MIAMI - Landon Donovan is rested and ready for the United States' return to World Cup qualifying.
The USA's career leading goal scorer didn't play in the first six matches of the CONCACAF final qualifying phase, taking time off from soccer to clear his head. When he returned to the U.S. team, he looked as good as he ever has.
"I feel like a youngster," Donovan said before a team practice Monday morning at FIU Stadium. "Mentally, I can do things I couldn't do in the past."
The 31-year-old Donovan scored five tournament goals to help lead the United States to the Gold Cup title after coach Jurgen Klinsmann recalled Donovan in July.
"It's great to see Landon back in this group," Klinsmann said. "That gives us as coaches another option and a very good option."
Friday's game at National Stadium in San Jose will be the second of the teams' qualifying set. Clint Dempsey's goal gave the United States a 1-0 win in the first game played under an intense snow storm March 22 in Commerce City, Colo.
"I want to be a part of the team going forward," Donovan said. "I want to be part of the team that has a chance to qualify for the World Cup and eventually play in a World Cup and this is the next step for me. I am very excited to be here and I want to try to contribute."