CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan emphatically eased any concerns about his health by going the distance in Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC in front of a sellout crowd of 27,000 at The Home Depot Center.
Donovan, who hadn’t seen any game action since a 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake on Oct. 6, went the full 90 minutes in the regular season finale and pronounced himself good to go for Thursday’s Knockout Round match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
There had been lingering questions about his availability, considering he suffered a bone bruise in his left knee late in the loss to Real Salt Lake, not to mention a partially torn ligament that might need postseason surgery. But he returned to full training this past Monday and said he was “ready” after training Friday.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said it was Donovan’s call as to how long he would play Sunday and he surprisingly went the distance.
Well, perhaps surprising to anyone except Donovan.
“This is what we do for living,” he said after the game. “Our job is to stay fit, even if you’re hurt. As much as you can.
“A lot of guys do the same thing.”
Arena had told Donovan before Sunday’s game he would go a minimum of 60 minutes – David Beckham, returning from a sprained ankle, went 62 -- “and I gave him the call on whether to keep going and he said he was fine,” Arena said. “He wanted to go.
“Landon usually takes about a half to get fit. He’s one of those rare breeds.”
Donovan, who hasn’t scored for the Galaxy since the 78th minute of a 3-1 win over Chivas USA on July 21st, said playing the full 90 minutes almost was out of necessity when right back Sean Franklin, who Arena said felt “a little tight” at halftime, was replaced by Bryan Gaul to start the second half.
“When Sean came out,” Donovan said, “it put us a little bit behind the eight ball, so I was fine. A little tired, but I was fine otherwise.
“I have enough days to get ready for Thursday, so it was good to get 90 (minutes) in.”
Donovan said getting in so much playing time after three-week absence will only help in the long run for himself, Beckham and the rest of the Galaxy. It’s all about building up continuity for the postseason and successfully defending the MLS Cup.
“There’s all sorts of benefits,” he said. “The physical part, just knowing you can play 90 minutes. Getting in a rhythm with the guys and more time on the field, the better.
“We wanted to have as many guys as possible play for as long as possible. We’re in the right place health-wise, I think we feel good.
We’re probably like every other team right now, we think we have a chance to win it.”