Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
MLS and U.S. superstar Landon Donovan will return to soccer this spring, but don't expect to see him participating in First Kick, or playing at Azteca.
LA Galaxy and U.S. national team fans probably hoped to see Landon Donovan take the pitch at the beginning of the MLS season when his return from a short soccer hiatus was announced, but it turns out that he won't quite be ready for the start of the Galaxy's 2013 campaign. The team announced Sunday that Donovan will return to the team in the final week of March.
"We understand this arrangement is not ideal, but we are confident it will allow Landon the time he needs to be both mentally and physically prepared for the upcoming season," said Bruce Arena in a club press release. "We remain focused on our preparation for the start of the 2013 season and look forward to Landon rejoining us next month."
The Galaxy open their MLS season on March 3, against the Chicago Fire. Shortly afterwards, they resume CONCACAF Champions League play with a knockout stage tie against Herediano of Costa Rica. There is also a Super Clasico against Chivas USA on the schedule in the middle of the month, on March 17. The Galaxy's March schedule concludes with a home game against the Colorado Rapids on March 23 and a road game against Toronto FC on March 30.
While the details of Donovan's return are still to be ironed out and he could decide to return earlier at any time, this appears to disqualify him from the U.S. national team's March 26 trip to Azteca Stadium to face Mexico. Four days before that match, the USMNT faces a virtual must-win home game against Costa Rica.