Donovan of L.A. Galaxy controls the ball against Giovinco of Juventus during soccer match in Los Angeles

Landon Donovan still planning on Panama trip; not great news for the LA Galaxy


KANSAS CITY – Wins this week for San Jose and Vancouver have added yet more pressure on the two-time defending MLS Cup champs, who have a little work ahead to hold off the pursuers for a playoff spot.

Obviously, Bruce Arena and the Galaxy could use all hands on deck … especially the “hands” with the really great feet. We’re speaking, of course, about the team’s trio of Designated Players, Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Keane.

As of today, Keane and Donovan appear unavailable for Wednesday’s match at home next week against Montreal; both will be traveling back that day from internationals, Keane from Europe and Donovan from Panama.

Arena attempted to get Keane released early … but the Irish FA politely said that’s not going to happen.

Arena has also requested Donovan’s services, but the U.S. national team’s all-time leading scorer told reporters Thursday that he still expects to be with the national team for Tuesday’s contest in Panama.

“We haven’t spoken about it,” Donovan said, referring to U.S. coaches. “My expectation is that I go to Panama, unless I hear otherwise. We’ll see what happens. I understand very clearly that every opportunity here is a good chance.”

What adds a degree of complexity here is Donovan’s previous estrangement from the national team. He has mended the fences with teammates and coaches (in as much as it needed mending) and can’t afford to forfeit ground he has already gained.

Gonzalez, at least seems to be on the mend and should be available for next week’s match.

Hilarious “Friends” spoof video ‘starring’ Messi, Ronaldo (video)

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Given the rivalry surrounding the two megawatt superstars plying their trade in Spain, you may be surprised to learn that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the best of friends.

[ MORE: Top USMNT-Mexico rivalry moments ]

At least that’s what this spoof video conveys, as the Real Madrid and Barcelona stars help each other navigate tax season and toilet troubles.

Brilliant stuff, from FootbOle:

Top USMNT-Mexico moments: Looking back ahead of Saturday

PASADENA, CA - JUNE 25:  Landon Donovan #10 of United States celebrates his goal with teammates Carlos Bocanegra #3 and Alejandro Bedoya #22  against Mexico during the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup Championship at the Rose Bowl on June 25, 2011 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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You could argue its the biggest match between the U.S. and Mexico outside of the 2002 World Cup’s Round of 16, and there would be few arguments against you.

The United States and Mexico will tangle on Saturday at the Rose Bowl, with the winner advancing to the 2017 Confederations Cup finals in Russia.

It’s only so often that these rivals match up in a “do or die” match. Sure World Cup qualifiers carry critical import, but they don’t always become the decisive moment in the qualifying cycle.

[ MORE: Spurs’ teen shining at center back for U.S. U-23s ]

Aside from the aforementioned World Cup match and the first match in the rivalry — see 1934 below — no other match has carried as much international weight as Saturday.

So with anticipation high, let’s dance backward in time to the Yanks’ best moments in the rivalry. And let’s also imagine what would have to happen to put Saturday in the mix.

(Of course, our apologies to Mexican fans. We aren’t including the times you slapped American soccer in the face).

2001, 2005, 2009, 2013 — “Dos a Cero” to the fourth power

There is no more celebrated score line in USMNT history than the 2-0 hurting it put on Mexico in four successive home World Cup qualifiers.

2002 — World Cup Round of 16

Goals from Brian McBride and Landon Donovan prodded an upset of the world’s then-No. 7 ranked nation, as the USMNT carried a feel of destiny through its best World Cup.

1934 — World Cup qualifier

Aldo Donnelli scored all four goals as the States won the first recorded match against Mexico, and it was a big one. The winner would go on to the 1934 tournament in Italy, while the loser would go on a tour of European friendlies. The States won, and wouldn’t win again until the qualifiers for the 1982 tournament.

2012 — First win at Azteca

It may’ve been a friendly, but Michael Orozco’s finish will go down as the Yanks’ first ever winner in the fortress of Mexico City.

1980 — World Cup qualifier

Though it meant little to the Yanks’ fate in the 1982 tournament — the U.S. finished last in a group with Mexico and Canada — it was the first win over El Tri in 46 years.