CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan appears to hitting his stride after a sensational month with the U.S. National Team, but now he’s eager to recreate that form for his club side, the LA Galaxy.
Donovan returned to training on Friday as the Galaxy prepare for Saturday’s match against Juventus at Dodger Stadium. The 31-year-old rejoins LA after a stellar month with the U.S. National Team that saw him score seven goals and tally seven assists in seven game while helping the U.S. win the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Donovan picked up plenty of accolades as he won the tournament’s Golden Ball (MVP) award as well as a share of the tournament’s Golden Boot for the leading scorer. Once rejoining the Galaxy, however, Donovan was simply focused on looking to the future rather than reflecting on his stellar month of July.
“It’s nice to be home. It’s nice to be back in training with these guys, and I’m looking forward to playing tomorrow and put the past behind us, and move forward. This team has a lot going on in the next few months, so we’ve got to move forward,” said Donovan, who said that he feels like he’s recovered his “pop and speed” during his time with the National Team. “I feel good, I feel confident, I feel like hitting the net a few times has helped, and I feel like my energy is really good. I feel like I’m in real form and real shape now, and I want to carry this over to this team.”
First on the docket for Donovan and the Galaxy are the 29-time Italian champions at Dodger Stadium. The match will be a first soccer game ever played at Chavez Ravine.
The self-professed “lifelong Dodgers fan” is expected to make his return to action for the final match of the Guinness International Championship Cup doubleheader. After watching the Dodgers for years and seeing the likes of Steve Sax, Fernando Venezuela, Oral Hershiser, Hideo Nomo, Mike Piazza, and now Yasiel Puig roam the field at Dodger Stadium, Donovan is excited about his own opportunity.
“For me, it’s a dream. In some ways, it’d be fun to get a baseball mitt and bat and play baseball instead, but it’ll be fun to be at that stadium in front of a decent crowd,” said Donovan. “We’re looking forward to it. It’s a game that for all intents and purposes is meaningless, but it’s still a good exercise for us.
“It’s going to be fun. I think it’ll be a good atmosphere, and for those of us, who know the history of the Dodgers, it’ll be special.”
But once the fun and games of the ICC end next week, the Galaxy will begin the stretch run that includes a congested schedule that will see the Galaxy look to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs while also seeking to advance out of the group stage in CONCACAF Champions League play.
With LA’s sights set firmly on defending their MLS Cup title and moving on in the Champions League, Donovan admits that he and the rest of his Galaxy teammates will need to be at their best in the coming weeks.
“It’s been hard the last couple months; it’s been choppy with guys coming in and out. Just being able to train with our full team makes a big difference,” said Donovan. “All these games help us a lot for later in the season. We have a completely packed schedule, and there are very few games where we don’t have three games in a week. We’re going to use to everybody, so having these experiences are priceless.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com