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Landon Donovan is back; What it can mean to Leon, USA

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Saying “I don’t believe in walls,” United States men’s national team legend Landon Donovan came out of retirement (again) this weekend to join Club Leon in Mexico.

Donovan, 35, scored one goal in nine matches during his first comeback bid with the LA Galaxy in 2016, and was an MLS Best XI member as recently as 2014.

There’s little to no risk for Donovan, who’s not the sort of character who’d care about public perception, anyway. Again, he’s a legend whose name is on the MLS MVP trophy (which does seem an honor that could’ve waited given recent news). And the potential rewards are high, but there is a question of why.

[ MORE: Martino, Wynalda USSF alliance?!? ]

We imagine that this past season had to have Donovan frothing for several reasons. Clearly there’s political impetus given his aforementioned “walls” line, but there’s likely so much more to it.

Donovan was mentioned as a potential candidate to run for the vacant United States Soccer Federation presidency, and the American legend was steamed when his Yanks failed to qualify for the World Cup.

He’s also watched Clint Dempsey join him atop the USMNT goal scoring charts, his Galaxy struggle for the first time in ages, and a number of longtime friends — Bob Bradley, Tim Howard — return to MLS (Pure speculation but maybe, just maybe, Donovan will use Leon as a buffer before another MLS stint with LAFC? He has, after all, played for both of the Cali Clasico rivals).

And the Swansea City advisor now has two sons who can enjoy ‘Dad’ back on the playing field. For Leon, the decision is easy, as there’s more depth in salary south of the border and the American is going to sell enough jerseys and garner enough buzz to justify the move before considering his potential to do special things on the field.

Donovan will be teammates with USMNT-capped backstop William Yarbrough on Los Panzas Verde, as well as longtime Houston Dynamo attacker Giles Barnes and Mexican national teamer Luis Montes.

Largely, though, it’s likely Donovan just missed playing the game at a high level, and will welcome a new challenge. He’ll also give us a bit of a measuring stick for the gap between MLS and Liga MX, although that’s fraught with analytical challenges.

Liga MX is the fourth domestic top flight for Donovan.

LA FC welcomed to MLS by Atlanta United with friendly wager loss

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Los Angeles FC may think again in the future the next time they decide to challenge another club to a bet.

[ MORE: USMNT vet Eric Lichaj stuns Arsenal with brilliant volley ]

On Saturday night, ahead of the NFL Playoffs matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Wildcard round LA FC sent out a tweet to Atlanta United for a friendly bet (below).

The bet was pretty simple… whichever city’s team lost that club would have to show some sort of display of the other club’s colors.

Needless to say, things to go according to plan for the city of Los Angeles…

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The two sides will have an opportunity to settle their differences on the field in early April when Atlanta hosts LAFC from Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Feilhaber headed to LAFC for $400k in TAM, GAM

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Well, this is something.

Sporting KC has traded playmaker Benny Feilhaber to expansion side LAFC for $400,000 in allocation money.

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The move reunites the 33-year-old Feilhaber with former USMNT coach Bob Bradley as well as Sporting KC striker Latif Blessing.

Feilhaber will be expected to cue up Designated Player attackers Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi for goals. From LAFC.com:

“Benny and I shared some good days with the U.S. National Team,” LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley said. “I am excited to work with him again. He has an attacking quality and an excellent understanding of the game. We welcome Benny to LAFC.”

He posted 32 goals and 37 assists in 180 appearances for KC, but nabbed just five and one last season. Does he still have it? Bradley’s betting on it, though the move represents a significant risk.

For KC, they had seemingly found their attacking midfielder in the form of 25-year-old Yohan Croizet from KV Mechelen in Belgium.

Expansion LAFC signs veteran MLS defender Jordan Harvey

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LOS ANGELES (AP) Veteran MLS defender Jordan Harvey has signed with the expansion Los Angeles Football Club.

LAFC announced its latest player acquisition Tuesday.

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The 33-year-old Harvey is an Orange County native who played at UCLA before embarking on a 13-year MLS career with Vancouver, Philadelphia and Colorado. He scored one goal in 28 games with the Whitecaps last season, and he has 11 goals in 270 career MLS games.

Harvey joins central defenders Walker Zimmerman and Laurent Ciman on a potentially veteran-laden back line for LAFC, which will begin play in March as MLS’ 23rd franchise.

In other MLS news from Tuesday evening, the Portland Timbers signed Costa Rican defender Julio Cascante from Deportivo Saprissa, using target allocation money in the process.

MLS announces 2018 home openers for all teams

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Major League Soccer announced the home openers for each of its 23 teams on Tuesday.

The season begins March 3rd with a full day of matches beginning with an Easter Conference Finals rematch between Toronto FC and Columbus at BMO Field at 1 p.m. ET.

[ MORE: Larin to UCL Round of 16 side? ]

Two clubs won’t play at home until April, with new boys Los Angeles FC unable christen their new joint until nearly May. Because of this, perhaps, both clubs will be the visitors for two other teams’ home openers.

Vancouver and Columbus know their home opening date, but have yet to learn the opponents.

And Montreal will open their home slate with a derby against Toronto FC.

March 3
Toronto vs. Columbus
Houston vs. Atlanta
Orlando City vs. DC United
FC Dallas vs. Real Salt Lake
Colorado vs. Chicago
San Jose vs. Minnesota
Philadelphia vs. New England

March 4
Seattle vs. LAFC
Vancouver
Sporting KC vs. New York City FC
LA Galaxy vs. Portland

March 10
Columbus
Chicago vs. Sporting KC
New England vs. Colorado
Real Salt Lake vs. LAFC
New York Red Bulls vs. Portland

March 11
Atlanta vs. DC United
NYCFC vs. LA Galaxy

March 17
Montreal vs. Toronto
DC United vs. Houston
Minnesota United vs. Chicago

April 14
Portland vs. Minnesota

April 29
LAFC vs. Seattle