Galaxy's Landon Donovan pulls out of U.S. team exhibition
Galaxy captain Landon Donovan has withdrawn from the U.S. national team and its scheduled friendly Friday in Paris to remain in Southern California to prepare for the Nov. 20 MLS Cup against the Houston Dynamo.
Donovan was scheduled to leave for France on Monday morning, hours after the Galaxy beat Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference final, which earned the team a berth in the Cup final. But Donovan, who missed the last three regular-season games with a leg injury, phoned U.S. national team Coach Jurgen Klinsmann and asked to be excused.
Because the U.S. match with France and another four days later with Slovenia are taking place on international FIFA fixture dates, Klinsmann could have asked for Donovan to be sanctioned for failing to play with the national team.
"The plan was to have Landon come in for the match against France and then return to the L.A. Galaxy in preparation for MLS Cup. But after further discussion, Landon expressed his desire to stay in Los Angeles," Klinsmann said. "While my preference was to have Landon with us for this important match, I respect his decision. I'm very happy with the progress this team is making and the commitment they have shown in each and every camp. We look forward to the challenge of the next two games."
>Two other Galaxy players will be competing internationally between now and the Cup final. Forward Robbie Keane will be with Ireland for its two-match European Championships qualifying playoff while midfielder Chris Birchall will play for Trinidad and Tobago against Guyana in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying Friday and Nov. 15.
-- Kevin Baxter
Photo: Galaxy star Landon Donovan and Coach Bruce Arena hoist the MLS Western Conference championship trophy after defeating Real Salt Lake, 3-1, on Sunday. Credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images