by Fitzgerald Cecilio

New York, NY

After almost a year of absence, veteran campaigner Landon Donovan will don the United States' colors anew as he was called up to the national soccer team that will see action in next month's Gold Cup.

With Donovan's return, no one was happier than US coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who was looking forward to seeing the Galaxy standout in action together with 22 other players.

"Landon coming back into our group is exciting," Klinsmann said. "He has a wonderful opportunity now to prove where he's at now after his break. We're just curious to see how he picks up the rhythm, how he picks up the speed and tempo. Therefore we are excited to have him back."

Donovan, US soccer's all-time leader in goals (49) and assists (48), last played for Klinsmann in a friendly in Mexico City 10 months ago.

However, injuries forced Donovan to miss last fall's World Cup qualifiers and after the Galaxy's win in Major League Soccer's Cup final in December, he took a three-month sabbatical from the sport.

Even without Donovan the US squad performed well, going unbeaten in its last five World Cup qualifiers with Jozy Altidore, Donovan's replacement, scoring in four consecutive games.

With one year left before Brazil 2014, Donovan will have a chance to clinch a spot on the first team if he hopes to play in his fourth World Cup.

"I think he needed those couple of months," Klinsmann said. "It's a question for him to answer in a far more detailed way. He knows himself the best. We're just simply happy to have him back in the team now."

Seven of the 20 field players chosen by Klinssman come from MLS teams, six from the Mexican league and seven from European teams.

Left off the squad was longtime national team defender Carlos Bocanegra, who was chosen for the 35-man preliminary roster, and former Galaxy standout Mike Magee.

The players will gather Monday in San Diego to prepare for a July 5 friendly with Guatemala. The U.S. will open group play in the Gold Cup against Belize on July 9 in Portland, Oregon.


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