February 18, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Los Angeles Galaxy
CARSON, Calif. - Landon Donovan is returning to the LA Galaxy at the end of March and now it is up to his LA Galaxy teammates to hold down the fort until he returns to the field.
The Galaxy announced on Sunday that Donovan will be returning to the club in late March while the LA captain steps away from the game momentarily. After LA's morning training session on Monday, Donovan's teammates were pleased with the announcement.
"We're excited," said defender Todd Dunivant. "We didn't know exactly when but we knew that he would be coming back and that's enough for us knowing that he's going to get his rest and everything he needs then come back fresh and ready to go."
Although many have speculated if there was any discontent in the Galaxy locker room over Donovan missing the first month of the season, Dunivant quickly nipped that theory in the bud.
"No I don't think so, we talked to him at the end of this season and we knew that he needed that time. He's known it for a while- since the middle of last year is when he began talking about this," said Dunivant. "The guy has been playing for 12 years plus year round. I don't know how many January camps he's been in or how many offseason loans that he's had but he hasn't had a break.
"Knock on wood, but he hasn't been injured either so he hasn't even had a break that way," added Dunivant. "His body has been going nonstop and mentally too that is difficult so to give him an extra month or two, it's certainly going to be a good investment for us."
With Donovan likely to be off the field until the "end of April" according to Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena as he regains his fitness, the stage is seemingly set for Mike Magee to take over the spot alongside Robbie Keane up top. During Donovan's absences in 2012, the pair enjoyed plenty of success together including a Keane assist on a game-winning-goal by Magee that sealed a 1-0 LA win against FC Dallas in late-July.
But no matter who he is partnered with up top, Keane has full confidence in LA's forward corps.
"We're two players who like to get the ball down and play to feet," said Keane of Magee. "Mike is a clever football player and we did it before when Landon was out quite a bit last season, so for us, it's not a problem. We also have Jose Villarreal who is going to play a big part this year when he comes back for the national team and Jack McBean as well so we have some good options [up top]."