The mystery is over.
The LA Galaxy on Sunday announced that team captain Landon Donovan will rejoin the club in training during the final week of March after an extended leave of absence following MLS Cup 2012.
“After a series of collaborative discussions between Landon, his representative and our key club leaders, we have agreed to allow Landon to remain on an extended leave of absence and return to training with the team during the final week of March,” Galaxy GM and manager Bruce Arena said in a club statement.
“We understand this arrangement is not ideal," Arena's statement continues, "but we are confident it will allow Landon the time he needs to be both mentally and physically prepared for the upcoming season. We remain focused on our preparation for the start of the 2013 season and look forward to Landon rejoining us next month.”
Donovan asked for time to contemplate his playing future after MLS Cup 2012 and never attached a specific return date. He told media at the conclusion of last year's victorious title match that: "I have to listen to my heart and my gut, and right now my gut says to get away for awhile.”
The timing of Donovan's return will mean he will miss out on the club's first three regular season home matches, which will all be played at home: March 3 vs. Chicago, March 17 vs. Chivas USA and March 23 vs. Colorado.
The Galaxy will also have to do without Donovan for a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal knockout series against Costa Rican side Herediano to be played on March 7 and March 13. Should the Galaxy advance in the aggregate-goal series, the semifinal home-and-home series would take place by April 11.
As far as the US national team is concerned, the USMNT's all-time leading scorer would not be expected to be available for the March qualifiers against Costa Rica (March 22) and the daunting trip to face Mexico (March 26).
Donovan was not selected for the USA's CONCACAF Hexagonal opener at Honduras, a 2-1 loss for the Americans.