Concerns over Landon Donovan’s sabbatical-related demise have, it seems, been exaggerated. Let’s hope nobody worried too much that the LA Galaxy and U.S. national team all-time leading scorer would require weeks to get his fitness in order.
Because he got on the field for almost 30 minutes in Saturday’s meeting with Toronto in Canada. This just days after Donovan re-joined LA Galaxy training.
Donovan’s last sighting in uniform came four months ago as the Galaxy claimed its second consecutive MLS Cup trophy. He talked then about needing time and – and he took some.
Donovan returned to practice for the Galaxy late last week. Apparently, he hasn’t been sitting around ordering thick-crust pizza, because Galaxy manager Bruce Arena trusted the 30-year-old attacker with half an hour in a match very much undecided, 1-1 at the time.
(MORE: Thoughts and highlights from Saturday’s 2-2 draw)
Donovan came in for young forward Jack McBean, and darned if that wily ol’ veteran didn’t score his first time on the ball! Donovan took a swell ball from Mike Magee (who hit the Galaxy’s first-half goal) but couldn’t quite get enough behind a shot to beat Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik.
As for his performance? Nothing special there. But that probably was not the point for Arena. Not the entire one, at least.
Rather, this was about elevating Donovan’s fitness and technical sharpness with expediency. Remember, the Galaxy will face Mexican side Monterrey twice over the next 10 days, deciding the teams’ important CONCACAF Champions League series. Getting Donovan into Saturday’s contest was equal parts short-term and longer-term thinking.
Donovan’s early chance, just seconds into his first appearance of 2013:
Despite sitting at the top of the table in the Premier League, things are not going well for Manchester City.
Star striker and leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero suffered a torn hamstring while playing for Argentina, and now he is joined by David Silva on the injured list.
Silva lasted nine minutes in Spain’s EURO qualifying match against Luxembourg, forced off after taking a bad challenge from behind. Silva went down in pain and tried to play on, but asked for a substitution just minutes later.
[ RELATED: Alejandro Bedoya to miss USMNT vs. Mexico ]
Spanish news outlet AS is reporting that Silva has suffered “lateral internal ligament damage in his right ankle,” and could face 2-3 weeks on the sidelines.
With Aguero set to miss at least a month, Silva’s injury could leave Manchester City without two of their top players in the coming weeks.
Silva has arguably been the best player in the Premier League this season, the quarterback of the City attack, which has scored a league-leading 19 goals through eight matches.
City travels to Old Trafford for the Manchester derby on October 25, which falls into that 2-3 week range for Silva’s recovery. In a match that could decide who sits top of the table, Manuel Pellegrini would be very shorthanded without Silva and Aguero.
Alejandro Bedoya will not feature for the United States in the CONCACAF playoff against Mexico on Saturday, and has been replaced on the roster by Bobby Wood.
Bedoya traveled to Los Angeles from his club team Nantes in France, but Jurgen Klinsmann has announced he will be unable to play after falling ill.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]
Without Bedoya, Union Berlin midfielder Bobby Wood has been added to the USMNT side. Wood scored the first two goals of his international career this summer in wins over the Netherlands and Germany, and has scored four goals in ten matches for Union Berlin this season. Wood has been training with the U.S. camp throughout the week for the upcoming friendly against Costa Rica.
Bedoya has played well for the USMNT, discounting his short performance against Brazil in September. In that match, Klinsmann played Bedoya out of position against a potent Brazil attack, and he was substituted before halftime. However, playing in his more natural role as a winger or attacking midfielder, many believed Bedoya could be in line for a start against Mexico.