LA Galaxy wins as Landon Donovan returns
MLS week 29: LA Galaxy 4-2 Orlando City FC
LA Galaxy remains undefeated at home in 15 games [8-0-7], sitting at the second place of the Western Conference standings. The game against Orlando City saw the return of LA Galaxy and US Soccer legend Landon Donovan coming off a 20 months retirement!
Coach Bruce Arena comments on the win and Donovan’s impact on his squad:
On the circumstance that had to be in place for Landon Donovan to play and what he thought of his performance:
“First off, I really don’t think that’s the story of the game. And I don’t want to be critical of your journalistic qualities and all, but the certain conditions would be a 4-1 lead with about 10 minutes left. You see he has a long way to go; he’s on the treadmill now. It’s going to take a while, we knew that. Probably no other circumstances would have allowed me to play him today, but I wanted him to get out there and reward the crowd for showing up and all. It helps Landon see how far he has to go.”
On Giovani dos Santos’ defensive effort over the past few games:
“He’s doing very well. This was a little bit of an issue, but I think he’s now a year into playing on a full time basis. As heralded as he was and is, he has not played on a regular basis in his club careers. Now he’s a year in and this season is probably the fullest season he’s had in his career. And now he’s a year in. This season is probably the fullest season he’s had in his career. And you can see that he’s now getting fitter, getting more experienced, understanding this league and understanding the things that he needs to do to make himself a better player and also make our team a better team. And you can see that happening. He has 14 goals now. For that position, that’s pretty good. In that position, strikers usually score that many goals and he’s not a striker. It’s pretty good stuff.”
Donovan shared his thoughts on the game:
On the night as a whole:
“It was really enjoyable. It was fun to be back in the stadium with the atmosphere and the crowd and being with all the guys again. Great to win obviously and that made the day a lot better. I realize I have a long way to go. I might have played five minutes or so and maybe completed one pass. It makes you realize it’s a whole different level. I have to get myself going again so I can really contribute, because not every week is going to be a charity five or ten minutes.
I was excited. It’s just weird to be back in this mold because it’s real. It’s really intense. The league has gotten dramatically better since I’ve been gone. When I looked at Orlando’s lineup, I mean they have really, really good players all over the field. It’s just amazing to see how this league has changed. There’s no room to be not fit, not sharp. I’ve got to be on it if I want to contribute.”
On his motivation for being on the field today and coming back to the team:
“I think I had much more impact today in the locker room and helping out a few guys at halftime then I did on the field. And if that’s the way I contribute, then that’s great. Obviously in a perfect world, I can help on the field. But you saw a team, without Robbie Keane for most of the game, score four goals. There’s a lot of talent on this team and Steven Gerrard’s not even healthy right now. There’s not a ton I need to do in that way… maybe a play here or there. But I can help in, hopefully, a lot of different ways. That’s a big part of the motivation and the reason.”