I was a bit surprised when I heard Landon Donovan was called up to the U.S. Men's National Team to take part in a pair of World Cup Qualifying matches in mid-October. After all, the Los Angeles Galaxy team captain injured his knee in the Oct. 6 match against Real Salt Lake. However, it turns out LD needs some time to "recover." As a result, he has been ruled out of the WC qualifiers.
In the latter half of the Galaxy-RSL match, Donovan had to receive medical attention after a challenge from RSL defender Jámison Olave. It appeared that he had suffered a knee injury. Later, he said his knee felt much better and skipped his scheduled MRI on October 8. Yet, although Donovan appeared set to play with the USMNT, further evaluation ruled him out of both qualifying games. Now, it is unclear how long the Galaxy captain will be sidelined.
If Donovan is unable to play with the USMNT, then I expect he will also miss some time with the Galaxy. The good news is we don't have another regular season game until October 21, when we take on the San Jose Earthquakes. This is an important game and the Galaxy would greatly benefit from Donovan in the lineup. Most importantly, we need him in the postseason. In 2011, Donovan scored the game winner for the MLS Cup and was voted the Cup MVP. Currently, L.A. is in 4th place in the West. If they can't move up in the standings, they will have to take part in a knockout round game in order to advance in the postseason.
As far as goals, assists and starts go, Donovan is a record setter for the USMNT. However, he has had trouble staying healthy this year. In fact, a bout of bronchitis forced him to withdraw from the USMNT roster prior to the U.S. friendly against Italy in Genoa on Feb. 29, 2012. After an eight month absence from the team, Donovan scored a hat trick in the American's 5-1 victory over Scotland for a friendly in late May. This was the last time Donovan had a major impact in a game for the U.S. On August 15, Donovan was able to play with the USMNT for a friendly against Mexico. Unfortunately he suffered a hamstring strain early in the match. That injury sidelined him for close to a month and also prevented him from getting a call up for the World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica on Sept. 7 and 11.
Donovan may miss out on these recent WC qualifying matches. He might not be able to play in some future Galaxy games. However, one thing I am certain of is that LD will do something spectacular in the near future.
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- Landon Donovan
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