[MLS 2013 COUNTDOWN]Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena says Landon Donovan's decision to not return to training until the last week of March means he probably won't be playing until close to the end of April. Is he upset at the situation? “Sure, it could be earlier,” he told reporters on Monday, “but it is what it is."
Arena respects the decision of his star player, whom he coached on the 2002 and 2006 World Cup teams and has coached on the Galaxy since 2008.
"Am I unhappy about it? No, I'm not unhappy. Whether I think it's unnecessary or not is probably not important, what I think here. That's the player, how he feels and what he thinks he needs."
Four times in the last eight years, Donovan has spent the MLS offseason playing abroad. He played re-joined Bayer Leverkusen in 2005 and played on loan at Bayern Munich in 2009 and Everton in 2010 and 2012.
Robbie Keane played on loan following his first MLS season but did not return to English this winter. He supports Donovan's decision.
“Of course, it's difficult when you're having one of your best players [missing], so of course you want him here at the start of the season,” he said. “But if the extra two weeks are going to do him a world of good, well, then ... good.”
MLS PRESEASON SCHEDULE:
Tuesday, Feb. 19
Chivas USA vs. Gangwon FCat Titan Stadium in Fullerton, Calif.
Los Angeles vs. Tijuana "B"at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Wednesday, Feb. 20
AIK Stockholm vs. San Jose(Portland Preseason Tournament) at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Ore.
Charleston Battery vs. Chicago(Carolina Challenge Cup) at Blackbaud Stadium in Daniel Island, S.C.
Houston vs. Vancouver(Carolina Challenge Cup) at Blackbaud Stadium in Daniel Island, S.C.
Philadelphia vs. D.C. Unitedat Dewey O. Boster Sports Complex in Deltona, Fla.
Portland vs. FC Dallas(Portland Preseason Tournament) at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Ore.
*Real Salt Lake vs. New England(Desert Diamond Cup) at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz.
*Seattle vs. New York(Desert Diamond Cup) at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz.
*Streamed on mlssoccer.com