CARSON, Calif. — Landon Donovan's reintegration into the LA Galaxy lineup hasn't come without its hiccups, such as the one-on-one miss in his first game back three weeks ago in Toronto and last weekend's saved penalty kick in the loss at FC Dallas.
He's spent his first four games reacquainting himself with the demands of game action. He quickly found his fitness, but his feel for the game — his touch and ability to impose himself — has needed work.
Donovan believes the payoff is near, perhaps Saturday night when the Galaxy (2-1-2) take on Eastern Conference leader Sporting Kansas City (4-1-2) at the Home Depot Center (10:30 pm ET, NBCSN/LIVE chat on MLSsoccer.com).
“Last week was really good for me personally. This has been a good week of training,” Donovan said. “My hope is that this is the week that it all finally comes together.”
The Galaxy attacker followed half-hour stints at Toronto and in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal against Monterrey with full 90s in last week's second Monterrey clash and the league match three days later at Western Conference leaders FC Dallas. He's missed two should-be goals, just missed out on assisting Robbie Keane in the first CCL semifinal game, and looked a lot more at home last week after moving from the frontline into midfield about 10 minutes into the second half.
“I'm a lot more comfortable now, a lot more confident,” he said during his weekly media session Thursday morning. “My touch is back naturally, so I'm not really focusing on it anymore, so I can focus on other things on the field. That's when I'm at my best, so I'm hopeful that this will be the week it all comes together.”
The Galaxy expect forward Robbie Keane and defenders Todd Dunivant and Sean Franklin to be on the field with Donovan after they missed the Dallas game with minor injuries picked up last week in Monterrey. All began training fully Thursday, and head coach Bruce Arena declared them “healthy.”
Keane says his sprained left ankle has reacted well since swelling ebbed. “Not 100 percent. But probably 90 percent ...,” he said. “Fifty percent is enough to play.”
Forward Jose Villarreal is questionable with a shoulder strain, but he also has been training fully.
The showdown is a big one for LA, which haven't won since Donovan returned from a four-month leave of absence and are on a three-game losing streak, including the pair against Monterrey.
“We're disappointed in the way we've played the last few weeks, so it's going to be a difficult game,” Donovan said. “After everything that happened [with LA's awful start] last year, we understand that it really matters at the end of the year. However, we want to get back to the things we're good at. We can handle losing, we can handle not winning games, but we have to be better in certain areas.”