Donovan eager to help Galaxy in reserve role


In some cases, the birth of a child and starting a family makes a person want to step back from their professional careers.

That wasn’t the case for Landon Donovan in choosing to make his return to the LA Galaxy.

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In an interview with Galaxy TV, the former U.S. Men’s National Team attacker stated that watching his teammates in the past with their own families in post-match settings helped encourage his decision to return to the pitch.

“I thought back to all the games where guys, postgame, would come down with their significant others and bring their children down to the field and the kids were always running around and playing and I was always envious of that.”

Donovan, now 34, has clearly changed as a person since the last time he stepped out on the field for the Galaxy. He’s opted to change his number to 26 in honor of the date his son Talon was born (January 26).

After some initial hesitation and jokes amongst himself and his former teammates and coaches, Donovan opted to give MLS another chance, after spending over 14 seasons in the top-flight of American soccer.

“I received a few sort of half-hearted, friendly, joking texts from some of the players and a few of the staff saying, ‘Are you going to come back? Are you going to come back and help?’” he said. “I reminded them I hadn’t played a meaningful soccer game in almost two years, so it was not something I considered seriously.

“But the more I kind of started to think about it and talk to my family, I thought if this is something the team really wants, needs and feels like I can help, then maybe it’s something I should consider.”

Donovan also insisted that while he is eager to get back out on the field to help the five-time MLS Cup champions that he is ready to assume a more limited role under Bruce Arena.

“I don’t have some crazy urge to go running around a soccer field again,” Donovan said. “But I do like to help, I do love this team, I love the club, I love the organization. And it seems like the situation played out in a way where the team could use a little bit of help almost probably exclusively in a reserve role or as a substitute to help try and fill the shoes left by Gyasi (Zardes), Nigel (de Jong) and some of the other guys who are injured.”

There’s no question that the Galaxy — who have largely been seen as one of the league’s most dangerous sides again in 2016 — have been severely damaged by injuries throughout the season. Jelle Van Damme and Steven Gerrard are currently out with MCL and hamstring injuries, respectively, while Robbie Keane is also sitting out.

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It’s the injury to Gyasi Zardes though, one that will keep him out for at least the remainder of the regular season, that has given Donovan a chance to make his mark on the Galaxy yet again.

Without Zardes, the Galaxy do have options to fill the void left by the USMNT attacker, however, Sebastian Lletget and Emmanuel Boateng simply don’t possess the experience that Donovan has in big-game situations come the MLS Cup playoffs.