Tuesday 24 April 2018

Robbie keen for Poland showdown after victorious homecoming

Shamrock Rovers 0 LA Galaxy 1

Robbie Keane congratulates his LA Galaxy teammate Mika Varynen after he scored their side's winning goal in their friendly with Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Robbie Keane congratulates his LA Galaxy teammate Mika Varynen after he scored their side's winning goal in their friendly with Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Gareth Maher

Robbie Keane proved to be a natural at showing off his hometown to LA Galaxy, but he knows he may not get the opportunity to do it again.

The MLS Cup champions are big business and in demand globally, so their week-long visit to Dublin, which ended with the friendly win over Rovers, may be a one-off.

Even if that proves to be the case, Keane will be pleased with how it went. From the Guinness Storehouse to Aras an Uachtarain, the Galaxy captain proved himself the perfect tour guide for his club.

On the pitch, he struggled to lead in a scrappy game that saw Finnish midfielder Mika Vayrynen score the only goal. Yet, Keane did his job in strengthening Galaxy's brand here.

"They have enjoyed it and it caps it off with a good convincing win," he said. "All in all, it has worked out better than anyone expected. I really enjoyed coming back.

"If we could do it again, great. It's gone that well, I wouldn't be surprised if the manager considered it again. But we're in demand in the off-season as teams want us to come and play, whether it's Europe or South America."

Galaxy were far too strong for Rovers in the game, with Alan Gordon going close with a couple of efforts before triallist Vayrynen scored in the first half.

It was pretty much smooth sailing from there on.

Head coach Bruce Arena was pleased with the workout, while Rovers boss Pat Fenlon said he knew his team still had work to do before the return to SSE Airtricity League action next month.

By that stage, Keane will be scheduled to return home again - this time to pull on the Republic of Ireland jersey for the crucial Euro 2016 qualifier against Poland. It is a game he believes that the side cannot afford to lose.

"You look at ourselves, Poland and Scotland - there is not a lot between us," Keane said.

"It's certainly close, but do I think we have a chance? Definitely. Scotland are not better than us and Poland are not better than us. We maybe just edge it a small bit, but it depends on how you play on the day.

"The Poland game is a big game and we have to get something out of that game."

Shamrock Rovers: Murphy; Madden (Clancy h-t), Blanchard (Byrne 64), Webster, D O'Connor; S O'Connor (Waters 59), Fahey, Cregg (McPhail h-t), G Brennan; McCabe (Miele 64), North (Drennan h-t).

LA Galaxy: Rowe (Perk 60); Gargan (Dunivant 67), Gonzalez (Meyer h-t), Leonardo, Rogers (Sorto 81); Ishizaki (Villarreal 77), Juninho (Garcia 74), Vayrynen (Avras 59), Zardes; Gordon (Maganto 60), Keane (Walker 90).

Scorer: Vayrynen 44.

Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin).

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