GALAXY: Injury could sideline Keane
CARSON -- The news isn't good out of Ireland, with Robbie Keane forced out of Tuesday's European Championship qualifying finale against Armenia with a abductor strain that could keep him on the sidelines into Major League Soccer's playoffs.
Keane played the full 90 in Ireland's victory Friday over Andorra, but he complained of soreness the following day and was dropped from the Irish roster for the showdown in Dublin with Armenia, which will send the winner (or Ireland if it's a draw) into the playoffs for a berth in next year's Euro 2012 finals in Poland and the Ukraine.
The injury, which Keane was carrying when he flew to Ireland eight days ago, could sideline the striker for as long as four weeks, although the Galaxy hope his recovery time will be much shorter. He almost certainly will miss Sunday's SuperClasico against Chivas USA and the Oct. 20 CONCACAF Champions League group finale against Motagua in Tegucigalpa, Honduras -- a must-win encounter.
The Galaxy will open the playoffs the weekend before Halloween. The Nov. 20 MLS Cup at Home Depot Center is a little less than six weeks away.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said he wasn't sure what Keane's situation would be.
“We'll know more when he gets back here,” Arena said. “Can't tell until he gets back here and we have our people look at him.”
Keane will remain with the Irish national team through Tuesday's match.
OTHER INJURIES: Arena says Landon Donovan, who pulled out of the U.S. friendlies last weekend against Honduras and Tuesday night against Ecuador with a quad strain, was “doing better,” but Donovan declined interview requests.
Midfielder/defender Sean Franklin, who has missed the past six games -- three in MLS, three in the Champions League -- with an inflamed knee, says he is targeting the Motagua game for his return.
“I'm pretty close,” he said. “I was jogging yesterday and today, and the knee felt good. Hopefully, it'll be the next couple of weeks.”
Franklin said he'd been playing with the injury for some time, and it “came to a point where it was too painful, so they figured let's be smart and have you ready 100 percent for the playoffs.”
Three more players returning from injury -- goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and midfielders Mike Magee and Chris Birchall -- started for the Galaxy in Monday's MLS Reserve League loss to Chivas USA. Magee departed early in the first half with a knee injury.A NICE REST: The Galaxy was off from Wednesday until Monday morning, a needed break after playing nine games the previous month.
“You see the same people every day,” goalkeeper Josh Saunders said. “You do need a little bit of a break from everybody or you do get a little testy here and there. I think it was good for everyone to get away from each other.
“And people were tired. You can see it in their faces every day.”
Center back Omar Gonzalez, a top candidate for MLS's Defender of the Year award, said he was “definitely” exhausted, so he headed up to Lake Arrowhead to “recharge the batteries.”
“My legs were tired,” he said. “We'd been logging so many miles, going to different countries [for Champions League games] and flying to the East Coast. It was definitely tough.”
SHIELD CELEBRATION: While they were off, the Galaxy won their first hardware of the season, repeating as winner of the Supporters' Shield -- as regular-season champion -- when Philadelphia won Saturday night at Seattle.
Some of the players got together to watch the game -- “We were cheering when Philly was scoring,” said Gonzalez, who was with Donovan, Magee and Sean Alvarado for the telecast -- and Saunders said he kept up with the game through text messages from defender A.J. DeLaGarza.
The Galaxy could have clinched with a win last Tuesday at New York, but the Red Bulls pulled out a 2-0 victory.
“You want it to be a direct result of what you did that day,” Saunders said. “However, it's kind of nice to sit back and see somebody else do some of the work for us.”
Arena said there was no need for celebration.
“I kind of believed that we had the Shield won for awhile,” he said. “I suspected we were going to win it. I thought that was probably, in my own mind, pretty obvious. ...
“Any time you can win it is great, so we're pleaded that we've secured the Shield with a couple of weeks to go. It comes at a good time, because we have some injuries and need to rest some players.”
BECKHAM'S OPTIONS: Galaxy midfielder David Beckham has no shortage of suitors when his MLS contract expires at season's end. In addition to London's Tottenham and Qatari-owned French giant Paris Saint-Germain, which have expressed interest in the 36-year-old superstar, he could have options in Brazil and elsewhere in England.
Sven-Goran Eriksson, the Swedish coach of second-tier Leicester City -- and former head coach of England's and Mexico's national teams -- wants to bring Beckham in as a player/assistant coach, but Beckham has repeatedly said he has no interest in coaching.
British newspaper The Telegraph reported that Beckham has informed his advisers to find him a new challenge, and speculation is that he could join a Brazilian club in advance of the 2014 World Cup, which will be played in Brazil.
The Galaxy has offered Beckham a contract extension, but he says he won't make any decisions on his next move until the MLS season is complete.
WORTH NOTING: Beckham's Footwork Productions made $23.9 million in endorsement income last year, up 30 percent from the $18.3 in revenues in 2009, according to Britain's Companies House. The figures do not include income from Brand Beckham, which handles his Galaxy merchandising revenue and partnerships with his wife, Victoria. ... Dublin daily The Evening Herald reports that Claudine Keane -- Robbie's model wife -- is negotiationg with the E! Entertainment Television network about a reality series. ... The Galaxy's postseason trip to Australia could be extended into Southeast Asia. Club president Tom Payne acknowledged talks are ongoing with several promoters about playing in Asia after the Dec. 6 friendly against Melbourne Victory.