Landon Donovan made his first appearance with the Los Angeles Galaxy since Dec. 7, 2014 today, officially credited with playing the final seven minutes of a 4-2 victory over Orlando City SC in a Major League Soccer game at StubHub Center.
Donovan did not take a shot and said he “maybe completed one pass.”
“I have to get myself going again so I can really contribute, because not every week is going to be a charity five or 10 minutes,” said Donovan, considered to be the greatest American male soccer player.
The 34-year-old Donovan said he got on a treadmill after the game because of his need to get fit.
“I came into a game where both teams were exhausted and I was the slowest player on the field. So I need to get myself ready to compete in a real way. Bruce and the coaching staff need to know that when they put me in, it can mean something,” Donovan said, referring to coach-general manager Bruce Arena.
“So tonight worked out well. But I need to be able to contribute.”
Arena said Donovan “has a long way to go.”
“It’s going to take a while, we knew that. Probably no other circumstances would have allowed me to play him today, but I wanted him to get out there and reward the crowd for showing up and all,” Arena said, referring to the Galaxy’s 4-1 lead when Donovan entered the game. “It helps Landon see how far he has to go.”
Donovan announced Thursday he decided to end his retirement after watching the Galaxy fall victim to a series of injuries to key players, including Jelle Van Damme, Steven Gerrard and Gyasi Zardes.
The Galaxy scored four unanswered goals after Orlando’s Kevin Molino opened the scoring 20 minutes into play.
Giovani dos Santos figured in on all the Galaxy’s goals, scoring in the 35th minute, assisted on Alan Gordon’s goal three minutes later, scoring on a penalty kick in the 45th minute and assisting on Robbie Keane’s goal in the 70th minute.
Brek Shea scored for Orlando two minutes into stoppage time in the second half before a crowd announced at 27,167.
Donovan called the night as a whole “really enjoyable.”
“It was fun to be back in the stadium with the atmosphere and the crowd and being with all the guys again,” Donovan said.
“Great to win obviously and that made the day a lot better. I realize I have a long way to go.”