Guess Who’s Back?
by Luis Eduardo Flores
Guess who’s back? Back again. Landon’s back, tell a friend. That’s right; the USMNT legend is lacing up his boots once again for the LA Galaxy.
Landon Donovan really doesn’t need an introduction; as he was MLS’ “golden boy”. What is needed are the answers to the following questions. Now that Donovan is stepping out of retirement, what does that mean for his future? Is his return going to be short-term spell or is here to stay all the way into the season? Will he return to the national team for friendlies and World Cup qualifiers? Only he knows those answers; but it’s always good to analyze the ups and downs of Donovan’s return.
For starters, let’s look at the Western Conference standings. Currently, the LA Galaxy is in 2nd place; right behind FC Dallas. The Galaxy has already secured their spot in the Conference Semi-finals and they are competing for the top spot in the Western Conference. In addition to that, the team is doing great offensively. Giovanni dos Santos has stepped up and became one of the league’s best forwards. What Donovan is bringing to the table is a little bit more attacking power. Again; the Galaxy isn’t desperate, but a little bit more attacking power won’t hurt. The following is can be determined based on how long will Donovan be active. This is something can has been repeated so many times, because it’s true. Donovan is a veteran of the game, so he can guide of the offense to make them more dangerous.
Ok; while it’s great and nostalgic for longtime fans, the following has to be taken into consideration. That is his age and health. Donovan isn’t an old man either; that is clear. Yet, at his age, he won’t be moving at the pace of a 21 year old. It shouldn’t be a surprise that his performance out on the field is not spectacular. This isn’t to downplay his credibility; it’s just the truth. He will most likely have his moments that will awe the fans. We saw this in one of Mexico’s greatest forwards; Cuauhtémoc Blanco. When Blanco passed his prime, he made sporadic appearances with the national team (usually as a sub), before officially retiring. Fans saw shades of Blanco’s younger self in some of his last games. With Donovan; that is something that we will most likely see. Donovan being a sub more than a starter will best suit the team and Donovan. Actually, that is something that can benefit Donovan on much longer time frame.
Being on the bench isn’t the most ideal place for players since they game from the sideline. In Donovan’s case, he can use it to learn from a manager’s perspective. In that area, there are so many things that Donovan can learn that might lead to become the manager of the LA Galaxy or even the national team.
The only downside to having Donovan back so late into the season is as to how “rusty” is he on the field. He hasn’t played way over a year, so he’ll have to re-familiarize himself with the field and his fellow players. Right now since the playoffs are almost here, having Donovan out on the field can have its payoff. At the same time, what if he does not produce some offensive quality and in the end his return ends up being a flop? That is a big risk that the team has to take into consideration.
Here’s another truth, do not hold your breath on the possibility of Donovan returning to the national team. The same ups and downs apply to the team; even more know that the national squad is working on World Cup qualifiers. Plus, Donovan’s relationship with Jurgen Klinsmann isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. That is a factor that lend itself on Donovan possibly not suiting up for the USMNT.
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