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LA expect to be without still-mending Donovan vs. 'Caps

CARSON, Calif. – If results around the league go their way, the LA Galaxy can rise to second place in the Western Conference with a victory Saturday night over visiting Vancouver (10 pm ET; TSN2/RDS2 in Canada, MLS Live in the US). But they'll need to do so, it appears, without Landon Donovan.

The Galaxy captain, sidelined with a hamstring strain, missed practice again Friday at The Home Depot Center, and head coach Bruce Arena acknowledged it was “doubtful” he would be available.

Donovan was hurt in the US victory Aug. 15 over Mexico at Estadio Azteca, and he's missed three games – CONCACAF Champions League victories over Isidro Metapán and the Puerto Rico Islanders sandwiched around last weekend's league triumph over FC Dallas – with an injury described as day-to-day.

“He's close to returning,” Arena said, “but he'll need a little more time.”

With two weeks until the next LA game, Sept. 14 against Colorado, Donovan could have a month between matches. The injury likely will preclude him from the Americans' World Cup qualifiers Sept. 7 and 11 against Jamaica, although Arena wouldn't confirm that.

The US on Sunday will announce their roster for the matches.

Donovan tied an MLS record with four assists in his last MLS outing, the Aug. 12 victory over Chivas USA, and the Galaxy's fine form since mid-June has coincided with a surge in his game. Donovan has eight goals and eight assists in his last 10 league appearances.

“He's still struggling with his hamstring, but he's got to get it right,” David Beckham said. “Obviously, we want him fit for the rest of the season, so there's no point in him rushing back. If he's still feeling it, then it's better that he gets it right before he even steps on the field.”

Beckham says he's ready go, that he's “feeling a whole lot better” after a bout with a stomach virus. Robbie Keane also will play, then head off to Ireland's World Cup qualifier next week in Kazakhstan, returning to LA before his country's friendly in London against Oman.