No Ricketts? No Donovan? No problem, say LA Galaxy
CARSON, Calif. — Losing a player like Landon Donovan for an extended period of time should be cause for concern.
After all, take away a player who leads the league in goals (eight), is instrumental on both sides of the ball and wears the captain’s armband, and you take away the team’s heart and soul.
Galaxy players, however, do not necessarily agree.
“Building a team is about depth and being able to replace those individuals when they are missing and unable to play,” LA forward Juan Pablo Ángel said. “I think we have done that throughout the year.”
Donovan and 2010 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Donovan Ricketts will be absent from the Galaxy’s lineup for the next stretch of games, starting against D.C. United on Friday (11 pm ET, Fox Soccer). Both are preparing for the Gold Cup and could each miss up to four games, depending on how far their national teams go in the tournament.
“We’ve played a bunch of games without those guys this year,” head coach Bruce Arena said. “Donovan Ricketts missed the first three games of the season, [and we] missed Landon for three games in a row, so it’s not anything different than what we’ve been dealing with all year.”
Both Donovan and Ricketts have each missed four matches for various reasons. Ricketts was injured for the first three games of season and also sat out a match against Sporting KC with illness. Donovan, meanwhile, missed a match because of international duty and then sat out three games with a knee injury.
“Obviously, [they are] two important players to us and to the team," midfielder David Beckham said. "[But] we’ve got players who will step in and do a great job. As much as you don’t want to lose players like Donovan and Landon, it’s part of soccer these days. It’s unfortunate, but we have to overcome that and win the game.”
Goalkeeper Josh Saunders should step in for Ricketts, as he has in previous matches this season. The midfield, though, is more of a collective effort to fill Donovan’s absence.
Still, whether it’s Michael Stephens, Chris Birchall or Paolo Cardozo who come into the midfield on a more regular basis, Donovan’s replacements will add something to the squad.
"I’m sure we’re going to miss [Donovan's] ability,” Ángel said. “Having said that, we have to be able to replace him as best as we can with players of different abilities that can offer different styles of play to the team, but we have to keep getting results.”