CARSON, CALIF. (MONDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2011) – LA Galaxy midfielder Chris
Birchall and forward Robbie Keane departed today for international duty
with Trinidad and Tobago and the Republic of Ireland, respectively. Both
players played in last night’s Western Conference Championship win over
Real Salt Lake with Keane tallying a goal and an assist and Birchall
coming on in place of Chad Barrett midway through the second half.

While Birchall and Keane left today, Galaxy captain Landon Donovan has
elected to remain in Southern California to train with the Galaxy ahead
of MLS Cup against the Houston Dynamo on Sunday, November 20. Donovan
was originally included in the U.S. squad for the upcoming friendlies
with France (November 11) and Slovenia (November 15), though he was
scheduled to be released back to the Galaxy following the game against
France. Now that he has withdrawn from the U.S. squad, Donovan, who had
a goal and an assist in Sunday night’s 3-1 win over Real Salt Lake, will
miss both matches, keeping him with the Galaxy throughout the club’s
preparations for MLS Cup next week.

Keane traveled to Dublin today to join up with the Ireland National
Team ahead of their 2012 European Championship Play-Off games against
Estonia. Ireland and Estonia will play a two-game, aggregate goal series
with the winner earning a spot in the European Championships, which will
be played next summer in Poland and Ukraine. The first leg will be
played in Estonia on Friday with the return leg in Ireland on Tuesday.
Keane, who has 51 goals in 112 appearances for his country, played in
and started nine of Ireland’s 10 qualifiers as they finished second in
Group B to qualify for the Play-Offs, scoring five times. He missed
their final game, at home against Armenia on October 11, after suffering
a left adductor strain in the previous game against Andorra. That injury
kept Keane out of action until the start of the MLS Cup Playoffs, with
Keane starting all three games for LA.

Trinidad and Tobago currently sit in second place in Group B of
CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying with a 3-1-0 record for nine points. That
leaves them one point behind Guyana, who are 3-0-1 for 10 points,
heading into the final group games. Birchall and the rest of the Soca
Warriors will play in Guyana on Friday, November 11 before hosting
Guyana in Port of Spain, Trinidad on Tuesday, November 15. If Trinidad
lose either of those games, they will be eliminated from contention for
a spot in the 2014 FIFA World Cup while two wins or a win and a draw
will see them finish atop the group and move on to the next stage of
CONCACAF qualifying.

Birchall has played in two of Trinidad’s four games in qualifying so
far, helping them win at home against Bermuda on September 2 and then
away to Barbados four days later. For his career, he has four goals in
38 appearances for Trinidad and Tobago.

Both Birchall and Keane will return to Southern California following
their international matches and will rejoin the rest of the Galaxy squad
in training ahead of MLS Cup on Sunday, November 20 at The Home Depot

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