Tendonitis in the knee kept Landon Donovan out of the starting lineup against Mexico last night, although it wasn't enough to keep him out of the match entirely. In his comments after the match Donovan said he felt healthy on the night, but that the tendonitis kept him from moving the way he wanted to in training.
"When I am healthy and healthy enough to train, I train and I train well. This week was tough. I had some tendonitis, so I wasn't able to move the way I want to. It was good to back off a little bit and still get minutes tonight. I thought was a little bit impactful and helped make a little bit of a difference."
The knee issues kept Donovan from going full out in training before the match, which was echoed in Alexi Lalas' pre-match report. Not taking people on is something several people on twitter noticed about Donovan's game when he came into the match last night, and knowing that was a concern all week with his knee helps explain the situation.
Despite this issues, the official word before the match was that Donovan being left off the starting XI was a coaches decision and not an injury. That's a quick way to sum up a much more complicated situation. According to a quote by Jurgen Klinsmann in LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano's report from Arizona not only was it Donovan's sluggishness, but Chris Wondolowski working so hard.
That's worth remembering, as when Donovan finally came into the match it was for Graham Zusi. Donovan and Dempsey starting up top together with Michael Bradley behind them is a configuration we haven't seen often, but has the potential to be a formidable attack come this summer's World Cup.
It would take some of the pressure off the current forward fatigue US Soccer seems to be suffering from, with Wondolowski and Eddie Johnson as options off the bench when a late goal is needed. Either Donovan or Dempsey could slot back into the midfield in such a situation.