Every time Landon Donovan thinks he’s out, they just keep pulling him back in.
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After coming out of retirement in September to aid the injury-riddled LA Galaxy in their quest for a sixth MLS Cup, Donovan, the leading goalscorer and assist man in both U.S. national team and MLS history, is yet to officially announce whether or not he will return to the Galaxy (or soccer, period) in 2017. However, numerous reports since LA’s elimination from the 2016 playoffs indicated he was likely to walk away from the team and/or game again this winter.
Bruce Arena’s departure to re-become USMNT head coach only seemed to further the notion that Donovan wouldn’t be back in Southern California next season. If he won’t play for the Galaxy in 2017, he won’t play for anyone else, right? Perhaps, but only time will tell, as at least two MLS teams have given Donovan something the think about as the calendar ticks over from 2016 to 2017, in the form of contract offers for the upcoming season, and beyond.
The pipe dream of Donovan returning to the USMNT, now that Jurgen Klinsmann is out of the picture, is only possible if he’s playing club soccer somewhere… presumably. With Arena no longer in LA, and Curt Onalfo, the organization’s former LA Galaxy II (USL) head coach, taking his place, one might assume the Galaxy are looking to get younger by integrating a stacked roster of youth academy products into the first team.
RSL have already bid farewell to dynamic winger Juan Manuel Martinez and legendary no. 10 Javier Morales this winter, which leaves a pair of massive holes for head coach Jeff Cassar to fill. The fit is pretty clear to see, for both sides. As for the mystery Eastern Conference team, any team with a vacant Designated Player spot, plenty of money to burn, and a strong desire for marquee superstars would be wise to enter the Donovan sweepstakes of 2017. Cough cough New York City FC cough cough.