Saturday 16 December 2017

Break for Keane as sleepy LA crash out in Seattle

Robbie Keane's only focus now is Ireland's Euro 2016 finals play-off
Robbie Keane's only focus now is Ireland's Euro 2016 finals play-off
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Robbie Keane's MLS season is over after LA Galaxy exited the MLS play-offs at the first hurdle.

Galaxy lost 3-2 to a Seattle Sounders team featuring Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey after a chaotic game where the sides shared four goals in the first 20 minutes.

More haphazard Galaxy defending led to Seattle nabbing a late winner to knock the defending champions out of the equation.

It was another tough evening for Keane's new colleague Steven Gerrard, who engaged in a furious argument with keeper Donovan Ricketts after they got their wires crossed for one of Seattle's goals.

It means that Keane will now have extra-time to prepare for Ireland's Euro 2016 play-off with Bosnia on November 13 and 16.

He can be happy with his personal contribution to the Galaxy cause this term having struck 20 times in the regular season, but he says the group have to hold their hands up and admit they deserved to go out after a run of inconsistent displays left them with a tough fixture.

"It's very Irish to never point fingers but as a group of players you know what we have to take responsibility for ourselves," he said.


"It's disappointing when you're the champions and you know what it feels like to lift that trophy and now for it to be taken away from you, it's difficult to take. We can sit here all day and say 'ifs' and 'buts' but we just weren't good enough, certainly in the last five or six weeks."

Meanwhile, Stoke boss Mark Hughes has repeated his desire to keep hold of Jon Walters amid continued uncertainty over the forward's future. Walters is out of contract at the end of the season and has failed to reach agreement on a new deal because Stoke are reluctant to hand out a long-term deal to the in-form Irish attacker.

"It's not what I want and it's not what Jon wants," said Hughes. "I'd like to think there's scope to return to the table.

"He's always been valued here. The issue here is length of contract, not our feeling on Jon's ability to make an impact. He's done exceptionally well."

Walters will be assessed by medics to see if he can play a part in his club's Premier League encounter with Newcastle United tomorrow.

Harry Arter hopes to be considered for Bournemouth's meeting with Southampton on Sunday after making his return in Wednesday's League Cup loss to Liverpool following a miserable five-month absence.

"You appreciate playing football so much when you're injured," said Arter, who lasted 71 minutes at Anfield. "You take it for granted when you're playing regularly.

"When my number came up I was happy to come off. I'd hit the point where I felt I'd probably done enough and the gaffer realised that and took me off.

"It was unbelievable to be back out there on an unbelievable ground."

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