Donovan returns to training, admits priorities on league
CARSON, Calif. — When Landon Donovan went the distance against Columbus on July 20, it was just another solid effort for the LA Galaxy captain.
It came as a surprise, then, that Donovan was not available for Sunday's World Football Challenge match against Manchester City, and when news broke that he would not participate in the MLS All-Star Game, it seemed a potentially damaging injury had fallen on him.
However, Donovan was in fine form on Thursday morning at Galaxy training, knocking in long-range shots and running effortlessly through drills ahead of Saturday's trip to Vancouver (7:30 pm, Fox Soccer, TSN).
“I’ve had a couple of days where I feel good in training," Donovan said on Thursday. "Knock on wood, if there’s no setbacks, I should be able to contribute [on Saturday].”
Diagnosed with a calf injury, Donovan was unable to take part in the MLS All-Stars’ 4-0 loss to Manchester United. Watching from afar, Donovan said he was upset not being there for the league and his fellow MLS All-Stars, including Galaxy standouts David Beckham and Sean Franklin.
“I hate being home and watching games I should be a part of," he said. "It’s always irked me. It was frustrating to watch the game when you want to be there and contribute. Sometimes it’s the way it goes.”
Still, had either last weekend’s Man. City friendly or Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game been a regular-season contest, it would have meant more to Donovan and he may have taken the field.
“At the end of the day, the games that are important were last Wednesday and this weekend,” he said. “As much as I wanted to play in the Man. City game and as much as I want to play in the Man. United game — who doesn’t? — you have to be responsible.”
What matters most to Donovan is where the Galaxy wind up in the table and how the team finishes the season. With Donovan, the team has a stronger chance of faring better than without him around.
“This team depends on me," he said. "They depend on me to be here and to make plays and to lead. If I’d gone to New York, I’d have had no chance to get proper treatment, I would have had no chance to properly train all week and I wouldn’t have been ready for Saturday.”