CARSON, CA - JULY 04: Landon Donovan  of the Los Angeles Galaxy warms up before the game against the Seattle Sounders FC on July 4, 2010 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. Donovan is playing in his first MLS game since returning from the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)

No one, perhaps even Landon Donovan himself, knows if he'll be around for the end of the MLS season. Surely someone in Europe, that land where they take their soccer seriously, wants the services of the American midfielder. Major League Soccer might even listen to a few offers. Perhaps he'll be sold.

There's more to it than dollars (or pounds, or euros); Donovan is at the peak of his American celebrity, and there's some reason to believe he himself is a draw. It's not the Beckham Effect, but it's noteworthy. Landon Donovan is an American soccer superstar. Can the league afford to let him go? Don't they owe him a chance to go? Does MLS risk alienating potential fans if they spin off their biggest American commodity to England or elsewhere?

Inquiring minds have no idea. Neither do we know what Mr. Garber is thinking while stroking his manly stubble; as the calculating businessman we all know him to be, it's hard to imagine he'll willingly let Donovan go. Short of an astounding offer, Donovan is probably worth more playing in Kansas City and Dallas than he is on the open transfer market. These things are hard to accurately value.

But while Garber is mulling, Donovan proclaiming, and the league slowly pulling out of the World Cup-break station, the chances for a truly magnificent season for the LA Galaxy hang in the balance.

The Galaxy have thirty-six points from fifteen games. They've scored twenty-five goals while only allowing five. They've lost only once, to Real Salt Lake just before the break and without Donovan and Buddle, and are the unstoppable force in a league usually noted for its parity. The Galaxy have risen above the mediocrity, found ways to win on the road (always difficult in this league), and appear headed towards something fairly special. There's a lot of the season to go, of course, and the Galaxy may come crashing back to earth; for the time being, however, this is their world, and we're all just living in it.

Can they keep it up without their talisman? Is Bruce Arena such an MLS genius that losing Donovan won't stop his team's momentum? Donovan's abilities are almost irreplaceable in a league with the financial restraints of MLS, and even a top-quality replacement of equal or greater talent will be slower, older, and have the potentially difficult task of gelling with a team already at the top. The sale of Donovan and the signing of someone else (if they go that route) would be the embodiment of "messing with a good thing."

If you despise the Galaxy, no matter the reason (here are a few: AEG, Tim Leiweke, Bruce Arena, "superclub" nonsense, David Beckham, perceived fan arrogance), none of this will bother you. But if you're a fan of the league intrigued by greatness, Donovan's departure would be a sad occurrence. The chances of a historic season for LA drop considerably without their Number 10. That's a fact.

I want Donovan to go back to Europe. I think he belongs there. If he goes, I won't shed a tear for the Galaxy. I'm sure I'd spare a thought or two for what might have been, though. Greatness, likely lost.
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