Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Donovan outlook: not so bleak

With 2009 being a crucial year for the United States national team, Landon Donovan figures to be a busy man. He'll likely play a major role for both club and country, but just how much he's around for both remains to be seen.

MLS did not shut down when the US national team plays but was a bit more accommodating this year than in year's past.

I figured I'd take a look at how the Galaxy and US national team's schedules line up and how many Galaxy games conflict with US dates. It's actually not as bad as you may think.

Donovan should play in at least the first 10 games of the season. The US has qualifiers on March 28 and April 1 but the Galaxy have no games between March 22 and April 4.

Then, the busy summer starts. The Galaxy plays a home game on May 30, which is a Saturday. The US plays at Costa Rica on June 3 and against Honduras in Chicago on June 6 before heading out to the Confederations Cup. Donovan could play in the Galaxy's game on May 30 and then go to Costa Rica afterward, so I'll give the Galaxy that game, and that brings the tally to 11.

But Donovan probably won't be around for the Galaxy's first three games in June at least. If the US does not advance past the group stage in the Confederations Cup, he might be able to play against Houston on June 28 (US-Egypt close out the group stage on June 21). I'll say the US doesn't advance and Donovan plays in the Houston game, so 12 games with, three games without.

July is a big question mark. If Donovan does not get called up for the Gold Cup squad, then he will not miss any games in July. If he's on the team, he'll likely miss four games, provided the US reaches the final. I'm going to say that Donovan does get called up for the Gold Cup and he'll miss four games. Total - with: 12, without: seven.

He probably won't miss any of the Galaxy's five games in August. And as luck would have it, the Galaxy don't have any games that conflict with any of the Americans' last four qualifiers. So he'll probably be available for all six Galaxy's games in September and October.

Final total - with: 23, without: seven. Of course, this is just by making an educated guess.

Donovan missed 10 games in 2005, the last time the Hex was played. He stands to be around more often for the Galaxy this season.


Edellaine said...

I'm really interested to see the system that Arena has put in place with Landon back.

The defense definitely doesn't have the pace to keep up with most teams forwards. And Dema is getting on in years so he can't really cover much for them.

Too bad Randolph is gone, because it seems with him the Galaxy would be a fairly well-built counterattacking team that packs the box and then relies on wingers (Lewis, Klein) to service the forwards and speedy defenders (Franklin, Delagarza if he gets to play) to stretch the other teams defense in the attacking third.

joel es latest soccer news said...

When Donovan goes on international duty, it will be interesting how the team performs. They appear to have a better squad than last year, but that is not saying much.