Landon Donovan came back to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy late in MLS’s 2016 regular season after signing with the club on September 8th. He made his debut this past season three days later, coming on as a late substitute in a lopsided 4-2 victory over Orlando City.
Donovan went on to play in five more regular season matches and all three postseason matches. Throughout his second stint in Los Angeles, Donovan came off the bench four times before making his first start on the road against the Houston Dynamo. From then on, he started the rest of the way which includes all three MLS Cup Playoff matches.
During that stretch, Donovan only managed one goal, securing a late point against Sporting Kansas City away from home.
So, the question now is, was it worth it? Was it worth bringing our former No. 10 back for less than ten matches?
In the short term: yes.
The LA Galaxy desperately needed another body on the squad after suffering injuries to two of their bigger name players — Gyasi Zardes and Steven Gerrard.
While Donovan and Gerrard played different positions, the former had the capability of picking out a pass like the best of them. One of his biggest weapons, even in the most latter of stages in his career, was his ability to pick out a run of a teammate from seemingly nowhere.
Gyasi Zardes was the biggest loss in terms of player personnel for the Galaxy this past season, however. Zardes added another dimension to the Galaxy starting XI. The young homegrown player played mostly down the wing and was becoming a better crosser of the ball. But if the Galaxy were in need of a goal Bruce Arena could throw him up top alongside Robbie Keane to give opposition center backs another headache.
When Donovan was playing, Alan Gordon had to be used up top, which was not ideal to say the least. While Gordon is a decent central striker, he does not posses a ton of attributes outside of being big and bruising and a decent header of the ball.
While bringing back Landon Donovan was ideal for the end of the season, I’m not sure if it would have been a great move for a longer period of time.