SBI MLS Player of the Week: Landon Donovan

Landon Donovan

Photo by David Bernal/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

Those all-too-familiar remarks regarding Landon Donovan being over the hill will likely not be seen as much this week.

The claims of Donovan’s demise looked largely exaggerated this weekend, as MLS’s all-time leading scorer led the LA Galaxy to a thoroughly impressive 3-0 road victory over the Seattle Sounders. Donovan played a part in each of the goals, netting one and recording assists on the two others en route to being named SBI’s MLS Player of the Week.

The SBI staff chose the veteran over a lengthy list of worthy candidates. Players like Yannick Djalo, Diego Valeri, Olmes Garcia, Pedro Morales and Marcelo Sarvas were also deserving, but fell into the category of honorable mention as they were not better than Donovan this week.

What do you think of Landon Donovan being named SBI MLS Player of the Week? Agree with the decision? Who else impressed you in this round of action?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Featured, MLS Weekly Awards, MLS- LA Galaxy, SBI MLS Awards, SBI MLS Player of the Week. Bookmark the permalink.

95 Responses to SBI MLS Player of the Week: Landon Donovan

  1. Central says:

    Landon’s Revenge

  2. Ian says:

    LD should have been in Brazil.

  3. Mikey K says:

    I will continue to beat this dead horse. Landon should have been in Brazil. Shame on Klinsmann!

  4. Limey says:

    So where are all the Donovan’s fat comments now? You’re all worried now because you know he’s coming to your town to put the hurt on your team…if he has a good week in practice and he feels like it.

  5. Nate Dollars says:

    pretty sure he didn’t assist on ishizaki’s goal, but that’s the third time i’ve seen that written, so maybe i missed it. either way, well-earned recognition for donovan.

    • Ian says:

      Sometimes I think assists are handed out a little too loosey-goosey. If you click over to the highlights and fast-forward to the 2:40 mark, it was a link up between Donovan-Sarvas-Ishizaki. Donovan contributed in the run of play with the penultimate pass, but Sarvas sent the through ball to Ishi.
      link to matchcenter.mlssoccer.com

      • Nate Dollars says:

        i’ve never heard of awarding an assist for the ‘penultimate pass’. is that a new thing?

        • Increase0 says:

          Hockey assists.

          I actually rather like Hockey assists as show more who actually gets involved in the scoring of goals rather than just the 2 guys that touched it last.

          • Nate Dollars says:

            the hell? “hockey assists”? as in, the completely separate sport?

            i don’t mean to sound like a goddamn moron, but my mind is being blown right now. i’ve seriously never heard of this. is this just an mls-exclusive thing, as ian implies? and is this a recent adoption? guess i got some googlin’ to do.

        • Ian says:

          Nate, it’s MLS. There’s an esoteric rule for everything.

        • Sean says:

          MLS allows for a secondary assist when applicable. I like it because sometimes it’s that pass, which is the one that really creates the scoring chance.

  6. Ruben says:

    Good for Landon. But let’s not be so quick to say “Landon should have been in brazil”. While everyone was in Brazil Landon was struggling to finish a whole match vs the Railhawks and fighting an injury.

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      The knee got tweaked after the roster announcement. Injuries did not prevent Johannsen from making the squad, by the way

      • Jack says:

        Anyone who had watched Johannsson for the last couple of months for AZ could see he was playing at best 70%.

        • Fredo says:

          I guess Jürgen didn’t watch him.

          • Mason says:

            Except that they were both in camp.

            • ronniet says:

              Wrong…..Johansson didn’t actually show up for camp until right before cuts were made because of clubs commitments with AZ in the Europa League! Jurgen already had in his mind that Landon wasn’t making the final roster for whatever reason so the sooner people realize that the better! Its shameful because if he thought Davis and Wondo were better suited than LD to help the team we were doomed from the start and clearly their ineptitude reared its head at crucial moments!

              • Post-Klinsmann says:

                Yep it is shameful. I hate to say it but I’m not supporting US team until after Klinsmann is gone. I hope others do the same.

        • King Klinsmann says:

          but even at that 70% he was still just a little bit better than Donovan.

  7. At the game and the Sounders were out played start to finish. Donovan was great, but he can only blame himself for not going to Brazil – it is one game, Sounders will recover. If anything this game shows the importance of Chad Marshall to the team. If you don’t pressure the ball and let Landon and Co run at you this is the type of result you should expect

    • Vic says:

      Don’t agree, I think 99/100 coaches would have taken Donovan to Brazil.

      • Circus Midget says:

        And those 99 coaches would’ve gone out at the group stage because they didn’t have John Brooks. And around and around we go….

        • DaM says:

          you think brooks took landon’s roster spot? Landon instead of wondo… or davis.. or mix (couldnt have been needed if he never played) … etc.

          • DaM says:

            (not to mention the absurdity of your argument in the fallacy of predetermined outcome land. his point is 99 out of 100 coaches would have taken landon. who knows what that means. but if all you do is sub wondo for landon and assume all other outcomes predermined, then the US advance over Belgium. Either way your argument is a losing one.

            • Circus Midget says:

              Brooks wouldn’t have been there because Brooks wouldn’t have switched (unless Jogi Low is one of your 99). Green either for that matter. So two fewer goals from a direct switch (all other outcomes predetermined). Simple. Clean. Not like your example, where Donovan would be puking muffins at the halfway stripe instead of standing in the goalmouth where Wondo was.

              More importantly, who cares what 99/100 coaches would’ve done? 99/100 computer nerds failed to start MIcrosoft. 99/100 rock bands aren’t the Beatles. If Frank Yallop wants to take Donovan in his imagination, he can; I’ll keep our overachieving, 1/100 coach.

    • Post-Klinsmann says:

      Donovan was one of the best in camp. You’re a tool.

  8. Old School says:

    Can’t we just be happy for the USMNT….AND….Landon? Why do they have to be mutually exclusive for American fans?

    The emotional attachment and personal vitriol with Landon, Jurgen and the Nats appear to go beyond sporting terms and enter the realm of xenophobia. Oddly enough, the exact attribute so many seem to attribute to Jurgen and his decisions.

    Let’s move on, shall we?

    • Alex H says:

      Oh come on, it could be much worse, so far nobody has mentioned Freddy Adu….whom I think Bruce Arena should trade that washed up over the hill Robbie Keane for!!! See what I mean?

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      Xenophobia? Really? JK was my favorite player when he was active. I was out of my mind with excitement in 2006 when it looked like we’d get him. That had dimmed as more and more emerged about his coaching for Germany and B Munich, but I was still excited.

      My opinion that he is a tactically inept coach who places his ego and personal feeling about the team is not based on xenophobia. It’s based on observation and judgment. We did nothing in the World Cup that we haven’t done before, and stylistically we looked like a return to the 90s. Part of the reason is the creativity and vision we left at home.

    • Larry says:

      What, we aren’t allowed to criticize Klinsmann for mistakes? Just as Bruce Arena in 2006, and Bob Bradley in 2010…

      Of course, I could see Klinsmann’s mistakes before the World Cup. Bring in Donovan off the bench, bring a backup for Altidore. I also thought he should have brought another central midfielder who can play box-to-box and the holding role (if Jones or Bradley went down, there isn’t an obvious replacement).

      Maybe Donovan can’t do this on short rest for 90 minutes in a World Cup. But no one on the USA was making those runs off the ball or making consistently good decisions on the counter.

      • GW says:

        “What, we aren’t allowed to criticize Klinsmann for mistakes?”

        Isn’t that what you are doing now? So who is not allowing you to do that?

        What you are really saying is no one is allowed to comment on your criticism of JK, a highly unrealistic stance on this site..

    • beachbum says:

      this whole thing is on Jurgen, ask him

      he did it on purpose, called attention to it and did his public flogging of LD, so this will happen no matter how mature and seemingly superior is the call to move on as long as LD is still good, and he is, contrary to what many wish and continue to falsely report month after month, etc.

      • Mason says:

        I don’t care what he does now. He was playing badly two months ago when it mattered.

      • GW says:

        LD’s current good play is for the Galaxy.

        It has long been established (for example see Altidore, Jozy) that a good run of form for the club does not necessarily translate to the national team.

        LD makes note of the fact he was finally starting to feel good around May , indicating he believes he was rounding into form for the WC and he wanted to get back into that form again. No subtlety there.

        Regardless it proved to be too little too late. And it is relevant only as a talking point, because it cannot be proven that this so called form would ever have amounted to anything in Brazil.

        I’ve seen many games where an in form Donovan made no difference.
        Memory is now selective but for much of his career Donovan has been regularly criticised for “disappearing” and not being very effective in the middle of the park, one reason why he was usually employed out on the wing. And one reason why I find the notion that he could have replaced either Mikey or Jozy a little bit of wishful thinking.

        There is this current theme running around that because the US did not advance any further in the Cup that this was an unremarkable performance by the US.

        That is untrue.

        In 2014 Ghana, Portugal, Germany and Belgium were tougher games than England, Slovenia, Algeria and Ghana in 2010.

        The 2014 Death Group were more comparable to the US’ 2006 Group:

        Italy ( like Germany the eventual WC winner), the Czech Republic ( a very tough team with stars like Nedved not unlike Portugal ) and Ghana ( a lot like Ghana).

        So those who insist on comparing Arena and LD to JK and no LD will note that JK got out of the Group and Arena and LD did not.did not get out of theirs.

        Yeah it’s a silly hypothetical exercise but it is about as valid as all this other hypothetical crap out there.. .

        • Post-Klinsmann says:

          Talk about “selective” memory. Maybe you don’t know how to watch soccer. Those who complain Donovan “disappeared” were people who expected him to do something every game. His stats per minute played are astounding.

          • GW says:

            Post-Klinsmann says:

            “Talk about “selective” memory. Maybe you don’t know how to watch soccer. Those who complain Donovan “disappeared” were people who expected him to do something every game. His stats per minute played are astounding.”

            PK,

            “Were” astounding, past tense.

            Thank you for proving my point and showing your “selective memory”.

            Donovan did not do something every game of his USMNT career . No one does.

            I’ve seen him in mor than a few games big and otherwise where he made no positive contribution or his contribution was not enough to avert a loss

            But people think of him as super clutch.

            They forget he has played so many games for the US and consequently has had more opportunities than most to do something memorable. So the bad games tend to get buried.

            Since 2010 Clint Dempsey and Jozy have arguably been more clutch,

            Go over your stats per minute played again and tell me how many of them were compiled in the many blow out or easy wins over the years that the US piled up in CONCACAF or friendlies like the hat trick he hit against Scotland, a pathetic team on vacation.

            When was the last big game for the USMNT where he was a difference maker in a positive sense? For me it was Algeria 2010.

            But what about the 2010 Ghana game where he scored the penalty to tie the game? Sure but the US lost.

            The 2011 Gold Cup final where he made the score 2-0? Sure but the US went on to get massacred 4-2.

            That was three years ago.

            What big time clutch thing has he done for the US since then?

            The goal in the 2-0 win vs Mexico in Columbus in 2013 that clinched qualification?

            Okay, but was that a big time clutch performance?

            Do you think the US really needed Donovan to win that game? They had two games left in qualifying one with Jamaica and one with Panama if they needed them and Clint allegedly missed a penalty at the end of the game just to keep the scoreline at 2-0 so how clutch a performance was it really? Granted it was Mexico but they were in the middle of an abysmal run of form where they had lost their big boys pants and it was really showing.

            Mind you LD is undoubtedly still the USMNT’s best player ever. And he MIGHT have made a difference in Brazil. It’s just that the stats he has complied are a little misleading and make some people think he is Superman and would scored a hat trick against Germany and Belgium or something like that.

            And maybe he would have but odds are just as good he would have been anonymous..

  9. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Donovan’s so called lack of production earlier in the season, a case made by those who probably didn’t actually watch the games. was due more to Arena moving the system around. Donovan spent most of the season practically in a holding mid role. when he plays closer to the top, this is what happens.

    In a way, Arena did Donovan no favors. If he had used the formation that was producing goals at the end of last season, even JK would have had to get over his personal prejudice against Donovan. (And, let’s be honest – it was personal. He took an injured player and then didn’t replace another injuries play just to keep him off the squad. He’s the only coach on the planet who would not have taken him.)

    • Marcelo Balboa's Mustache says:

      +1. I think Donovan’s still top three in the league for chances created from run of play per 90. And I think the top two are not American.

    • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

      What does “personal” mean exactly? If I manage any organization and I don’t like one of my employees because he let me down 5 years ago (for argument’s sake, let’s say), what is my obligation to him? Even if other managers have had success with him before and since, am I wrong to get rid of him in favor of a guy I trust to execute my vision better? It is my neck on the line, after all, is it not? Is that not what I am paid to do?

      Personal? Maybe, but certainly not unprofessional, as many seem to feel (I realize you did not say this just asking)

      • White Kix says:

        But as the manager of the organization, your obligation is to the shareholders, and not your vision. If that employee who let you down 5 years ago is your best option to deliver what the shareholders expect, you deliver what the shareholders want and screw your vision.

        • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

          A fair question… here is the assumption:

          As a group, shareholders rarely know what they want, other than profits. Some may think Donovan was the guy to deliever them, some may not (SBI has plenty of examples of each). Managers are hired to make this decision and be accountable, so that profit-driving decisions are not made by “committee” — an inefficient system in the eyes of most, and one that yields short-term thinking. The vision is what the manager must have to ensure that the profits are there not only tomorrow, but for years to come.

          The consensus profit “target” in this case as set by the USSF, fans, etc was advancement from the Group of Death. Anything less and yes the manager would have to justify the failure and underlying decisions. But since that threshhold was cleared, he can now say, “I have achieved the profits you have asked AND I have left us better off to repeat the feat next time by reducing our reliance on a soon-to-be-retired asset”

          • wood chip Zip says:

            klinsmanns son’s other deleted tweet showed it was personal. After the infamous HHAAAAHHAAAA tweet, he tweeted, “I doubt he thinks Davis is better, he just thinks he will work harder”. Davis was horrible in the WC. He was so bad that Klinsmann (or Ramos) had to move him to right side where his left foot, which is the only thing he has to offer the USMNT, would be largely useless. I don’t think he put in a single cross the entire game. In your business manager analogy above, a manager can’t hire someone just because they work harder than the other candidate, they need to be qualified for the job also. Davis was not qualified (i.e.. good enough) for the World Cup team. Also Klinsmann constantly made rules about what the players need to be doing to get call-ups but he disregarded these rules often for certain players. Again in your business manager analogy, a manager can’t make rules that only apply to some of his employees. Stuff like that is often against the law and certainly unprofessional.

            • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

              Thank you for these two answers to questions that were not asked. I will wait for Tony.

            • Mason says:

              Davis’s job was apparently to give Bedoya 60 minutes of rest in a group match and not get torched defensively. He did that. Could LD have done that? Probably. Would he have been content to do so, or would consigning him to that role have caused internal discord?

              Your guess is as good as mine, because the manager decided not to take that chance.

            • GW says:

              “Also Klinsmann constantly made rules about what the players need to be doing to get call-ups but he disregarded these rules often for certain players.”

              Could you give a specific example so we can see what you mean?

          • wood chip Zip says:

            And the comment that no Donovan “left us better off to repeat the feat next time by reducing our reliance on a soon-to-be-retired asset” also doesn’t apply in the case of Davis since they are the same age

        • GW says:

          White Kix,

          If JK believed the team as a unit was better off without Donovan then he was fufilling his obligation to the “shareholders”

          And what is this talk about “vision”?

          Before the World Cup, before the qualifiers JK made it clear that there was a time to play to try to achieve that “vision” and then there was a time to play to get a result to qualify .

          If you watched the qualifiers you could tell the difference..

          JK took the squad he felt would give him the best chance to advance.

          JK and LD don’t believe in each other. If LD was still 2010 LD then yeah, JK makes allowances but obviously, JK felt LD wasn’t there anymore so why take a guy along who wasn’t really with the program either mentally or physically..

          LD had two years to impress the new boss that he wanted a job and could barely be bothered to make an effort. If I were the boss I would not have given the guy a job either.

    • Post-Klinsmann says:

      +1

  10. ben in el cajon says:

    Donovan played really well last night, and I was overjoyed to see him contributing so much.

    But, he played with the kids the the friendly against Manchester United, he was invisible against KC, and he came on as a half time substitute against New England and played no role in any of the Galaxy’s five goals in that game.

    The game before that, against Real Salt Lake, he was also mostly missing, and when the Galaxy were protecting their lead after 60 minutes or so Arena pulled Zardes into midfield and pushed Landon up top because Landon wasn’t playing defense well.

    Donovan used to drift in and out of games. Now he drifts in and out of seasons.

    Please, Chris Klein, negotiate to get Donovan out of his DP contract and sign Jermaine Jones with that money.

    • Ian says:

      Do tell: How does one negotiate a player out of a $4.5 million contract and into a $350,000 contract? That’s a 93% pay cut.

      I’d love to see Jermaine Jones in a Galaxy uniform, but it won’t happen while we have three DPs. And we’ll have three DPs until one of them leaves.

      • ben in el cajon says:

        Good point. In that case. LA should trade him to free up a DP slot. He’s not done yet, but he won’t lasts long as Jones.

    • beachbum says:

      classic anti-fanboy jive. LD’s had one poor game in 2 months…vs. SKC. That you count anything from his runout with the 6-7 subs who entered all at once for 30 minutes in a friendly instead of what he did last night in Seattle in a competitive showdown mitigates your insight attempt significantly imo

      • Mason says:

        Come on… From a USMNT perspective, it doesn’t matter how well LD plays now. It mattered two months ago. Even you’d have to admit that he was in poor form before camp, and that his form has improved greatly. It doesn’t matter though, because it’s too late to matter.

        • Nate Dollars says:

          i’m commenting way too much about something i (supposedly) don’t care much about, but i thought the opposite: he was playing well (though out of position, so lower stats) before the camp, and has been playing poorly lately.

      • ben in el cajon says:

        No,
        Landon has had several poor games during the season, like four of the last five, for example.

  11. NE Revs says:

    Landon Donovan just giving his fan boys under ware slushies like you read about.

  12. JenaW says:

    If you want to keep the ‘shareholders’ theme – even if you have someone that gave disappointing results in another company years previous, if that same person has since gone so far as to help a different company and shareholders not only become award winning but make huge piles of money, then you use that person. Especially over others that have proved nothing! (for those who are somewhat dense think U.S., U.S. Soccer Federation, and all U.S. fans for ‘company and shareholders’ and think ‘Gold Cup win’, ‘World Cup qualification’ and huge fan base for ‘award winning and huge piles of money).

    As far as JK and his personal enmity re: Donovan – it’s VERY real. I have a relative whose son runs in the same social circles as JK’s son. Even before ‘THE TWEET’ and having his father shut him down, Jonathon Klinsmann was not above letting his friends know about his father’s feelings regarding Donovan. Donovan could have been MLS’ leading scorer and blown away everyone in drills and still would not have gone to Brazil. Donovan being left off the World Cup team had nothing to do with fitness or age. It had to do with legacy!! JK can’t do much about the legacy Donovan already has but there was no way he was going to add to it! JK did not want Donovan’s legacy to include 4 World Cups. His pettiness towards Donovan just wasn’t going to let that happen and his own son was letting that be known amongst his friends.

    • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

      I respectfully disagree. If I’m the manager, I take my people as long as it’s my neck on the line.

      As for the personal part, this simply is not the question. I’m willing to concede for the purpose of the argument that JK and his family including his dog personally cannot stand Donovan (I have no idea in real life, nor do I particularly care.). Hates the sight of him. Whatever you want. I like them both but I accept they don’t get along. Irrelevant.

      Manager shouldn’t take him if that’s how he feels, and no that is not unprofessional. What’s would be the point? He takes the team he feels can execute his vision best, and yes he takes some risk if some shareholders say “you should have taken this player– why don’t you like him?!?” . But he cleared his hurdle and won his calculated risk. At this point, it’s effectively game over for the critics, save for the lonely van ride back to SBI.

      • Mason says:

        Your last two sentences distill the concept that the “LD-fanboi” contingent is having a hard time understanding and dealing with. It doesn’t matter why JK left LD off, because ultimately JK achieved the goal that was set out for him. I would even argue that he exceeded the goal that was set out for him, because I don’t believe that USSF expected to survive that group. Why else would USSF give JK a raise and promotion in January of a WCF year?

        Several times I posed a question of the form, “What would it take for JK to be proven right?” I could never get a straight answer.

        • Nate Dollars says:

          hell, mason; you never asked me. :)

          my answer would’ve been ‘semi-finals’, or, *maybe* a stellar showing in the quarters–something at least as good as what we’ve done before.

          klinsmann’s getting paid way the hell more than any other US coach was, he has better players, and he left off a proven performer (some would say ‘talisman’) to make it ‘his’ team.

          i’m not surprised we survived the group, as it was better on paper than in reality. no idea what the ussf is thinking, but at least i answered your question.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        “But he cleared his hurdle and won his calculated risk.”

        i disagree. i think if wondo hadn’t flubbed his chance, we probably wouldn’t still be hearing so much about landon’s ‘snub’, but wondo flubbed his chance, and it was too easy to compare him to a player who has performed under pressure at the international level, repeatedly.

        who knows if donovan would’ve been in that position, or finished the chance, or whatever the hell? but that’s a risk klinsmann took, and i think it turned out poorly for him.

        • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

          Then I respect your opinion, even if it doesn’t match mine. For my part, I’m not sure what the value of a Buster Douglas win over Beglium would really have been (obviously I would’ve loved another game to watch, but that’s my own self-interest) R16 is an honest assessment of where our talent it at… maybe even generous. It will take a generation still min for me to say “we have QF talent consistently– this is our min expectation”. Too many other elite countries.

          Imagine if we had made QF– no doubt the target would be semis for many here. With this group of $4mm players (+ whoever we pick up in four short years) that is wildly aggressive.

          One thing I’m sure of is that until the day we win, we will always have disputes about what could’ve changed in the game where we exited.

        • Post-Klinsmann says:

          If still be talking about it bc the team played negatively. And you can’t talk about Wondo’s miss without talking about how Howard saved Klinsmann’s ass.

  13. beachbum says:

    and he did it from the left wing position. Arena gets props again for figuring out how to utilize the versatility in the talent on his team.

    paired with Rodgers, he helped shut down that Seattle right flank offense while also exposing it routinely the other way. very much a two-way performance from the left wing position, one he hasn’t been asked to play much at all, in a big game

  14. donnie says:

    All the comments above are focusing only on the Donovan snub. True his was the biggest with Klinsmann having a great time publicly sticking the knife in and twisting. But there were several other snubs of guys who had paid their dues in WC qualifying and proved they were WC material. But Klinsmann threw them overboard at the last minute and instead called in several players who were either not in form (Johansson), not in shape after long injuries (Chandler), not good enough (Davis, Mix, Wondo) or who refused to help out during WCQ (Chandler). As for Green and Brooks, despite their goals there were better alternatives who would have been more valuable to the team and better chemistry at the WC. So how to the explain the less than optimal roster, which kept the USMNT from going to the quarter-finals and possibly beyond. Klinsmann appears like a vindictive egotist brick to me and maybe Klinsmann used the WC snubs as the supreme payback to those he thinks were sources for Brian Strauss mutiny story. Along the lines of, I’ll string them along and let them help me get the team qualified for the WC then they will have to pay the piper. If you look at the biggest snubs, it is not hard to imagine them as sources for the mutiny story.

    • Mason says:

      How come you list seven players who you would have left off for various reasons without naming the people who were “snubbed” in their favor?