Landon Donovan will be back in the MLS fold next season as his Los Angeles Galaxy look to defend their MLS Cup trophy and add more hardware. According to Goal.com, Donovan will not retire and will re-join his Galaxy teammates following an extended break.
With Donovan returning to the club, the Galaxy will be favorites to win the MLS Cup once again this season.
Bruce Arena confirmed the news in the report from Goal.com: "We've given him a little bit more time off. He's definitely playing this year, just working out a return date that makes sense for all of us.”
The extended break will give Donovan time to get healthy and mentally prepare himself for another MLS season.
The loss of David Beckham will be hard for the club to deal with both on and off the pitch. Adding a Donovan retirement announcement to that mix would have been a big blow. Instead, the club will look to re-load using Beckham's designated player slot either now or in the summer transfer window.
Without Donovan, the team would still be considered one of the top clubs in the league heading into next season. With Donovan returning, they are clearly the favorite to win the MLS Cup for the third straight year.
Last year's emergence of Robbie Keane revitalized the franchise, as he was the main contributor in the Galaxy's postseason run. He plays extremely well with Donovan as the partnership makes for one of the best in the league.
Donovan's ability to do whatever the club needs to win sets him and the team apart from the rest of the league.
In 2010, Donovan played the role of facilitator and took advantage of opportunities in front of goal as they came to him. He finished that season with seven goals and 16 assists. In 2011, he was more of a marksmen and goal-scoring threat for the club. He scored 12 goals and finished with three assists.
Last season, he was back to playing facilitator and providing Keane with numerous opportunities to score. He finished the year with nine goals and 14 assists.
With Keane as the primary goal scorer, Donovan will once again be asked to control the attacking midfield and navigate his way through defenders. Without Beckham, Donovan may need to do more scoring, but he has proved in the past to be capable of the task.
Not only does Donovan make the Galaxy a better team on the pitch, but he also makes them more marketable and attractive as a club.
Rumors are circulating that the Galaxy are set to bring in Chelsea's Frank Lampard upon the expiration of his contract in the summer. A player of Lampard's status would be more likely inclined to join the squad with Donovan as part of it.
Donovan's return isn't just big for the Galaxy, but for the league as a whole. As a respected player around the country and parts of the world, Donovan's presence in MLS brings more credibility and familiarity to the league.
With their talented roster and the re-addition of Donovan, the Galaxy will be favorites this MLS season, and it's hard to imagine any team in the league knocking them off.