Donovan targets Friday return after stellar Reserve League stint
CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan got his first in-game action in nearly a month on Tuesday with an impressive 33 minute performance in the LA Galaxy’s comprehensive 4-0 Reserve League victory over the Portland Timbers.
The Galaxy captain wasted no time making an impact as he tallied a goal and an assist within nine minutes of coming on in the 57th minute of play for another Galaxy forward currently recovering from injury, Edson Buddle.
Just three minutes after coming on, Donovan fired a through-ball that found fellow substitute Pat Noonan for LA’s second goal of the game. Then, in the 65th minute, Noonan repaid the favor as Donovan played a ball wide for Noonan, who sent a cross back into the path of the Galaxy captain, who finished with a right footed volley. Following the match, Donovan was pleased with his performance off the bench.
"Well, that's your job when you come off the bench,” Donovan told reporters of his impact after the match. “On a day like today, it's a lot easier than normal because it's really hot and everyone is kind of worn out so if you have any kind of energy then you can make an impact and Pat [Noonan], Jack [McBean] and I were able to do that."
Although Donovan was highly productive in his stint with the reserves, the Galaxy forward was embroiled in a race against the clock to be made available after training intermittently with the group since sustaining his injury on August 15.
"I asked [the coaching staff] last week, if I was ready, if I could play and they wanted to see how I had progressed,” said Donovan. “I was still not training on Friday or Saturday and on Sunday, I was able to do a little bit. So if I had the chance, I wanted to play and [Galaxy assistant coach and Reserve League coach] Curt [Onalfo] was great and let me play."
After the match, Onalfo was pleased with Donovan’s impact on the Galaxy’s Reserve League victory.
“We were pleased to bring him into a game, obviously, he had a huge impact. I think that psychologically, it’s big for him to get those 30 minutes and he can help us out Friday,” said Onalfo. “We had a majority of the possession and they were doing a lot of defending so now all of a sudden, from their stand point, psychologically when you see Landon Donovan coming, you think ‘oh my God. ’ He was certainly not only a boost but certainly a psychological boost for our team.”
With his first stint on the road to recovery completed, Donovan is optimistic—albeit cautiously so that he’ll be able to participate in Friday’s match against the Colorado Rapids.
"I'll be ready for Friday,” Donovan said. “That's always dictated by the game, but the thing is, as a forward it's a little easier than if you are in the midfield doing a lot of doggy work. I should be fine."