Landon Donovan sat down for a chat on MLS Media Day, happy to answer any and all questions pertaining to Major League Soccer. Questions relating to the World Cup, however, were off-limits.
No matter. The Galaxy forward still provided an enlightening discussion on MLS spending and what differences we’ll see in this year’s LA team.
What motivation do you have going into this season?
Motivation is an interesting thing. I’ve learned you either have it or you don’t. I play the way I play and I’m motivated to do that. Last year wasn’t great for us in Los Angeles but it’s exciting to see the new additions come in.
How do you feel about the direction MLS is heading?
It’s exciting for me. There’s this swell of momentum around our league that’s really special. It’s almost surreal to see Michael Bradley in the hallway for a guy who spent his whole career in Europe.
There’s a real feel around every game in MLS. You go to New York and it’s an experience, you go to Toronto and it’s fantastic, they fly to LA and it’s something different. It’s vital. There are so many games during the year – now it seems like every one has a story line.
What happened to LA last year?
Simply enough, we weren’t good enough. We had a short list of players and the only options up front were myself and Robbie, which became too predictable. Now there’s a different feel, a different vibe around the time. Gyasi Zardes looks like a different player, more comfortable.
When I look at our team, our roster, our talent, we should be the best every year. With Bruce Arena, you go a game without winning and the sky is falling. He’s so competitive. But he seems more focused now than ever, more intent on us doing well.
Is the increased spending good for the league?
In the past I would’ve said ‘no’ but now they have the right people making those decisions. Toronto with Tim Leiweke doing the business, you know it’s real. He has a proven track record. You want people to care. Tim cares. The DC owners care. You want that to happen. I think before it was just a business decision. Now they care. What’s going on in Portland, Seattle and Kansas City, that’s all impressive. The more we do that as a league, the better it is.
People are excited about MLS. Now the product on the field has to match the excitement.
How important is the upcoming match with Tijuana?
It’s fun for the fans and a really important match for our league. They’re a good team, no question. But we feel they’re a team we can beat. It’s going to take something special but we want to win.