Donovan shines as Galaxy rout Union

LandonDonovanKC (Getty)

By IVES GALARCEP

Landon Donovan said recently he wasn’t quite all the way back to his best, but on Wednesday night it was clear he is heading in that direction.

The Los Angeles Galaxy star scored a goal, assisted on two others, and forced an own goal with a quality corner kick to help lead the Galaxy to a 4-1 mauling of the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday night at PPL Park.

Just one day after a Sports Illustrated report claimed that Donovan would be left out of the upcoming U.S. Men’s National Team camp, Donovan put on a performance that served as a reminder of the quality he can still bring to a game. He broke open a match that was tied until the 71st minute.

That is when the floodgates opened, and Donovan tore apart the Union defense.

Robbie Keane made the score 2-1 when he took a Donovan pass and scored from 10 yards out. Just nine minutes later, Donovan played provider again, setting up Hector Jimenez with another quality chance from 12 yards out to make the score 3-1.

Donovan capped his night with an 87th minute finish set up by Keane, who found Donovan alone on the right side of the area. Donovan calmly rounded Zac MacMath for the final goal of the night.

The evening opened with an early Galaxy goal courtesy of a MacMath own goal off a Donovan corner kick. Donovan’s kick floated toward the goal mouth, where Bakary Soumare had Omar Gonzalez wrapped up. As Gonzalez fought to escape Soumare’s grasp, he wound up holding down MacMath’s arms as MacMath attempted to catch the corner. Instead, Donovan’s corner caromed off MacMath’s head into his own net.

Amobi Okugo tied things up in the 23rd minute when he slipped inside the six-yard box unmarked and headed home a perfect long throw-in from Sheanon Williams.

That goal gave the Union some confidence, and they enjoyed the better of the play heading into halftime, but never found another goal and their defense simply fell apart in the final 20 minutes of the match.

What went wrong for the Union? Their midfield began to give the Galaxy space in front of the defense, which Donovan exploited. That, coupled with a series of terrible defensive efforts from left back Ray Gaddis, left the door open for all three second-half goals to come in the same area of the field, on the left side of the penalty area.

The terrible finish spoiled a promising first Union start for Brazilian World Cup-winner Kleberson, who looked sharp at times, though he began to tire in the matches final 20 minutes, a development that played a part in the Union’s late-game collapse.

The Galaxy will look to ride some momentum into Sunday’s showdown with Eastern Conference-leading New York Red Bulls. The Union will try to regroup with a win against the Chicago Fire on Saturday.

What did you think of the match? Impressed with Donovan’s performance? Think he should be called up? Encouraged by Kleberson’s first start?

Share your thoughts below.

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90 Responses to Donovan shines as Galaxy rout Union

  1. elgringorico says:

    But Brek Shea can bring more to the team, right guys

    • Scuba Steve says:

      Yeah like Latino-style hairdo’s!

    • blokhin says:

      come on, if Klinsmann thinks that a guy coming off a 2 year layoff with a 2nd division team and a guy who has been superglued to the bench of an EPL doormat provide the better options, because LD is above some arbitrary and LD-specific age limit and isn’t as great as when he was by far the best player ever for USMNT, well we just have to take him at his word…

      • Riggity says:

        Ok, can someone please explain to me why Graham Zusi is considered by many as the player the “obviously” deserves to start over Donovan? I know that in sports, especially in soccer that stats can be misleading at times especially because in soccer stats do not take into account positioning, fitness and tactical awareness. However in Donovan’s case in a month(next WCQ) his fitness will be at near 100%.
        Landon Donovan 5 games, 2 goals 3 assists
        Graham Zusi 11 games, 3 goals 3 assists
        Break Shea(last season with FCD)
        20 games, 3 goals, 2 assists
        (this season w/ Stoke)
        2 substitute apps, 1 shot on goal
        I threw Shea in there as well because everyone seems to believe JK is going to call him in as well which to me would be the most hypocritical thing JK could do should he not call in Donovan as well. To make it clear, I have no problem with Zusi starting(I would like to see he and LD on the wings) and I don’t have that much of an issue with Shea being called in given his lack of PT at Stoke. But for Klinsmann to paint a picture for all of us that Donovan simply isn’t good enough right now to put the Stars and Stripes on while he calls in Brek Shea is an insult to me as a fan because that would mean all the crap about club form was an excuse to play favorites at the time. I can only imagine how LD feels and how others in the locker room would feel if this scenario plays out the way it looks. Gotta give it to LD though, he really really wants to play for the USMNT again though because he has said ALL the right things in terms of kissing Jurgens…ego. A younger Donovan might have sounded off by now to let us and Klinsmann know how he really feels.

        • Reboot says:

          Don’t necessarily think Zusi is starting over Donovan.

          They are interchangeable, yes, but both can play either flank.

          Once again, why not have both?

          • The Imperative Voice says:

            Interchangeable? One is a cross country runner with speed who just happens to be able to play soccer fairly well, the other is a slasher with nowhere near as much speed but Preki-type technique. It’s like comparing Davis to Landon. Two different players.

            The idea that US athletes are interchangeable with technical or defensive players is part of the issue right now, Bradley had a counter-attack approach which while tactically elementary and negative was suited to personnel. Klinsi has moved at times in the directions of either defense or technique and those games have shown we have neither overwhelming technique nor defense. We need more tactical balance, in particular, wing speed. If not from Landon, someplace, and it’s not coming from Zusi.

            I like Zusi for what he is but the idea that we can pass teams to death with players like him has not borne out.

        • AcidBurn says:

          But Zusi made that “40 Yard Run!!” to head the ball away from Reyna and save a goal vs Mexico in Azteca, so his name doesn’t leave the first team sheet.

          • USsoccer100 says:

            Donovan’s resurgance comes at the right time… just days after we find out Corona will be busy with Copa Lib futbol, just scratch Corona off the list and write in Donovan. Crisis averted.

  2. Four Cents says:

    That’ll give Jürgen a bone to chew on..

    • RNG says:

      Does anyone thing this was actually a genius master stroke from JK? Leak the news to get Landon fired up?

      • RB says:

        I wondered about that in a post last night, especially given the timing and the unofficial nature of the report…

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        no

        • RB says:

          Or yes

          • @USSoccer100 says:

            No. If anything a move like this would add undue pressure to a guy who supposedly had to take the time off to deal with the pressures of life.

            • RB says:

              Well the “yes” was in answer to the question of whether anyone thinks this might have been part of Klinsmann’s thinking. Clearly some people think it may have been, therefore, yes.

              As far as pressure, as others have already noted, Donovan responds well to pressure. Last night could clearly be cited as an example of that whether you think Klinsmann might have been planning anything or it was just otherwise a sheer coincidence. So again yes from that perspective.

      • White Kix says:

        Just like that master stroke to get Jozy fired up where he started scoring goals for the nats like he does for AZ? Oh wait…

      • Reboot says:

        I do. 100%

        • beachbum says:

          so you’re working your way back, searching for confidence as a long time top performer, and you learn through a media leak you won’t be called in (we still don’t know)…probably not a confiedence boost, LD played as bad a half as I’ve seen him play.

          don’t know what happened in the locker room at half time but I think it bodes well for the Galaxy locker room’s unity, their support, and he fired out and showed his quality
          Arena and the galaxy get the credit…Klinnsman?

      • Dan says:

        ABSOLUTELY!!! JK may not seem like a tactical ‘genius’, but his clever use of the press and his PR ‘stunts’ to bring attention to the MNT to sell tickets and gain followers has been fantastic to watch. Never been a doubt an injury free Donovan would be a starter, but why not allow other players gain experience? We know the quality we have…why not develop additional talent while we have the time?

  3. Drew says:

    He’ll be called in. A month from now he should be even more fit. He brings more to the table than anyone else you can name in the pool.

    • ed - houston says:

      I totally agree, when he wants to.

      • beachbum says:

        which over the last 16+ years is more than any American…ever

        some of you just can’t step up to the plate and suck it up can you,,,hilarious

        • @USSoccer100 says:

          Without a doubt Donovan’s national team career is what all future USMNT players will be compared to. It’s amazing how much distance there is between him and anyone else. Eric Wynalda can whine all he wants about Donovan’s penalty kicks padding his goalscoring record, but really shouldn’t Eric just be asking himself why he didn’t train harder so he could take the penalties?

  4. bottlcaps says:

    I hope Klinsmann remembers that LD has the same chemistry with Jozy Altidore that he has with Robbie Keane. Some of JA’s best game came when Donovan was in the line-up.

    But, of course, neither of them are good enough.

  5. A wise man once says:

    “Amobi Okugo tied things up in the XX minute…”

    *23rd minute.

    • atd says:

      Okugo was very solid tonight. (Not every day you say that about a CB whose team leaked four goals….)

  6. Jake says:

    Yeah, he probably shouldn’t get called in to the national team. I’m sure there’s a backup somewhere in Europe who can add more to the team. JK not calling him in would be out of spite plain and simple. We don’t need George Costanza running our national team.

  7. downintexas says:

    Nope, we don’t need any extra attacking players at all! All we needs is a foot of snow!

  8. nato says:

    only MLS, can he do that in Spain or England or Italy or at 4 consecutive WORLD CUPS

    • jlm says:

      yes to him being able to do it england. he had a pretty good run in germany too even though it didn’t work out completely. i think we all know the answer to the world cup question is yes too. sure he would be successful in spain or italy too for that matter

  9. nato says:

    Jurgen’s refusal to play him has contributed to him returning to his star form

    • I actually think you might be on to something here.

    • Beto says:

      I think so, landon is a player that responds well to pressure.

    • beachbum says:

      thanks for the laugh

      Landon’s first half of no confidence showed what learning he had been snuubed via the media did to him…he played his worst half I’ve seen him play.

      Then the GALAXY laocker room at half time somehting happened.
      Give credit where it is due…the GALAXY supported him in this, and they deserve the credit for looking to make this work. Klinnsman has NOT looked to make it work

      some of you apologists look to spin anything!!! Klinnsman just got schooled on how a great organization and coach support their long time top performer

    • Dan says:

      JK has found the spark to may help LD “rediscover his love for the game” ..no true competitor will ever sit down and take it when another coach or player tells them they’re not good enough yet.
      Been saying for months that there is a method to Klinsmann’s madness….now imagine LD, Deuce, Gomez, Jozy with Zusi, Gatt & Shea backing up and all in good form…suddenly we look pretty darn good

  10. cesc says:

    Needs to change his name to either José de la Donovan or Ländon Dönovan (more umlauts if necessary)

  11. 2pac shakur says:

    My issue with some of you guys on your, “Landon Donovan” high horse is you act as if this was his form all season. That man was awesome tonight, but was piss poor against Houston and mediocre at best vs Vancouver. #justcallinemlikeiseeem

    • Good Jeremy says:

      He was also unstoppable against KC, so I’ll gladly take the guy who is unstoppable in half of his games and mediocre in the others over the other wingers in our pool… who can’t find a minute of playing time outside of Scandinavia.

      • Dan says:

        consistent for 20min of a 90 min game is pretty worthless at the WC level. Let’s hope Jurgen can continue to “inspire” him to find his top form and continue. Just look at what Jozy did after being left out

    • keithbabs79 says:

      His usmnt replacements’ ceiling is mediocre at best. Have you seen our offense? We’ve hit a new low when 1 goal in 2 games is a cause for celebration. And it’s not just the lack of goals. It’s the lack of shots. Hell, the overall lack of attacking chances.

    • Riggity says:

      Yeah, that’s great, but who do you want to play in front of him? Everybody who doesn’t think he should make the squad is saying that Graham Zusi is the obvious choice over LD. I’m not here to tear apart Zusi because he has been very solid for the Nats but it’s not even close, Donovan when healthy and motivated is head and shoulders above any other option we may have on the wings.

      • Dan says:

        LD is the type of player that can drop in anywhere and produce…His biggest complaint should be that the quality in the rest of the team hasn’t been there…yet. JK has been helping other players get better and hopefully complement his talent and I think he’s worked wonders in the short time he’s had

    • Ed says:

      No one was touting his form this season, it’s just that it was reasonable to expect Donovan’s form to steadily rise to the point where he would be, at a minimum, useful to the USMNT.

    • bottlcaps says:

      Robbie Keane was missing in both those losses. Donovan plays best when he plays with the best. In the two losses, a lot of rookies played. But that is the way it’s been for the Galaxy this season. I think Arena has had the pleasure of using the same lineup in two games only once. With McBean out, and then Keane, the Galaxy has experimented with : Rugg, Villareal, Zardes. Magee. and Donovan at forward

      But Keane is the real catalyst here,. His interplay with Donovan on fast breaks and the one touch passing is a joy to behold.

      Donovan will be the first to admit he has been incosistant since his return, but as games go by, he just gets better and better, and its something Klinsmann now knows.

      • ed - houston says:

        good points, i agree.

      • beachbum says:

        frankly, any observer who observes could see this perfromance coming, and many said so…while many others vehemently took the chance to unload their bitter stank instead…and hope he was in the past, etc.

        Keane is awesome, no doubts there. Makes everyone on the Galaxy better

    • Goalscorer24 says:

      Actually in the first half Donovan was not good. Had a couple give aways and a bad back pass. Only in the 2nd half did he start to click.

  12. Gary Page says:

    Donovan definitely had his best game of the season so far, but boy was Philly’s defending bad in the second half. Gave LA all kinds of space and left players totally unmarked. Pretty pathetic performance.

    • Esteban de la Sexface says:

      I think it was more of a failure to adapt by the Philly players and coaches. Donovan was playing more as a right midfielder for the first hour or so, but then he started to play more centrally and more between the Philly midfield and defense. He found space and eviscerated the Union. Hackworth should’ve seen this and adjusted but he didn’t and Philly got killed.

      • beachbum says:

        cheers, thanks for that. Keane gets a ton of credit too for the constant pressure he put on Philly’s D that helped create space for Landon and others to exploit. Robbie is fun to watch play the game

  13. Beto says:

    Im still on the fence..

    For the call up: he plays the #10 role and the wing forward role better than anyone else in the pool.
    A line up like:
    —-Jozy—–Dempsey—–Gomez—-
    —————Landon————
    ———JJ———-MB———-
    Is arguably better than Zusi, Corona, Edu or Sasha IF he has his A game which he might be rediscovering…

    Against the call up:
    He beat a bad phily defense that isnt anything near as intense as germany, jamaica, panama and honduras will be. He is just now finding his form and it might be best to allow him a little more time (and motivation) before the gold cup to really get ready and fired up

    I am leaning twards calling him in but i would understand plan b..if jurgen does not select him

    • fischy says:

      Before…the Gold Cup? Who cares? But, he ought to be in there for the qualifiers coming up. The only thing in the way is Kinsmann’s ego…which will not be in the way when it comes time for Gulati to fire Jurgen’s sorry arse.

  14. Chris says:

    Do we REALLY have so much talent available to the national team that we can’t give Donovan one of the TWENTY SEVEN spots for the camp?

    • keithbabs79 says:

      If all 27 played the same position, I would agree…

    • RSLfan says:

      I have flip flopped from how I felt earlier today and now agree w/ this completely…amazing what one damn good game can do…

      • Chris says:

        It’s irrelevant what position they play. There are not 27 players in our player pool that bring more to the table than Donovan, period.

      • beachbum says:

        one game? it’s one game in the context on 15+ years…come on people

  15. Bean says:

    Donovan is recovering from a mental injury. I’ve heard they are worse then physical ones. JK is letting him get better.

    • Lil' Zeke says:

      This.

      Wait, what?

    • divers suck says:

      Mental injury? Really? Are you some kind of doctor? So playing virtually 3 straight years of soccer and wanting to take a couple/three months off to recharge himself due to fatigue is diagnosed as a mental injury?

  16. fischy says:

    Yes, Philly’s defense parted like the Red Sea for the Galaxy in the second half. LD’s chances weren’t all that difficult.But, name anyone else in the USA set who has had a game like that in MLS. Ever.

    • fischy says:

      Before you go off. EJ had a hat-trick or two back in the day. along the way. And, Demps had some good games. If you want to give em Jozy at AZ, fine.The list stops there. Maybe some other countries could do without a player like Donovan. The USA cannot, for now. We can worry about the 2018 qualifying when that comes. For now, we need LD.

  17. 2tone says:

    Just when you thought he was out; he pulls himself back in. If he is not with the 27 player roster released tomorrow it’s down right criminal.

  18. Falsify says:

    Philly’s defense was terrible tonight. Lets not read too far into this.

  19. chris_thebassplayer says:

    Probably the only time a big Galaxy win ever put a smile on my face…way to go LD.

  20. TheFrenchOne says:

    Suck it, Juergen

  21. Esteban de la Sexface says:

    I was at the game and just have a few thoughts:

    - Philly played well (maybe even their best all season) for the first hour, but once Donovan started looking for space between the Philly defense and midfield, it got ugly. Philly didn’t respond to the tactical shift at all.

    - Hackworth bringing on Casey and Hoppenot and shifting to a straight 4-4-3 was fine, but why put Casey on the left and McInerney on the right. Strange.

    - MacMath was pitiful on the first goal and should take some blame for the third. Watch the replay of the first goal as you’ll get a laugh. On the third, a terrible throw put the Philly defense under immediate pressure and the result was an LA goal.

    - Philly midfield looked way better with Kleberson. Now to get rid of Keon Daniel who is the embodiment of mediocre.

    - LA looked very suspect on corner kicks and Williams’ long throw-ins.

    - It’ll be interesting to see who LA gets in the summer as they have a few spots that could use some help and depending on who they get, a tactical shift could occur. Another forward would be useful though that could keep Donovan in the midfield. An outside midfielder would work as it would allow Donovan to play centrally and a bit higher (and do some damage like last night). Or a central defender would work to pair with (or replace) Gonzalez.

    • Dave says:

      “he wound up holding down MacMath’s arms as MacMath attempted to catch the corner”

      Clearly MacMath’s fault, every goalie trains in situations where the offensive players are allowed to hold their arms down. I was shocked that the goal was allowed.

  22. qwerty says:

    Donovan is just going to flake out again next winter why bother reintegrating him?

  23. the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

    Comments are going to go wild when LD isn’t on the roster this afternoon…..I don’t think Wahl/SI would report that from a bad source and I don’t think last nights game will have changed Klinsmann’s mind.
    Don’t get your hopes up people. I’d be thrilled to see Donovan on the roster. I truly believe he should be there. I really hate to quote Alexi Lallas but “form is fallacy” (that hurt to say). Not going to go deep into why he should be there, but we lack proven quality options in the attack.

  24. Jurgen says:

    I dont care if Landon had one good game. He is not committed to the US team the way the other players, like Timmy Chandler, are. He will not help the team chemistry because he cannot speak German with me and Jermaine. So Landon scored some goals and had some assists. He still hasnt done s#!% like I have. Dempsey hasnt either. I know Dempsey is unhappy when he gets subbed off, but he doesnt yell at his coach and kick holes in stuff like I do. And Jozy. Yes, Jozy scores a lot of goals, but not like I did in Champions League. Plus, Jozy cant score goals for me like I did. When I scored goals they were always for me.

  25. Jurgen says:

    I dont care if Landon had one good game. He is not committed to the US team the way the other players, like Timmy Chandler, are. He will not help the team chemistry because he cannot speak German with me and Jermaine. So Landon scored some goals and had some a$$ists. He still hasnt done s#!% like I have. Dempsey hasnt either. I know Dempsey is unhappy when he gets subbed off, but he doesnt yell at his coach and kick holes in stuff like I do. And Jozy. Yes, Jozy scores a lot of goals, but not like I did in Champions League. Plus, Jozy cant score goals for me like I did. When I scored goals they were always for me.