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Landon Donovan gets the captain’s armband for Galaxy

Apr 1, 2013, 10:23 AM EDT

Los Angeles Galaxy v Toronto FC Getty Images

Any questions about whether Landon Donovan would be accepted back into the Galaxy locker room following his four-month sabbatical from the game got a big answer on Saturday.

Donovan, with just a few practices behind him, got into his team’s contest against Toronto. We talked about that already.

But lesser noticed in the meaning and significance of all this – not just to the Galaxy, of course, but perhaps to the United States national team and its drive along the Road to Rio – was a gesture from veteran defender Todd Dunivant, a former U.S. international and a highly respected figure around MLS.

Dunivant called Donovan over and handed him the captain’s armband.

The Galaxy left back talked about it like “no big deal.” But clearly it is, a powerful gesture of acceptance back into the group. What Dunivant said about it:

It was just a symbolic gesture to show that we had fully welcomed him back. He’s as much as part of these team as he ever was, so it’s as simple as that. He’s been our leader and it’s more of a symbolic gesture than anything.”

Donovan said he was initially taken aback and even attempted to humbly decline; Dunivant insisted, and that was that.

(MORE: Thoughts and highlights of the Galaxy’s 2-2 draw in Toronto)

  1. cdhoeger - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    Classy move by Dunivant. I’m sure it meant a lot for Landon to be able to put on the armband, and if there were any lingering animosity from his “sabbatical” in the locker room from anyone, Dunivant’s gesture surely put those feelings to bed. So important for team chemistry moving forward. I’m not an LA supporter, but I believe this bodes very well for their season.

  2. valiantdraws - Apr 1, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    Seems to me, after Beckham’s loyalty of convenience to Galaxy, that Landon would be forgiven.

    A bigger issue I would have with anyone miffed at him, though, is this notion that mental health is somehow less important than physical, when both are equally important. Landon was not in it mentally. He needed to get away from the game for a bit. If he said he needed some time to rest a sore knee or something, people wouldn’t even blink.

    I’m glad he’s captain again, if only because he’s the heart and soul of the team.

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