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Sunday, February 26, 2012
GALAXY: Ill Donovan stays in U.S.

By Scott French

This bout with illness that has sidelined Landon Donovan for more than a week will keep him out of the U.S. national team's friendly Wednesday against Italy.


The Galaxy captain did not travel Sunday to Genoa as planned, the club confirmed, and U.S. Soccer announced that Donovan, along with midfielder Jose Francisco Torres and defender Timmy Chandler, both injured, have withdrawn from the team. Replacing them are midfielders Sacha Kljestan and Brek Shea.

Donovan missed last weekend's final game of his loan stint at Everton with what was reported as the flu, and he hasn't yet trained with the Galaxy after joining them Thursday in Tucson, Ariz. Donovan remained at the team hotel, a club spokesman said, during L.A.'s game Friday against Real Salt Lake in the Desert Diamond Cup preseason tournament.

He is suffering from bronchitis, the Galaxy and U.S. Soccer reported.

This is the third successive national team event from which Donovan has withdrawn after Jurgen Klinsmann included him on the U.S. roster, and he and Clint Dempsey -- the Americans' most important figures -- have not played together since the German legend was hired at the end of July.

Donovan pulled out of the national team's October and November friendlies last year to preserve himself for the Galaxy's title run while he dealt with a quadriceps injury -- the extent of which L.A. kept hidden -- and fatigue. His loan to Everton prevented Klinsmann from including Donovan in the January camp, which is usually meant for top domestic players outside the primary U.S. pool.

Donovan, the U.S.'s all-time leader in goals (46) and assists (47), has made just two appearances under Klinsmann, going the full 90 in friendlies last August against Mexico and last September against Costa Rica.

Kljestan, a former Chivas USA captain, is enjoying a superb campaign with Belgian power RSC Anderlecht. The midfielder from Huntington Beach, who made the Americans' preliminary roster but not the final list for the 2010 World Cup, has been in camp just once under Klinsmann, for last September's friendlies. He was a second-half substitute in the 1-0 loss Sept. 2 to Costa Rica at Home Depot Center and was on the bench for a loss against Belgium in Brussels four days later.

Shea, a finalist for Major League Soccer's MVP award last season, is a rising winger who also stars for the U.S. under-23 national team, which is preparing for next month's CONCACAF Olympic qualifiers. He was set to play for the U-23s against Mexico's U-23s on Wednesday in Frisco, Texas.

UPDATE (7 p.m.): Donovan noted via his Twitter account that he “tried hard to be ready for the Italy game but still too sick. Need to keep resting and get healthy again.” He also tweeted: “It's been an extremely frustrating two weeks but I trust that life is happening the way it's supposed to.”