Put on some tape of any U.S. national team game in the last decade. If it was a meaningful, competitive game, at some point during the course of the match you'll catch sight of the gleam of Landon Donovan's forehead. (Donovan jokingly called it "a big surface area" after training on Thursday.)
So Friday's World Cup qualifier against Jamaica will have a surreal feel, with Donovan sidelined with a hamstring injury that has, thus far, prevented him from training. He expects to resume practicing this weekend or early next week.
"Initially I was hoping I could be on the national team trip, but if it doesn't happen it doesn't happen," Donovan said. "You've just got to keep going day by day."
Recovery from the injury the LA Galaxy captain sustained in the 1-0 win over Mexico in Azteca Stadium is taking longer than expected.
"It's getting better," the 30-year-old said. "It just takes more time as you get older, unfortunately."
The all-time U.S. scoring leader targeted the Sept. 14 match against the Colorado Rapids for his return. The international break gives him an extra two weeks to heal and regain fitness. Donovan added that the Galaxy winning their last four games "helps a lot. It takes the pressure off."
No doubt he'll feel relieved if the United States takes care of Jamaica in Kingston and, four days later, in Columbus.
"I'll be fan No. 1 tomorrow night watching the U.S. game," Donovan said.
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- Landon Donovan