Triumphant trio? The three players the Galaxy expect to lead them to this year’s MLS Cup speak Friday afternoon at a press conference introducing new striker Robbie Keane at Home Depot Center, who was joined by Landon Donovan and David Beckham (AP Photo).
The Irish flag fluttered at one end of Home Depot Center framed by orange, white and green balloons.
Corned beef, cabbage and Guinness was served inside the Stadium Club for lunch.
And even Irish Consul General Finbar Hill was on hand to say a few words in Gaelic welcoming the 31-year-old striker to Southern California “100,000 times.”
“I’m not here just to be on holiday,” Keane said as the California sun beat down on the open air press conference. “I’m here to score goals and win things.
“Everything else is irrelevant to me,” he added when asked about living in LA, a city he has never visited before. “It’s about playing football. It always has been.”
Imported soccer players always say that; some mean it, some don’t.
Those that don’t, don’t last long in MLS or with the club they signed for – just ask Juan Pablo Angel, now with Chivas USA after scoring just three times this season for the Galaxy after moving over from New York in the offseason.
Time – and goals – will tell the story when it comes to Keane, but Anschutz Entertainment Group President Tim Leiweke, not a man known for his patience, believes Keane will produce in MLS.
“The first thing he said to me when I got on the phone with him was ‘I’m not coming there to retire,’” Leiweke said, adding later that, “Robbie never once came to us and said … it’s not a good enough league.”
Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena said Keane would play some “extended minutes” for the Galaxy Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes without getting into specifics.
And while some critics back in Ireland have harshly criticized Keane for shirking a challenge by taking MLS money rather than dropping down a level in England (since when is the Championship superior to MLS?), you can be sure the level of expectation here is a helluva lot higher than the likes of, say, Leicester.
“The coach has to coach better, the players have to play better and we have to deliver a championship to our fans,” Arena said.
Got that, Robbie?