Landon Donovan has been exactly what the Galaxy need from him so far


Landon Donovan has come off the bench and played a total of 23 minutes. So to say that his return from retirement is still in its early stages is a massive understatement. Still, the LA Galaxy have to feel pretty good about what they've seen so far.

The 34-year-old gave the Galaxy a bright seven minutes in his first match a week ago, showing more jump and quickness than you would expect from a player his age who had been out for nearly two years. He had a couple nice passes and his touch was decent. All things considered, it was a good showing. After all, expectations were reasonably pretty low and he came into a game the Galaxy led 4-1. It was just about getting his feet wet again.

Then Donovan came on for 17 minutes against Sporting Kansas City. This time, the Galaxy were on the road and playing a Western Conference playoff team. LA also found themselves trailing, 2-1, and in desperate need of an equalizer. And guess who gave it to them?

There's nothing special in that goal, but it's also not one to be completely dismissed. Donovan times his run well, finds space and finishing clinically to the bottom corner from 15 yards on your left foot is far from automatic. Most players in MLS wouldn't come close to putting that where Donovan did.

Beyond that, Donovan put in some good defensive work. The Galaxy couldn't let Sporting keep the ball, not with LA chasing a goal, so Donovan dropped into the midfield to help defensively. Then he transitioned to attack, becoming both responsible in possession and a late runner that troubled the Sporting defense, as we saw on the goal.

It's still far too early to tell how good Donovan can be this season or what kind of role he will end up in for the Galaxy. How fit he can get in the month before the playoffs is still a giant question mark and he may never go 90 minutes, instead serving primarily as a spark off the bench. He may be Landon Donovan, but he's still a 34-year-old newly out of retirement.

The good news for LA is they don't need him to star or even be regularly reliable. They're stocked with attacking talent, from Robbie Keane to Sebastian Lletget and Emmanuel Boateng. Then there's the injured Giovani dos Santos and Steven Gerrard, not to mention Gyasi Zardes, who may return for the playoffs. The Galaxy just need a spark and, so far, Donovan looks more than capable of giving them that.