LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena has managed some of the biggest names in MLS history, but the prospect of reuniting Steven Gerrard with reigning league MVP Robbie Keane is one which has him more than eager for the Liverpool captain’s summer arrival.
With the MLS Cup holders spending the first part of their preseason preparations in Europe, Arena revealed to MLSSoccer.com that he had travelled to Liverpool to meet Gerrard for the first time ahead of his stateside switch, and left more than impressed with his soon-to-be midfielder’s enthusiasm.
“I saw him yesterday and I was surprised to see how excited Steven is to come to Los Angeles,” said Arena at a press conference in Dublin, where is said are preparing to face Shamrock Rovers.
“Obviously, he knows that he has a huge obligation to fulfill with Liverpool and to close out his career there in the right manner. They are involved in some cup competitions, and then he will be very eager to get to Los Angeles.
“I think he and Robbie [Keane] are going to be fantastic together and we’re real excited to have players of the quality of Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard with the LA Galaxy.”
After winning three of the past four MLS Cup titles under Arena’s guidance, LA have been hit hard with a couple of significant offseason loses, having seen US soccer legend Landon Donovan retire, and midfield stalwart Marcelo Sarvas traded to the Colorado Rapids in anticipation of Gerrard’s arrival.
Nevertheless, with skipper Keane holding things over until his former Liverpool teammate’s move, and fresh off a campaign in which he scored 19 goals with 14 assists in 29 regular-season games, there is little cause for concern ahead of the 2015 season’s March start date.
In addition, after being in the stands at Anfield to witness Mario Balotelli wrestle spot-kick duties from Jordan Henderson in the 1-0 Europa League win over Besiktas, Arena has stressed that there’ll be no such drama in his team once Gerrard turns up.
“He’s [Keane] taking them until he misses his next one,” the ex-US national team boss laughed. “He’s our captain and our penalty taker – until he tells me otherwise.”
That said, after Keane missed three of his four penalties in 2014, perhaps it might not be such a bad idea to hand responsibilities over to his incoming colleague.