EDGAR ZUNIGA - Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan has agreed to sign a multi-year contract that will keep him in Major League Soccer during the current World Cup cycle and beyond.
Donovan, 31, who fell off the radar at the end of last season to go on a three-month sabbatical from the public eye, has enjoyed a tremendous resurgence with both club and country, helping Galaxy push for a third consecutive MLS Cup while propelling the US National Team to a fifth CONCACAF Gold Cup title and the brink of World Cup 2014 qualification.
Donovan has contributed seven goals and seven assists for Los Angeles, who have climbed to second place in the Western Conference. The team has been playing better as the push for the playoffs heats up, scoring goals in bunches, including a Donovan hat trick in Dallas just over two weeks ago.
Donovan's five goals and stellar play throughout the Gold Cup were good enough for a three-way share of the Golden Boot award and the Golden Ball award, given to the tournament's most valuable player.
Playing on the last year of his MLS contract, there had been rumors swirling that Donovan was planning a return to the English Premier League, where he enjoyed a pair of successful loan stints with Everton, or even going south to play in Mexico's Liga MX.
Instead, Donovan's contract extension has become part of a recent trend of MLS signing or retaining top American talents, following on the footsteps of the deal that brought US captain Clint Dempsey to Seattle Sounders F.C. from Tottenham Hotspur and the retention of Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez, who seemed on the brink of going across the Atlantic.
If you include the return of San Jose Earthquakes defender Clarence Goodson before the start of the 2013 season, it seems that MLS is intent on keeping several USMNT starters stateside on the eve of the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.
While Donovan and his Galaxy teammates are looking to consolidate their position in the Western Conference as they gear up for a clash against archrivals San Jose this Saturday, looming on the horizon are a pair of World Cup qualifiers.
On Friday, Sep. 6, the US travels to Costa Rica for an always difficult match against the Ticos, and five days later take on Jamaica at Sporting Park, in Kansas City, Kan.