Donovan returns to Galaxy

i-93c53040c69ef3cfe15d4a1708c62d96-LDreturns.jpgU.S. international Landon Donovan returned to training with the Galaxy today after his World Cup exertions (AP Photos).

Reporter Phil Collin filed this story for Saturday’s dead tree edition on the return of Landon Donovan to the Galaxy.

This is the Associated Press version of the story that was filed Friday afternoon:

CARSON (AP) — A week after a disappointing loss in the World Cup, Landon Donovan said Friday he is proud of the U.S. team’s overall performance.

“At the same time, I think we felt that the Ghana game was a game we should’ve won,” Donovan said after his first practice with the Los Angeles Galaxy since returning from South Africa.

Ghana ousted the United States with a 2-1 overtime victory last Saturday in the World Cup’s second round.

Donovan, who with three World Cup goals was the undisputed star of the U.S. team, said he feels pride in the United States’ progress during the past several World Cups.

i-b4e62475051ab83c6b4b2a62f1d1b273-donovansmileslag.jpg“People assume that there’s linear progression from World Cup to World Cup,” Donovan said. “It couldn’t be further from the truth. France and Italy were in the final four years ago and neither of them got out of their group.

“The fact that we’ve now qualified for six in a row, and that we’ve gotten out of our group
two out of the last three, I think is a fantastic achievement for our country.”

Donovan attributed much of that progress to head coach Bob Bradley, who has guided the team since 2007. Bradley’s contract expires at the end of the year.

“I think Bob has done a fantastic job,” Donovan said. “The most telling thing about Bob’s
tenure, and all the players talked about this, is that there was no game we went into that we were in awe of or feared our opponent.

“I remember when I first came into the national team, we played against a lot of teams where you could see in guys’ eyes that they were scared. That’s never happened with Bob as the coach.”

Donovan said he feels so enthusiastic about returning to the Galaxy that he plans to remain in Major League Soccer for the immediate future. His first scheduled game with the Galaxy since his return is Sunday night against the Seattle Sounders at Home Depot Center.

Manchester City and Everton in England’s Premier League are reported to be interested in Donovan, who played for Everton on loan for six weeks earlier this year.

“Right now, I want to be in America,” Donovan said. “If there’s something serious to look at, then I will. I never say never to anything. But for now, I’m very excited to be

The two other players on the U.S. World Cup squad – the Galaxy’s Edson Buddle and Los Alamitos’ Jonathan Bornstein of Chivas USA returned to training Thursday with their respective clubs and reflected on their World cup experiences.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at Cheers!