Photo by ISIphotos.com
By ADAM SERRANO
Landon Donovan played all over the pitch last season. Whether at forward, in central midfield or out wide, Donovan played a variety of roles for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the club's Supporters Shield run. In 2011, it's likely that he'll be called perform his utilty role once more.
Donovan has spent considerable time lined up alongside Juan Pablo Angel up top during the Galaxy's preseason; however, when the Galaxy opens the season on Tuesday against the Seattle Sounders, the captain will more than likely take up his usual position on the left side of the midfield. After getting his first real offseason in more than two years, Donovan is motivated to make an impact for the Galaxy at whatever role he is given.
"I'll play a lot of different places this season as will a lot of guys and I'm comfortable with that," Donovan said. "If a certain lineup is working, we'll keep it, but Bruce (Arena) is more about putting players in positions to succeed as opposed to a system coach, so we'll play a lot of styles, positions and systems this year."
Angel was brought in to to replace the departed Edson Buddle as the cornerstone of the revitalized Galaxy strike force. With Chad Barrett and Adam Cristman joining Mike Magee and potentially Donovan, the Galaxy are equiped with depth up top that will be necessary with the team playing more than 40 matches this season between MLS, U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League competitions.
In the preseason, Magee and Cristman, who are both expected to see time off the bench, tallied three goals apiece to share the team lead with midfielder Chris Birchall. The depth is a stark contrast to 2010, when the number of attacking options seemed to erode as the season wore on.
Barrett has seen a great deal of time up top for the Galaxy during the late stages of the preseason, even scoring one goal for his new club. At the start of the season, it's likely that Barrett will earn the nod next to Angel, with Donovan being another option if he does not go to his standard position on the left wing.
Should Donovan be partnered with Angel, that tandem would be one of the most fierce not only in the Western Conference, but the entire league. Angel is hoping that whatever partnership he is a part of is quality, but acknowledges that the forward line requires some more work to reach full effectiveness.
“We’re working on it. It takes time just to build a partnership," said Angel, who joined the Galaxy through the league's first Re-Entry Draft. "Throughout the year we hope to build that understanding and be good for the team."
The forward charges should be boosted service from the rapidly maturing Juninho, rookie Paolo Cardozo, second-year midfielder Michael Stephens and a healthy David Beckham. With the club striving to make another run at MLS Cup, Donovan is blunt with his assessment of how the team will do in front of the net.
"We're going to score a lot of goals this year."