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Landon Donovan, Galaxy banged up heading into conference final

November 16, 2012|By Kevin Baxter
  • Landon Donovan celebrates with teammate Mike Magee after Donovan scored off a penalty kick in the second half against the Vancouver Whitecaps during a playoff game. The Galaxy defeated the Whitecaps, 2-1.
Landon Donovan celebrates with teammate Mike Magee after Donovan scored… (Victor Decolongon / Getty…)

A balky hamstring has left Landon Donovan's status for the MLS Western Conference final in Seattle uncertain and the Galaxy could be missing as many as two other regulars to injury as well.

Donovan, a playmaking and scoring midfielder, missed four games to leg problems during the regular season and came out of the first leg of the conference final last Sunday with what has been described as hamstring tightness. He trained Friday for the first time in five days and was hopeful about his progress.

"If you had asked me on Sunday, I would have said there’s very little chance. But now I’m a lot more optimistic," he said. "We’re going to take it day by day, see how it goes. The hope is Sunday I’ll be able to go.

"The season’s over Sunday if we don’t get through. So you kind of forget about all that and try to get ready."

The two-game conference finals will be decided on total goals scored so the Galaxy take a big edge into the rematch on Sunday after beating the Sounders, 3-0, at Home Depot Center. But the Galaxy played that game without forward Edson Buddle, who remains questionable with inflammation in his left foot, while midfielder Juninho came out at halftime with a lingering Achilles' tendon problem.

"He's moving along fine. We think he'll be available," Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena said of Juninho.  Of the others, he added: "They're all making great progress. [But] we're not going to make any final decisions with our team until Sunday."

The Galaxy is deep in midfield so if neither Donovan nor Juninho can go, expect Arena to start Marcelo Sarvas, Christian Wilhelmsson, David Beckham and Mike Magee at that position. But if Buddle has to sit as well, Arena will have a tough decision to make over who to start at forward alongside Robbie Keane.

Beckham and Keane were fighting flu-like symptoms after Friday's practice but neither expected the illness to keep them out of the game.

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