CARSON, Calif. – For head coach Bruce Arena, the return of Landon Donovan can only help the LA Galaxy.
“I don’t think its a risk actually, “Arena told the large media contingent that turned out to see Donovan in his first practice since the Galaxy officially announced the return of the six-time MLS Cup champion. “We had a roster spot open, you have a short period of time to fill it and any of the other choices to me don’t seem like they’re any better than this one, to be honest with you.
“I think anything [Donovan] can give us in a positive manner is a plus. Knowing Landon, at his worst, he’s not going to be a liability. At his best he’s going to be an asset.”
Whether or not Donovan will be in the mix for Sunday’s match against Orlando City SC (7 pm ET; FS1 in the US, MLS LIVE in Canada) remains to be seen. The veteran will not have a full training session with the Galaxy's first team until Saturday, but Arena left the door open for Donovan to make his way into this weekend’s game-day roster.
“I don’t think we know," said Arena. "If you ask me right now, I would say 'No,' but that can change.”
While the Galaxy plan to have Donovan progress at a cautious pace, they also believe that it will be easy for him to form relationships with the likes of Giovani dos Santos and Steven Gerrard once the 34-year-old attacker is fully fit and ready.
“I think Landon is an easy player to play with,” said Arena when asked about team chemistry. “Once he gets on the field with them, they’ll develop a working relationship.”
Arena confirmed that he was the first to pick up the phone about a week ago regarding the possibility of Donovan coming out of retirement to help a club that is currently a bit shorthanded due to injuries.
“I think there were some rumors going around and I contacted him regarding those rumors,” Arena said of their initial conversation.
The rumors are all gone. Now, all that remains to be seen is how Donovan progresses and when Arena gives him the call to return to MLS action.