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Landon Donovan To Return To LA Galaxy In Late March

Landon DonovanLandon Donovan will rejoin the defending Major League Soccer champion Los Angeles Galaxy in the last week of March, the club said today.

Donovan requested a leave of absence from the team after helping the Galaxy with their fourth MLS crown last December and has not played for the US team since then either as he ponders his future plans a year before the World Cup in Brazil next summer.

“After a series of collaborative discussions between Landon, his representative and our key club leaders, we’ve agreed to allow Landon to remain on an extended leave of absence and return to training with the team during the final week of March,” Galaxy general manager and coach Bruce Arena said.

“We understand this arrangement is not ideal, but we are confident it will allow Landon the time he needs to be both mentally and physically prepared for the upcoming season,” Arena added. “We remain focused on our preparation for the start of the 2013 season and look forward to Landon rejoining us next month.”

The timing of Donovan’s return will mean he will miss out on the Galaxy’s first three regular season home matches, which will all be played at home: March 3 vs. Chicago, March 17 vs. Chivas USA and March 23 vs. Colorado.

The Galaxy will also have to do without Donovan for a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal knockout series against Costa Rican side Herediano to be played on March 7 and March 13. Should the Galaxy advance in the aggregate-goal series, the semifinal home-and-home series would take place by April 11.