Landon Donovan looking forward to Estadio Azteca return with Leon
Former U.S. international Landon Donovan will return to Estadio Azteca Saturday when Leon takes on Club America in a clash the 36-year-old marked down as one of the standouts when he signed for La Fiera.
"It's a historic stadium all over the whole world," Donovan told reporters on his arrival in Mexico City on Friday. "That's why whenever I played [with the national team] it was joyful and then usually sad, but I'm happy for the opportunity to play here again.
"When I signed here I looked at the calendar and I was searching through away games and I saw America in the Azteca and that excited me," added the former L.A. Galaxy player. "I understand what they [Las Aguilas] are and what it would mean to beat them."
Donovan's last game in Estadio Azteca was in 2012 when the United States defeated El Tri for the first time in Mexico, but he wasn't as successful with the Stars and Stripes in World Cup qualifying, losing both games he featured in.
Donovan acknowledged that he had a chance to join America and make Estadio Azteca his home earlier in his career, but doesn't have any regrets about not heading south to Mexico sooner.
"We make decisions that are good for us in the moment," he said. "That was a long time ago and I'm here with Leon and focused on the present."
The San Diego resident has struggled for minutes with Leon so far since coming out of retirement to sign for the club in January. Donovan has played less than 30 minutes in total over three games in Liga MX, as well as 30 minutes in Copa MX, meaning the forward is unlikely to start against Club America.
"What the team needs is to win, that's the most important," said Donovan. "If I play that's good and if I don't it's also OK, but the most important thing is that we win.
"America is playing very well. They don't just have the starters, they have a very good squad.
"They have a great coach [Miguel Herrera] and it will be very difficult, but we are coming here to give everything and I hope we pick up points."
Club America is safely in the playoff spots heading into the current round 11 of matches in the 2018 Clausura, while Leon is one point off the liguilla.
Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.