Robbie Keane (pictured) scored twice in the LA Galaxy's CONCACAF Champions League win over Cartagines on August 20, 2013. He has five career goals in the competition. (Photo: German Alegria)
By Joseph D'Hippolito
CARSON, California -- As the LA Galaxy began play in the CONCACAF Champions' League, Robbie Keane demonstrated the qualities he used to forge an illustrious career in Europe.
Keane scored both goals in the Galaxy's 2-0 victory over Cartagines on Tuesday in Group 8 play at the StubHub Center.
"His movement is sublime," said teammate Landon Donovan, whose passes freed Keane for both goals. "He's very sharp, he's very active and he's always playing with the defenders' minds."
The 33-year-old used those skills not only to succeed in the top divisions in England, Scotland and Italy, but also to become the all-time leading scorer for Ireland with 59 goals in 127 international appearances.
On the club level, Keane has amassed more than 240 goals in all competitions for such clubs as Inter Milan, Liverpool and Celtic. But the forward played mostly with Tottenham Hotspur, where he scored 93 times in 238 league matches during three stints with the team over seven seasons.
The Galaxy signed Keane in 2011, and the Irish forward scored in his first game. Since then, he has 25 goals in 47 league contests, including 10 goals this season.
Keane, a member of the Ireland side that won the 1998 European Under-18 Championship, attributes much of his success in Major League Soccer to the relationship he developed with Donovan.
"We're in tune with each other," Keane said. "We know each other's runs and where we're going to be."
Donovan agreed with that analysis.
"He makes it easy for me," Donovan commented. "I know if I put the ball in the right spot, more often than not, he's going to score. I know that if I make the right runs, more often than not, he's going to get me the ball."
Against Cartagines, Keane succeeded against a defensive scheme not seen in Major League Soccer.
"They have a completely different shape," Keane noted. "They really play with five in the back and three center-halves. Their system is different, certainly, than the MLS teams."
Keane scored his goals in the second half after failing to convert on two shots from seven-yards out late in the first half, one of which Cartagines goalkeeper Waldy Alfaro stopped. The other sailed over the crossbar after Keane brilliantly chested a pass and balanced the ball on his right foot before firing.
"I think people forget, sometimes, that football is 90 minutes," said Keane, who has five career CCL goals. "It doesn't matter if you score in the 90th minute or in the first minute. It's the same thing."