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: