(Carson, CA)—Landon Donovan spoke to members of the press at the LA Galaxy's preseason training camp at the Home Depot Center in Carson on Wednesday.
Despite widespread speculation about him joining an EPL club, the Team USA player had foregone his usual training loan in Europe to rest after a busy 2010.
“This is the first time I can remember where I had enough time to really get antsy to play again. I’m excited to be back and see new faces and to start up again, and that hasn’t happened in a while.”
Donovan spoke about the turnover in the Galaxy’s attack during the offseason, specifically the departure of the Galaxy’s leading goal scorer last season, Edson Buddle, and the arrival of former Aston Villa striker Juan Pablo Angel from the New York Red Bulls.
“There’s no question that losing Edson hurts. We’re obviously very happy for him and to see him score in his first game was great. As people who are distributing the ball to your attacking players, you want the guy who always wants the ball and wants the ball in a good position and puts himself in a good position so he can be dangerous, and Edson became very good at that last year, where when we got the ball he made sure he was in a spot where if we got it to him he had a chance to score. Juan Pablo does that too.”
Juan Pablo Angel, the former Aston Villa striker, joined the Galaxy during the offseason from New York Red Bulls.
“Juan Pablo’s résumé speaks for itself," said Donovan. "He’s just dangerous. If he’s in front of the goal teams have to worry about him, and if they don’t he’s gonna score a lot of goals. Having more players like that on your team is helpful. It helps guys like me, it helps guys like David (Beckham), it helps guys like Juninho, it helps us all be more creative and do our jobs better.”
Donovan also spoke about the importance of his own personal contribution to making up some of the goals Buddle had provided for the club last season.
“As a general rule I want to be more dangerous in front of the goal regardless of where I’m playing. I think last year because of the amount of games and the amount of wear I did things a little more beneficial to the team in other ways, but this year I want to be more dangerous, and with Edson leaving I feel there is a little more need for that.
“Hopefully the other forwards prove me wrong and I can play in different roles, but regardless of all that I want to make sure that I’m more dangerous and get a lot more looks at goal.”
As for whether not having David Beckham on hand for the Galaxy's preseason training has had an effect, for Donovan it just seemed like business as usual.
“Every year we’ve spent significant time without David, whether it’s been injuries or he’s been away. This team knows how to gel without David, but the expectation is to have him back relatively soon so he can be with the team.
“For me this is the first time in a long time I’ll be with the team for preseason too. It does make a difference, it’s nice to know guys from day one so you don’t have any hiccups in the beginning of the season. When he’s here, he wants to play, he wants to win. I’m sure the day he gets back here he’s gonna be ready to go.”
The poster boy for American soccer looked tanned, rested and more relaxed than he had in the latter half of 2010. Asked about his time off, he responded, “It was nice. A little bit of traveling, a lot of rest. I’m so used to going all the time that it was almost difficult to just relax. You have to force yourself to just relax.
“My body, up until the last week before preseason there were still some spots that hurt, so I know it was the right decision, but I also knew it was the right time to come back when I watched the US game the other night and it was just killing me to be on my couch watching.”
The Galaxy kick off the 2011 MLS season on March 15 when they play Seattle Sounders FC at Qwest Field.