.
In fairness to them, manager Bruce Arena and Keane both said that LA didn’t deserve the points, that San Jose was better, wanted it more, etc. I like when players and coaches say that, even when controversial moments have something to say about the outcome. Not just because it’s the proper way to handle things, but because the good and bad refereeing decisions typically balance out over the long haul.
So why didn’t Keane just stop there? Just congratulate the other side, talk about doing better next time and then hit the post-game buffet or one of the food trucks outside Avaya Stadium?
No, Keane had to keep going. Arena and Galaxy players were in a twist about a 47th-minute incident, when Galaxy center back Leonardo was sent off, having gotten tangled up with San Jose forward Quincy Amarikwa on a breakaway. Replays are not definitive, but it looked like the right call.