CARSON, Calif. – When Landon Donovan returned to the LA Galaxy from national team duty, everything seemed fine. He played 90 minutes for the United States twice in a four-day span, then went the distance in the Galaxy's 1-0 win over Philadelphia on Saturday.
But the man needs his rest. So says his coach, Bruce Arena.
Donovan did not participate in either of the Galaxy's training sessions this week, citing rest as the reason.
“Landon's getting a little rest,” Arena said after Wednesday’s practice. “He had a long week last week, with two international [games] and the Philly game. He doesn't need to be out here.”
The Galaxy will depart on a 10-day road trip on Thursday that will see the club play games at D.C. United, Toronto FC and Chicago. Arena said he hoped Donovan would be fit enough to play for the club on Saturday but declined whether to say if his plan for the game included Donovan.
“The plan isn’t done yet,” Arena said. “Today is Wednesday.”
Donovan declined to pursue an offseason loan deal, opting instead to rest. And although he got plenty of it over the winter, coaches are taking precautions against burning him out in 2011. The Galaxy will play a minimum of 41 games across three competitions and Donovan will also likely participate with the US National Team, logging extra travel miles in the process.
“It’s early in the year where we can be more cautious,” assistant coach Dave Sarachan said.
When it came to giving Donovan the rest, coaches had their options.
“We could have kept him out of the Philly game or just given him some rest this week,” Arena said.
Still, when the Galaxy take the field at RFK Stadium on Saturday, Donovan should be in the lineup along with the other regular starters.
“We're hopeful," Sarachan said. “We’re kind of seeing where that all plays out, but we hope he is [in the lineup].”
Hear from Donovan's Galaxy teammates, Juan Pablo Angel and David Beckham: