MIAMI - The two months Landon Donovan spent training and playing at Bayern Munich should benefit the United States team even though the striker was unable to make the sort of impact in Germany he would have liked. Donovan will feature for the U.S in their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against El Salvador and Trinidad and Tobago and the 27-year-old said on Monday his latest spell in the Bundesliga had made him a better player. "It was very instructive watching the other guys on the team -- how (Franck) Ribery gets the ball, how Miroslav Klose moves into space to get the ball, how Luca Toni would look to receive, those things will help me a lot," he told reporters. "Training at that level makes you better. Playing games at that level makes you better." Donovan, the all-time top scorer for the U.S, featured in six league and cup games but did not score once and he returned to the L.A Galaxy in time for last week's opener. Back in Major League Soccer, Donovan, who had two previous spells in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen, instantly found his scoring touch again with two goals in Sunday's 2-2 draw with D.C. United. Like Bayern, the U.S are invariably favourites in their World Cup qualifiers and often have to play against teams who get plenty of men behind the ball. "It was interesting with Bayern because opponents tend to sit in and defend in numbers," Donovan said. "There wasn't a ton of space. It was about trying to make little advantages without having much space. That was good for me, makes me brighter and sharper." With Major League Soccer having a four-month off-season in the European winter, a short-term loan to Europe could become an attractive option for other players. "The reality is that the MLS off-season is too long for most guys," he said. "If you stop mid-October and don't start till February that is too long." The other loan deal involving the Galaxy -- David Beckham's switch to AC Milan, which has been extended to June -- has been less helpful to soccer in the U.S. Donovan said he knew little of the details, but added: "I think it's a lot more complicated than anyone realises. "If we get him back for half the season and he is fit and motivated then that is better than not having him, so we will take it."
24 March 2009
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