For the majority of the offseason the big question in the LA Galaxy camp was about when Landon Donovan would return to play.
Donovan claimed after the 2012 MLS Cup win that he needed some time to get his mind and body okay with the thought of playing again. The Galaxy agreed to allow the Designated Player time away from the club to get his mind straight and be 100% ready when he felt the time was right.
It turns out, the time will be late March.
The Galaxy announced on Sunday that the club and Donovan came to an agreement about when he would return to the field with the club.
“After a series of collaborative discussions between Landon, his representative and our key club leaders, we have agreed to allow Landon to remain on an extended leave of absence and return to training with the team during the final week of March,” Galaxy GM and manager Bruce Arena said in a club statement.
“We understand this arrangement is not ideal,” Arena’s statement continues, “but we are confident it will allow Landon the time he needs to be both mentally and physically prepared for the upcoming season. We remain focused on our preparation for the start of the 2013 season and look forward to Landon rejoining us next month.”
The timing of Donovan’s return will mean he will miss out on the club’s first three regular season home matches, which will all be played at home: March 3 vs. Chicago, March 17 vs. Chivas USA and March 23 vs. Colorado.
It also means the US National Team will not see him return to help their quest in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil until the June qualifiers. This means he’ll miss out on the two games in March against Costa Rica and Mexico. It will be one of the first games in Mexico that the US will not have Donovan in a long while.