Photo by David Bernal/ISIphotos.com
By ADAM SERRANO
Robbie Keane seems healthy and ready to contribute for the Los Angeles Galaxy's run to MLS Cup. Now all he needs to do is find the back of the net.
Keane was appearing in just his second match since an adductor strain cost him the last three weeks of the season as well as a number of important matches for club and country. However, against the Red Bulls on Thursday night, Keane was a constant threat to score, and on another night might have come away with two goals.
In the 19th minute, he was denied by Red Bulls goalkeeper Frank Rost from close range. Then in the 38th, he cut down the right side only to be denied by the left post. With a number of important matches on the horizon for the Galaxy and Ireland, Keane belives that he is finally rounding into form after his injury.
"I had a couple of chances, hit the post with one and the keeper made a good save on the other," said Keane. "There's been two games in four games for me after three weeks of being back, it's just nice to be back, and every minute is going to help me."
OLAVE, BORCHERS STILL IN QUESTION
All of the focus on Real Salt Lake centers around the club's starting centerback tandem of Jamison Olave and Nat Borchers, who both had to miss the second leg of RSL's conference semifinal triumph over Seattle with injuries.
RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey told reporters Friday that the club is monitoring the situation closely and that whether the duo is cleared to play won't be decided until Sunday, when RSL is slated to play the Galaxy at the Home Depot Center.
Chris Schuler and converted fullback Chris Wingert start in place of Olave and Borchers against Seattle, and while RSL persevered to advance to the conference final, there's no question that having Olave and Borchers available gives the club a better chance of knocking off the Galaxy.
MAGEE HAPPY TO KNOCK OFF OLD CLUB
In a series between New York and Los Angeles that featured five Designated Players, perhaps no player was more influential than the unheralded Galaxy winger Mike Magee.
Playing along the left flank for the Galaxy, Magee terrorized the New York defense and registered two goals against the club he played at for six seasons. The converted forward found the back of the net on Thursday, heading in a David Beckham corner kick for the eventual series-winning goal.
Following the match, Magee couldn't help but confess that he was proud of doing is part to eliminate the Red Bulls.
"A little bit, yeah," Magee confirmed to reporters on Thursday. "Once the whistle blew it was nice that New York was gone and I was continuing on. But we have a goal to win MLS Cup and that outweighs that as of now."
REVENGE FOR '09? NOT QUITE
The Western Conference final will pit two teams that are incredibly familiar with one another.
Real Salt Lake and the Galaxy were opponents in the 2009 MLS Cup final, which saw RSL earn its first MLS Cup championsip in penalty kicks on a rainy Seattle night. Since the final, the two have become two of the most dominant clubs in the Western Conference, providing the league with several thrilling games.
The two teams split the season series this season with both sides winning on their own home field. Just two years removed from that match-up the Galaxy admit that they are not out for revenge when they take on RSL on Sunday.
"There is no revenge about any games that we play in game, but, of course, we want to beat them," David Beckham said. "As simple as that. They are a very good team, they have a very good manager that is passionate about the game, and we know it’s going to be a difficult game. But, the advantage is, we're at home and we'll have our fans behind us. But we know we are going to be in a game."