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Landon Donovan to start for Club Leon in friendly against San Jose Earthquakes

The U.S. soccer legend has featured as a substitute so far this Liga MX season

Landon Donovan prepares for Club Leon’s friendly against the San Jose Earthquakes
Courtesy of Club Leon

The San Jose Earthquakes are taking advantage of the FIFA international break this weekend to play a friendly against Club Leon. The match between the MLS and Liga MX foes will be played at Avaya Stadium, kick-off at 7:30 p.m. and is Bonus Game A for Quakes season pass holders.

The match will have an especially intriguing storyline, as former U.S. international and MLS legend Landon Donovan takes the field for Club Leon. Donovan, who last played professionally with the LA Galaxy back in 2016, unretired earlier this year to join the Mexican club. He has made six appearances so far, all off the bench.

According to Club Leon head coach Gustavo “Chavo” Díaz, Donovan is in line to get his first start for the team when it plays the Earthquakes this Saturday. The coach is looking at the friendly, which comes during a break in the Liga MX schedule, as a way to get players on the squad who haven’t been playing or are coming off injuries meaningful minutes.

Donovan, 36, holds the all-time MLS scoring record with 145 goals. Second on that list is Earthquakes captain Chris Wondolowski with 135. Having both players feature on Saturday night at Avaya Stadium will provide a rare instance of the league’s two most prolific scorers sharing the same field in the same game.

The reaction from Quakes supporters to the return of Donovan will be mixed. In his four years in San Jose, Donovan scored 32 goals and helped the team capture two MLS Cup championships, but after moving down the coast to join rival LA Galaxy, the forward was reviled by those who felt jilted by his exit. He has experienced a mixture of appreciation and vitriol in previous return engagements in the Bay Area.

Tickets remain available for Saturday’s friendly at all of the usual outlets. The game will be a nice opportunity for both sides to get in some extra minutes during their respective bye weeks.