The Los Angeles Galaxy look unbeatable at the moment thanks in large part to the additions of Sebastian Llegett, Steven Gerrard and Giovani Dos Santos. It is a true embarrassment of riches for a team that just a few months ago seemed to be on a downward spiral.
The team had a rotating cast of injured players stepping in and out of the lineup, a spotty defense, and an anemic offense that once managed to take zero shots on goal.
"I think we’re doing the best we can; it’s been a little bit of a patchwork job in the first half of the season. That’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it goes. No excuses, but we’re a little bit short handed in a lot of the spots on the field and it shows with some of our quality."-Bruce Arena following the loss to Vancouver.
But perhaps lost in the excitement over the new shiny toys is the fact that the Galaxy's 2015 season really began to turn around not when Steven Gerrard or Giovani walked through the door, but the moment Robbie Keane returned from injury. June may seem like ages, and many 3 and 5 goal blowouts ago, but it isn't difficult to connect the return of Keano (and the two subsequent 5-goal victories) to the team's current run of form.
Robbie Keane has 15 goals and 7 assists in only 17 matches this season, even though he missed two months. Those numbers are particularly impressive when you compare them to the rest of the league... his statistics are identical to David Villa, and dangerously close to other league leaders.
His numbers are only going to get better given the talent around him.
"Everybody in this dressing room is desperate for Robbie to go on and achieve the MLS [MVP] again, and we all have the responsibility to keep serving him and keep providing goalscoring opportunities for him, and we're certainly doing that of late."-Steven Gerrard following the NYCFC game.
He is now, without a doubt, back to his 2014 MVP form. I originally set out to write this article following the road win, and his 100th game for the Galaxy, against Dallas, but decided to wait and see what his next performance had in store. It was equal parts a desire to not jinx our best player and wanting to see how all the new pieces would come together. Keane did not disappoint, putting on a clinic in the following two games capped off by a pair of braces.
Robbie will surely be the first to tell you that he plays to win championships, not MVP trophies, but he is making a strong argument for both.
"I always want to win, you know? I always want to be successful," Keane said. "I keep saying every year, I always want to better myself every year. This year might be a little bit difficult [to better my numbers from 2014], in terms of I was out for two months [with a groin injury], but if you look at goals per game and assists, it's probably up there with the best I've had.
"If I can continue to do that, all well and good, and the team continues to win, which is always the most important thing. It's not about individuals. If I can help the team by scoring goals and assisting and have the team do well, everyone's a winner."
Though Sebastian Giovinco and Benny Feilhaber have been playing great all season long, and are deservedly considered the frontrunners, Keano deserves to be part of that conversation... and on a team full of attacking power, nobody should strike more fear to MLS defenses going forward than Captain Keano.