If Landon Donovan is on the sidelines this afternoon when his L.A. Galaxy faces Toronto FC, credit should go to BMO Field.
Already missing superstar David Beckham to international duty, Galaxy coach Ruud Gullit said yesterday that Donovan will be a game-time decision after the MLS all-star suffered a groin pull prior to joining the U.S. national team in London for an exhibition match against England this past Wednesday.
But Donovan insisted yesterday, after going through a light workout at BMO, that he feels the unforgiving field turf at TFC's pitch is more of a factor than the state of his injury.
"I first injured it last Saturday, but it has been getting better and better each day," he said. "But I want to be smart about it. And yes the turf (at BMO) definitely plays into the decision. It's not the easiest surface to have when you are trying to get back into the game."
Playing into his Donovan's decision is the fact that he will leave his Galaxy teammates right after today's game to rejoin the U.S. team for a friendly in Spain next week.
Just how valuable is Donovan to the Galaxy?
In nine games this season, he has scored nine goals -- nearly half of the team's 22-goal total output -- and he assisted on six others.
"Obviously a player of Landon or David's calibre changes things," he said. "With that being said, there's guys in those positions that are confident and feel they can get the job done."
TFC will lose four players to international duty right after today's match.
Canada's Jim Brennan together with Jamaica's Tyrone Marshall and Marco Velez of Puerto Rico will all depart tomorrow for their respective national camps. And midfielder Maurice Edu is expected to depart for Spain with Donovan after having been named to the initial roster for the U.S. team for its June 4 match.