LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane is refusing to be dragged into the MVP debate, despite tallying 17 goals and 14 assists in 27 games so far this season to establish himself as one of the front-runners for the award.
Keane was a finalist for the league’s top individual honour in 2013 after chalking up 16 strikes and 11 assists in 23 appearances, but missed out on the prize to Chicago Fire forward and former teammate Mike Magee.
However, with his starring performances this term helping move LA joint-top of the Supporters’ Shield standings alongside the Seattle Sounders with four fixtures left of the regular-season, most have the Irishman down as favourite to land the award.
A brace in the weekend’s comfortable 4-0 win over the New York Red Bulls further enhanced his case, but the 34-year-old club captain is more focused on helping the Galaxy claim a third MLS Cup in four seasons at this point.
‘We say this every year,’ he told the club’s official website. ‘We say MVP every year and I don’t win it, so I’d prefer not to even speak about it.
‘In football, the most important thing is consistency. If you’re consistent then every year you continue to strive to do better than you did the year before, and every year since I’ve been here, I’ve done that. That’s all you can ask for.
‘16 goals and 11 assists last year and now more goals this year, more assists this year,’ he continued. ‘As a player, that’s all you can ask for. I challenge myself every season to do that.
‘As long as you have a challenge in your own mind then I’m satisfied with what I’ve done this season. My aim every year is to do better than I have the year before.’
Keane might not be touting his own MVP credentials but teammate Landon Donovan, on the other hand, was quick to hail his fellow forward as one of the league’s top performers.
‘He’s comfortable, he’s confident, he’s aggressive, and he’s moving well. I would absolutely hate to play against him if I was a defender,’ the US national team legend said. ‘He’s as good as I’ve seen him and it’s truly an honour to play with him. It really is.’
Having recorded 64 goals in 106 total appearances since arriving in the States from the Tottenham Hotspur in August 2011, there’s a clear argument to make that Keane is the greatest-ever MLS import, and that reputation could be solidified at the season’s end with both individual and team accolades.
He faces some competition from the likes of league top-scorer Bradley Wright Phillips, Thierry Henry, Obafemi Martins, Lee Nguyen, Diego Valeri and Joao Plata for the former but, if he can produce a few more starring performances over the coming weeks, then the voters shouldn't have too much trouble deciding who is most deserving.