Arena wary of World Cup stars' fitness and fatigue

"Heavy legged" Donovan could take time off in coming weeks

donovan_buddle

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Landon Donovan could use a
break.  

Since leaving the Los Angeles Galaxy in mid-May, Donovan
traveled to the East Coast for U.S. World Cup training camp, played in
one friendly, went to South Africa for the World Cup and played in one
tune-up match, three group stage games and one elimination match.

Then, he went back to the East Coast for a two-day media blitz before
finally arriving back home in Southern California on Thursday.

Despite
complaining of a hamstring injury, Donovan played all 90 minutes in a
3-1 win over Seattle on Sunday. And while he helped the Galaxy to a 3-1
win, one thing did not change: He still needs that rest.

“We
spoke about getting some rest at some point,” Donovan said. “I don’t
know whether it’s now or down the line. I’ve played a lot of games this
year and my body is pretty worn out. I need some time to rest.”

Donovan
set up the game’s first goal on Sunday when he found fellow World Cup
veteran Edson Buddle in the middle
of the penalty area on a corner kick in the 19th minute. There were
other opportunities early on that Donovan could have put away—or gotten
off a shot on goal, at least—but was unable to as his explosiveness
seemed lacking.

Chalk that up to fatigue, Galaxy coach Bruce
Arena said.

“You could see early in the game Landon’s legs were
still a little heavy and hasn’t quite obviously recovered from the
games, the travel and all of that," Arena said. "We thought that could
happen in the game [on Sunday]. Certainly to Landon’s credit, his desire
to be here and be on the field and try to make us successful were
certainly there.”

While he played in his first game back,
Donovan might not exactly pick up where he left off and continue playing
90 minutes every time out. In fact, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said
Donovan might not participate in the Galaxy’s upcoming league match.

“If he needs some time off, we’re going to give him some time off,”
Arena said. “That may be a decision we make this week. There’s a chance
he won’t go to New England.”

Donovan, of course, isn’t the only
Galaxy player to return from South Africa. Buddle was also on the World
Cup team but played just 39 minutes in South Africa. Late in the first
half, Buddle lay on the ground in apparent pain. Buddle was removed in
the 62nd minute.

Arena said Buddle’s Achilles tendon took a bit
of a beating during the match.

“He just got kicked basically and
got kicked there again in the second half, and that’s why we took him
out,” Arena said.

Buddle said his issues were more with lack of
match fitness than outright fatigue, and that he probably wouldn’t get
away with asking Arena for some down time.

“Unfortunately he
won’t take that for an answer,” Buddle said. “Definitely sharpness for
each game is missing because I haven’t played in a while, but I think as
the time goes on and I get more games, I should get a lot sharper.”

Ultimately, playing games with Buddle and Donovan in the lineup in
July and August is important, but it is more important to have them fit
and available towards the end of the season.

“We just want to be
careful with these guys,” Arena said. “Landon [has] more of a fatigue
issue. With Edson, not that much activity over the last six weeks [but
he has still] had to deal with the travel and the time zones and
everything else, so he’s not fully there and is going to need a little
bit of time.”