Landon Donovan skipping U.S. friendly

Updated: November 7, 2011, 8:53 PM ET
By Scott French | ESPNLosAngeles.com

Landon Donovan has begged off joining the U.S. national team in France this week, choosing to remain with his Galaxy teammates as they begin preparations for the Nov. 20 MLS Cup final against Houston at Home Depot Center.

U.S. Soccer announced Donovan's withdrawal, and although no reason was given, L.A.'s captain is still dealing of the remnants of a quad injury that sidelined him most of October.

He's played the full 90 minutes in all three Galaxy playoff games, converting penalty kicks in last weekend's win at HDC over New York and in Sunday's triumph over visiting Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference final.

"The plan was to have Landon come in for the match against France and then return to the L.A. Galaxy in preparation for MLS Cup, but after further discussion, Landon expressed his desire to stay in Los Angeles," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said in a statement released by U.S. Soccer. "While my preference was to have Landon with us for this important match, I respect his decision."

The U.S. is playing friendlies Friday against France in Saint-Denis and Nov. 15 against Slovenia in Ljubljana. The team arrived Monday in Paris to begin its eight-day camp.

The Galaxy will be missing forward Robbie Keane until the final days of MLS Cup preparation. He flew Monday to Europe to join Ireland's national team for a Euro 2012 playoff series against Estonia. The games are Friday in Talinn and Nov. 15 in Dublin, with the victor advancing to the European Championship.

Midfielder Chris Birchall is with Trinidad & Tobago's national team for World Cup qualifiers Friday and Nov. 15 against Guyana.

Scott French covers soccer for ESPNLosAngeles.com.

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