With Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Donovan Ricketts and others, Los Angeles Galaxy fans have gotten used to players leaving the team to play with their respective national teams. While clubs in other leagues have to deal with players coming back tired after international duty, MLS ignores the international calendar so players who play for their country actually miss matches. Ain't it lovely?
Now the Galaxy have another man to worry about missing matches with new signing Robbie Keane. The Ireland captain has been called up for the country's upcoming Euro 2012 qualifiers. Ireland will play Slovakia on September 2 and Russia on September 6 in a pair of gigantic qualifiers that will definitely rule him out of the Galaxy's match in Kansas City on September 5 and maybe the team's match on September 9 against Colorado too.
This is just the first of what could be many absences for Keane. He will be with Ireland on October 7 and 11, but the Galaxy do not have matches then so they are in the clear. Keane will not miss any Galaxy matches then, but he could in November.
Ireland are currently tied with Slovakia and Russia atop Group B of European qualifying. If they are in second place at the end of group qualifying on October 11, they play play a two-legged playoff on November 11 or 12th and November 15. That second leg would come five days before MLS Cup, leaving Keane without the fresh legs you could want with a trophy on the line.
If Ireland win their group or a playoff after finishing second they qualify for Euro 2012, a tournament that runs from June 8 until July 1 of next year. Add in a couple weeks for pre-tournament training and Keane is out for a month of next season if Ireland qualifies for Euro 2012.
So what we have here is another player set to miss time. The Galaxy will be rooting for Ireland to finish out of the top two in Group B of qualifying so the two matches in September are the only matches Keane is away for or getting tired from, but this is the reality of having international quality players.
This is also ignoring the possibility that Keane is still with the Ireland team for 2014 World Cup qualifying, for which Ireland has 10 matches. Who knows though, maybe MLS will finally respect international fixture dates by the time 2014 qualifying starts. For now, see ya, Keano.