There is a familiar face in the starting lineup for the Galaxy and that’s Landon Donovan. With Robbie Keane (hip flexor) and Steven Gerrard (hamstring) sidelined, the possibility of Donovan getting more time this week was almost a given.
The Galaxy is coming off of a bye week and haven’t played since Oct. 1.
“A lot of times when you’re playing poorly and you lose, you want to get back on the field, but we needed time to reassess things and it gave us the chance to take step back, be honest and understand that if we want to have any chance of winning, there’s certain things we have to do right.
“We have as talented a team as any in this league. We know that. But if you don’t do the other things right, that the other teams in our league are doing, to be successful, then we have no chance. I think we’re all aware of that now
It was nice and quiet around the Galaxy this week. Nothing big happened, except for the return of Landon Donovan. Donovan ended his retirement and rejoined the club for the remainder of the season.
This is essentially the stretch drive of the season. The Galaxy has six games remaining, including today. With a victory, the Galaxy can vault into second place in the Western Conference and would be just four points behind FC Dallas.
Robbie Keane should be back today. Landon Donovan could be available. Oh and Orlando City SC has the firepower that could give the Galaxy defense some problems.
This should be fun.
Game day links (Mostly on Landon Donovan, OK, all about Landon Donovan)
After a brief retirement, Donovan, 34, is returning to the Galaxy, the move was confirmed Thursday after. The Galaxy released a video of Donovan putting on a No. 26 jersey.
When Donovan announced he was retiring two years ago, it sent shockwaves through the soccer world, especially after the season he had.
Donovan, who was born in Ontario and grew up in Redlands, scored 10 goals with 19 assists in 2014, leading the Galaxy to the MLS Cup.
Since his retirement, Donovan has spent time as an analyst for Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Fox Sports. He’s also re-married and had a baby boy (Talon). Donovan has also stepped into ownership, becoming a part-owner of Swansea City of the English Premier League.
In a Facebook statement, Donovan explained his reason of returning, the first thoughts hit him while working the Galaxy game against Vancouver, Aug. 27.
“Since my retirement, I have remained in close contact with many of the staff and players on the Galaxy. I spoke with some of them that week (against Vancouver) and they jokingly asked if I was ready to make a return to the field to help fill some of the void left by the injuries and departures. I reminded them that I haven’t played a meaningful soccer game in almost two years and I certainly couldn’t fill the holes left by those players.”
Landon Donovan equalizes for the Galaxy Saturday against D.C. United in Carson (AP Photo).
If you watched Saturday night’s Galaxy-D.C. United game you witnessed history.
That’s because Landon Donovan’s two goals tonight in the 2-1 win pushed him past Assistant Coach Cobi Jones as the Galaxy’s all-time leading scorer. Donovan has 71 goals now.
The funny thing is I don’t think many of my colleagues in the press box were aware of the significance of the goals and Donovan wasn’t asked about his achievement when he spoke after the game.
But the manner in which the goals came – Donovan essentially taking over a game and engineering a Galaxy comeback, as we’ve seen him do before – made the goals even more meaningful. And it’s a helluva statement about the kind of gritty player Donovan can be, especially when he gets a little ticked off, as I think he was tonight with the performance.
So I stuck around after everyone else had left the locker room to ask him about it:
Me: You do know you made history tonight, right?
Donovan: How’s that?
Me: You now have 71 goals for the Galaxy.
Donovan: Which is?
Me: You just surpassed Cobi Jones as the all-time leading scorer for this club.
Donovan: Did I? That’s awesome. Cobi has been the guy I’ve watched most throughout my career not only when I was young on TV, but also since I’ve been in MLS and especially since I’ve been with the Galaxy. I have a lot of respect for what he’s done and it’s nice to join that company.
Me: It’s a great game to do it in, too. I mean, (scoring) two goals, five minutes apart at the end of a game.
Donovan: Against D.C. – Cobi’s old nemesis. It’s nice to score, I like to win. And tonight asked for me to do a little bit more. But I really enjoy winning, so it was a good night.”
And it was a privilege to be there to see it.
Incidentally, let’s not forget that Donovan is also the leading U.S. National Team goalscorer with 45 goals in 128 games.
Oh, and I tried to get Cobi’s reaction, but he’d already left the stadium.
Relive some of Donovan’s best goals for the Galaxy in the last two years here:
I’ll be back a little later with a full post-game wrap.