Galaxy will have Donovan for KC test
The Los Angeles Galaxy received good news this week when Landon Donovan decided to forgo a US national team call-up to stay with his MLS squad.
It's certainly unwelcome news to Sporting Kansas City.
Donovan and the Galaxy look to end a three-game road winless streak against Kansas City on Monday.
Los Angeles (14-3-9) is playing its first MLS match since a 2-0 win against San Jose on Aug. 20. Its matchup against New York last Sunday was postponed because of Hurricane Irene.
The Galaxy haven't been completely idle, however, as they defeated Costa Rican side LD Alajuelense 2-0 in CONCACAF Champions League group play Thursday.
"For our legs, it was actually a great thing," Chad Barrett told the Galaxy's official website. "It gave us a chance to take some time off and recharge our batteries."
Not only should Los Angeles be well-rested, but the club gets the boost of having Donovan in the lineup after he chose not to travel to Belgium for a US friendly Tuesday. Donovan, who played the full 90 minutes in Friday's 1-0 loss to Costa Rica, leads the Galaxy with 11 goals, including two in a 4-1 win over Sporting KC on May 14.
Donovan has provided plenty of problems for Sporting KC, recording 13 goals and 13 assists in 28 matches.
"It's certainly a bonus," coach Bruce Arena said. "Landon is one of our better players, one of the better players in the league."
The Galaxy have won their last two and five of six. They have a 3-point lead over conference rival Seattle for the best record in the league and have a game in hand on the Sounders.
Donovan's unexpected presence will soften the blow of not having Robbie Keane available. The striker, who scored in his Galaxy debut against San Jose, is with Ireland's national team for European qualifying matches and expected to return to the team for Friday's match versus Colorado.
Sporting KC (9-8-9) is making the most of its home-heavy schedule down the stretch, getting at least one point from 12 of 14 matches to pull within four of Columbus for the Eastern Conference lead.
However, Sporting is coming off a 3-2 defeat to FC Dallas on Aug. 27. Goals by Kei Kamara and Omar Bravo provided a 2-0 lead, but Dallas rallied and eventually won in stoppage time.
The loss dropped Kansas City to 6-2-4 at its new stadium, which opened in June. Both defeats have come in stoppage time.
"If we want to get anything out of this season, we've got to be able to hold on to a lead," midfielder Graham Zusi said. "That's the bottom line."
Although this is the first meeting between the teams at Livestrong Park, Kansas City is 1-0-2 with two clean sheets in its last three home games against Los Angeles.
"They have an amazing new stadium, great atmosphere and they've been fantastic at home, so we've got to make sure we don't underestimate them," Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee said.