Donovan's injury could cost him time for Galaxy, USMNT

CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy lost precious ground in the battle for second place in the Western Conference with Saturday night's 2-1 home loss to Real Salt Lake, but that was the least of their problems.

Captain Landon Donovan, one of the chief architects of LA's dynamic attack, went down with a knee injury with about 10 minutes to go, and it might be serious.

Donovan couldn't say so following the defeat, which left the Galaxy five points behind RSL with two games to go -- and Seattle, just a point in back of LA, have two games in hand. Nobody wants fourth place in the West because it comes with a first-round knockout game assignment, but the Galaxy look likeliest to go there after failing to hold on to an early lead nor create the kind of opportunities required to overcome a deficit built on two Fabian Espíndola goals.

All of that pales next to Donovan's situation. He went down under a challenge from RSL defender Jámison Olave in the 81st minute, landed hard on his left knee and required medical attention before limping off the field and to LA's bench.

“We have no idea [how serious it is],” he said in the locker room afterward. “We have to get it worked out.”

Does it seem serious? Does he have a feel for how bad it might be?

“It didn't feel good," Donovan said.

The tests, expected to be done Sunday or Monday, will determine the extent of the injury, but he could miss the final two regular-season games -- Oct. 21 at San Jose and a week later at home against Seattle -- and perhaps the playoffs, too. With center back A.J. DeLaGarza out until at least November with a sprained left MCL, the Galaxy are suddenly in an injury crisis.

Donovan also will be expected to miss the United States national team's pivotal World Cup qualifiers Friday at Antigua & Barbuda and Oct. 16 against Guatemala in Kansas City, Kan. The US roster has not yet been announced, but Donovan was expected to be part of the squad after missing last month's US qualifiers against Jamaica while nursing a hamstring injury that sidelined him for nearly a month.

His chances of being there?

“TBD,” he said.