After another hugely productive MLS campaign, LA Galaxy assistant head coach Dave Sarachan believes club captain Robbie Keane is well on course to become the league’s greatest-ever forward.
Keane is coming off a season in which he notched 19 goals and 14 assists in 29 regular-season appearances, with his success earning him a place on the three-man shortlist for the 2014 MVP award.
The Irishman just missed out on the league’s top individual accolade in 2013 to Chicago Fire forward and former teammate Mike Magee, but this time around is considered the favourite ahead of both Seattle Sounders striker Obafemi Martins and New England Revolution midfielder Lee Nguyen, with the winner set to be announced next Wednesday.
Regardless of whether he claims the prize, though, Sarachan thinks Keane has proven himself an invaluable import since arriving in the States from Tottenham Hotspur in August 2011, with his consistent scoring record unmatched on the US domestic scene.
“In this league, I don't remember a guy having quite the impact of Robbie -- the quality and the professionalism, the whole package,” he told MLSsoccer.com
“I think when the history books are written, he's going to go down as arguably the best forward [to have played in MLS]. And so within our team, the creativity and mobility and movement and the passing and the finishing that he creates allows all the others to be involved. He's sort of the kingpin to all of it.”
Having netted 53 times in 84 regular season games during his time in MLS, Keane’s current form should come as no surprise, even after turning 34 this past summer.
After winning successive MLS Cups in 2011 and 2012, his LA side remain on course to claim a third title in four seasons, going into this weekend’s Western Conference Championship second-leg at the Seattle Sounders with a 1-0 advantage from the home tie, and he believes their current line-up might be the best since he’s been at the club.
“It didn't look like this when I came, but if you look at this year, Marcelo [Sarvas] and Juninho [the central midfield pairing], both of them have come into their own and certainly been fantastic for us,” he said.
“Maybe the start of the season didn't start off as well as we'd like, but when we started playing well, if you look at the performances since then, our performances have been fantastic, and the way we like to play is getting at people, attacking people, entertaining and scoring goals.
“Certainly, that's been the case for a good few months now.”