As dejected as Landon Donovan felt by being left off the U.S. World Cup roster, that shocking news might really benefit the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Instead of continuing to train with the U.S. team, the most decorated American in men's soccer should return to MLS play Sunday night and may be motivated to prove his omission was a major mistake as Los Angeles hosts the Philadelphia Union.
"One of the first things that I thought of was that 'Oh, great we got Landon back!'" midfielder Robbie Rogers told the Galaxy's official website. "He's the best player in MLS and he's coming back to us."
Despite a national team-record 57 international goals, Donovan will not play in a fourth World Cup after U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann surprisingly cut him Thursday.
"The guys that we chose, they're a little step ahead of Landon in certain areas," Klinsmann said Friday, adding that Donovan "maybe is not the one now anymore to go one against one all the time or going into the box or finishing off."
The 32-year-old attacker is tied with Jeff Cunningham for the most goals in MLS history with 134 but has none in seven games for Los Angeles this year.
"I certainly didn't want to be back (in Los Angeles) under these circumstances or this soon, but I love these guys," Donovan said. "These are my teammates, and this is my home. I will not let this affect me going forward."
His return could spark the Galaxy (3-3-3), who are tied for the fewest goals in the Western Conference with 10.
"I think that the quicker that he gets on the field and gets integrated with the team, the quicker that he'll be able to help the Galaxy out and forget about not being in that final 23," assistant coach Pat Noonan said.
Coach Bruce Arena said he would have kept Donovan on the U.S. team but expects him to be ready for this match.
"He's doing well given the circumstances," Arena said. "... I would think that he'll be available to play on Sunday for sure."
One player who won't be is defender Omar Gonzalez, who made the final U.S. roster.
No Philadelphia player made the team after Maurice Edu was cut Thursday, so he may play Sunday even though coach John Hackworth didn't originally have his star midfielder in the gameplan.
"We're glad he is going to be with us in Los Angeles," Hackworth told the league's official website. "It's unfortunate for him that he didn't make the 23 - we thought he deserved that opportunity. But we welcome him back because we're a better team with him."
The Union (2-6-5) have been pretty bad with or without him and have lost four of five. Most recently, they fell into a four-goal deficit in the 67th minute last Saturday in a 5-3 home loss to New England.
Los Angeles is coming off a 2-1 home win over Dallas on Wednesday after going winless in four straight road games. Robbie Keane scored his sixth goal in eight matches, and Gyasi Sardes had a goal and an assist in his first start since the season opener.
The Galaxy are 4-1-1 in this all-time series and won the only meeting last season, 4-1 in Philadelphia as Donovan had a goal and two assists.
"The first thought when I saw it was that I couldn't believe (Donovan) didn't make the World Cup team," Hackworth said. "And the second thought was that I can't believe we have to play him this weekend."