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Landon Donovan meets with reporters for first time in months

Mar 28, 2013, 12:46 PM EDT

2012 MLS Cup - Houston Dynamo v Los Angeles Galaxy Getty Images

Landon Donovan’s first meeting with reporters in months is over, and the U.S. national team’s all-time leading scorer had lots of interesting things to say.

Donovan answered questions after Thursday’s Galaxy practice at the Home Depot Center in his first get-together with members of the press since December; he went on sabbatical and more or less disappeared from public view after the MLS Cup post-game news conference four months ago. (Donovan did have some public comments relayed recently through the magic of citizen journalism last month.)

Donovan is saying all the right things, not just about the Galaxy but also about the U.S. national team. (It’s almost surreal, isn’t it, to think that the program’s all-time leading scorer and noted Mexican team killer was just one of us, just another Joe watching from the States as USMNT did proper battle in Mexico City?)

Donovan spoke with candor, respect and humility about his place with the Galaxy and the U.S. national team, and of his personal relationships with the respective managers, Bruce Arena and Jurgen Klinsmann. For instance, in discussing his conversations with Arena:

Understandably, no coach wants to lose one of their players for three months, or a few months of the season. At first, Bruce wasn’t ecstatic about it, but I’ve known Bruce a long time and I think he understood pretty clearly how passionate I was about needing this break and now I think everyone can agree that it was absolutely needed and the right thing to do.

Donovan talked about the need to work his way back into both teams, with absolutely no sense of entitlement, certainly the correct attitude considering that both teams have gone through periods of transition or (in the U.S. case) pretty rough times during the period of his absence.

Donovan still wants to get back on the field in early April. Looking at the Galaxy schedule, would it surprise anyone to see Donovan make an appearance off the bench during the team’s April 3 home leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal series against Monterrey? (Depending on what the match looks like over last 20 or so minutes, naturally.)

Meanwhile, teammates certainly seem happy to have their wise, quick attacker back on the field. Galaxy left back Todd Dunivant, a good friend of Donovan’s in addition to his longtime teammates, says Donovan may even make an impact quicker than people think.

  1. charliej11 - Mar 28, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Just like the dumb stints he did to play in England, this will be just another very small part and almost completely forgotten part of his career. Very meaningless in the grand scheme of a guy that will go down as one of the first great US soccer players.

  2. davideo35 - Mar 28, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    As an FC Dallas fan, I hope he’s back (but not yet in top form) by April 13, when LA Galaxy come to Frisco.

  3. scottp11 - Mar 28, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    Happy to hear it. LD is great for the MLS and also the US. I don’t necessarily blame him for taking time off. He played continuously for a good stretch and with the early MLS season, it’s all good with me. I actually like that it’s something of a selfish, personal decision he made. My biggest gripe about LD is that he tends to be aloof, so maybe this will have recharged his batteries.

  4. digbysellers - Mar 28, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    I blame him completely. Sorry, professional athletes don’t take time off for being tired…or traveling…or anything. This is his job, it’s what has allowed him to live a comfortable life and if he wants to stop playing and retire then fine. I have no issue with that. As I posted on the another LD post, imagine Kobe Bryant or Tom Brady or somebody of that stature taking time off. Ya’ think anybody would care about that? Probably, but those guys wouldn’t do that…even if it’s the first month of the season. They’ve got heart, they’ve got ball$, and they wouldn’t let their teammates down. It’s asinine to think that the USMNT guys aren’t a bit resentful of him bailing like this. If you think it’s all rainbows and lollipops in the locker room you’re sadly mistaken.

    • scottp11 - Mar 28, 2013 at 5:12 PM

      I’m not necessarily a huge LD fan and certainly not of LAG. But Michael Jordan took time off, a few times. So did Brett Farve and many, many baseball and basketball players who hop on with a club late in the season. Tom Brady plays football from September to January, 5 months per year and in 16 games, plus maybe 1-3. No one else plays the year-round schedule that soccer can sometimes have with the season, WC, WCQ, Gold Cup, other cups, etc.

      I don’t disagree that some guys might have some beef with him, I’m sure they may. But that’s up to LD and Jurgen. I think he’s also earned the right, in a way like MJ, to do whatever he wants.

      He’s always been a bit aloof, even more than his personality lets on. So I’d rather he get his head straight, be fully committed to club and country and give us his best. Not moping around.

  5. pmacd82 - Mar 29, 2013 at 1:47 AM

    His comment “I think everyone can agree that it was absolutely needed and the right thing to do,” will only be proven if through 2014 he plays with a vengeance.

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