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Landon Donovan goes all 90 for L.A. Galaxy

Oct 29, 2012, 10:51 AM EDT

Los Angeles Galaxy v Sporting Kansas City Getty Images

Anybody care to guess which four teams in MLS are least excited about Landon Donovan’s reemergence as a potential force for the Galaxy?

I think we can all agree that it’s Vancouver, Seattle, Real Salt Lake and San Jose. You might also recognize that foursome as the MLS Western Conference playoff field. Well, those four plus the Galaxy, obviously.

Donovan was hurt three weeks ago, suffering an oddly difficult-to-diagnose knee injury. He hasn’t played since.

But there he was last night, hoping to get 60 minutes, according to Galaxy manager Bruce Arena, in a “get fit, get sharp” effort against the Seattle Sounders.

(MORE: Highlights and context of the Galaxy’s 1-0 win)

Donovan started and played 90 minutes. His confidence and finishing isn’t there, although he was still able to arrange a few nice chances.

But seeing Donovan at less than full speed underscores exactly what makes his 90-minute shift incredibly important. Because Galaxy supporters want the U.S. all-time leading scorer to have this performance of lesser on a nice Sunday night in a match that doesn’t mean much to the bigger picture. They want this outing from Donovan-lite out of the doggone way. They do not want to see this game from Donovan on Thursday, in a 90-minute elimination contest against Vancouver with zero margin for error.

Thursday’s match at the Home Depot Center is a one-game knockout.

Here’s what Donovan had to say about playing all 90 minutes Sunday.