The Galaxy’s Landon Donovan, pictured second from left above during the Galaxy’s White House visit earlier this week, spoke to the media for the first time today since his self-enforced exile from the game while he attempted to reclaim his mental and physical verve.
A teleconference Thursday furnished an honest, candid, revealing look at the psyche of a world class player: “In this society and a lot of societies we have a sort of stigma that being in a difficult mental place is not acceptable,” he said, adding that while recovering from physical injury is acceptable, mental exhaustion is viewed differently. “It’s a little peculiar to me. … If you’re really in a place where you’re struggling mentally then we need to be more compassionate with people in all walks of life (who need time off).
Donovan said that some had believed his desire for time off was not “captain-like,” although he would like to reclaim the captaincy of both club and country if possible. He also contended he believed his conduct showed responsibility, not the opposite, since ensuring his level of mental engagement was healthy was the sign of a leader.
However, Donovan conceded his loan at Everton early last year may well have contributed to his physical and mental exhaustion.
Donovan said he was unsure how much of a role he would play in next week’s CONCACAF Champions League semifinal first leg: “I could potentially see myself playing some role. I think it may be a little early to say I’m going to be playing significant minutes but you never know. Obviously I understand the importance of this tournament to this club, this team and this organization.”
Hot Dog: A skeptical-looking Landon Donovan watches the Commander-in-Chief display his command of a soccer ball at a White House ceremony today honoring the championship-winning LA Kings and LA Galaxy (AP Photo).
You can watch the ceremony, which will also the NHL champion LA Kings, beginning at 10: 35 a.m. here.
Those of you who follow me on Twitter already know Landon Donovan will rejoin the team for the occasion. Presumably, Donovan will stay with the two-time defending MLS champion for its road trip that includes a game Saturday in Toronto as he works toward match fitness.
Back home, below are the farcical scenes that greeted Costa Rica in Denver, where it was the Americans that scored the lucky and deciding goal Friday of the World Cup qualifier, as our sister newspaper, The Denver Post, reports. Watch:
As expected MLS has moved the Galaxy’s scheduled April 6 home game against the Montral Impact to Oct. 16, ensuring the club have the weekend off between their two-leg CONCACAF Champions League semifinal April 3 and 10 against Monterrey. The Galaxy also plan to move their reserve league opener against the LA Blues to an as yet unspecified date.
For the same reason, Chivas USA’s April 7 match at Seattle was moved to 7 p.m. Sept. 4 because of the Sounders’ participation in the competition (Chivas USA plays in Vancouver Sept. 1, by the way, raising the possibility for Goats fans of a two-game road trip the week of Labor Day).
Finally, Chivas USA’s May 12 road game against the Portland Timbers has been moved up an hour to 2 p.m.
Led by Irish talisman and club captain Robbie Keane, the Galaxy would appear to have the rub of the green today at home against their struggling cross hallway rivals in an early season SuperClasico that has an air of mystery about it and a notable absence of hype.