Landon Donovan is coming back.
The Los Angeles Galaxy announced the star will be back with the team in the final week of March. He has been on an extended leave of absence, a sabbatical, a soul-searching break — whatever you want to call it — since the end of the MLS Cup.
Coach Bruce Arena told reporters Donovan shouldn’t be expected back on the field until the end of April, which perhaps has biggest implications with the U.S. men’s national team (some big FIFA World Cup qualifiers are coming up).
Let’s get to some links:
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— Admission for the Sounders-Veracruz friendly Friday will be free.
— Referee assignments for Week 1 in MLS are out. The Sounders-Impact game at CenturyLink Field on March 2 will be worked by Silviu Pestrescu.
— We know the story better than most, but here’s a feature on Osvaldo Alonso and his defection from recent media/marketing work in Miami.
— Here’s more on Kevin Durr, the Sounders’ draft pick who’s enrolled in the Air Force Academy, from the team website.
— Mikael Silvestre could yet sign with MLS, but indications are that he would end up with the Timbers. The Portland owner even hinted to forthcoming signings. Seattle would be due some compensation since it was first to place a discovery claim on the ex-Manchester United defender.
— Time is running out to help toward theCup.us’s redesign efforts.
— Around the league, Mike Fucito played a big part in San Jose’s 3-3 tie against Portland the other day, goalkeeper Will Hesmer has reportedly announced his retirement, and Franck Songo’o is no longer on trial with the Dynamo (sounds like a deal with the Timbers was reached but not personal terms).
— Fascinating story involving ex-Sounder James Riley, who said he had a handshake agreement to stay at Chivas USA before being shipped off to D.C. United.
— Here is the latest video report from Grant Wahl for FOX Soccer (there’s more mention of Seattle getting the June 11 World Cup qualifier between the U.S. and Panama).
— Here are more Harlem Shake videos around MLS if you’re interested.
— Here is an interview with Kate Deines, a local product on Reign FC.
— Lastly, tremendous goal by new Whitecaps addition Daigo Kobayashi the other day (at the 1:09 mark)…