LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan believes teammate Robbie Keane fully deserves to be named MLS MVP after witnessing his fine form up close over the course of the 2014 season.
Keane, 34, was a finalist for the league’s top individual honour in 2013 after chalking up 16 goals 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.
Indeed, with 17 goals and 14 assists in 27 games so far, Keane’s all-round production is almost unmatched across the league and, though the soon-to-retire Donovan is considered to be among the MVP front-runners himself, the US national team legend insists that his fellow front man is far more deserving.
‘To be completely honest, I'd rather Robbie win it and I'd rather us win a championship,’ said Donovan, the MLS MVP in 2009 and a 2008 finalist, to the club’s official website.
‘We're very lucky to have him and there's no question that he's the MVP.’
League top-scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips, Obafemi Martins and dark horse candidate Lee Nguyen are all challenging for the award alongside Keane, but Donovan doesn’t think the trio have a leg to stand on when up against the former Premier League star.
‘His ability to create chances and wreak havoc on defences is unlike any other,’ he said. ‘With all due respect to Obafemi, there's no other player in the league like Robbie. The things that he does week to week are spectacular.’
Head coach Bruce Arena echoed Donovan’s sentiments, suggesting those who voted against Keane come the end of the campaign should have a long hard look at themselves.
‘Anyone with a brain in a game, it’s hard to say that Robbie wouldn’t be your first choice,’ he said. ‘He’s having a remarkable season and a remarkable career in this league.’
Having recorded 64 goals in 106 total appearances since arriving in the States from Tottenham Hotspur in August 2011, Keane has remained one of the league’s most consistent performers over the past few seasons, and helping LA to a third MLS Cup title in four seasons in the coming months would see his reputation as one of the US game’s greatest-ever imports further enhanced.