SBI MLS All-Stars Man of the Match: Landon Donovan

Osvaldo Alonso, Landon Donovan

Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

PORTLAND, Ore. — Twenty-three minutes is all that Landon Donovan played in the MLS All-Star Game, and he still made quite the impact.

Donovan came off the bench in the 48th minute and scored the game-winning goal in the MLS All Stars’ 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich on Wednesday night. The LA Galaxy veteran delivered the game’s decisive moment in the 70th minute, latching onto a beautiful long ball from Diego Valeri before pushing a shot past Manuel Neuer with his final kick of the game.

The performance from Donovan saw him voted SBI’s MLS All Stars Man of the Match. He beat out a list of candidates that included Thierry Henry, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Nick Rimando and Erick Torres.

Donovan played as a left midfielder and had the least amount of minutes of any of the 23 MLS All Stars because of the fact that the Galaxy play on Friday. But that was still enough for him to provide the definitive moment in a match that saw his side rally from a goal down.

What do you think of Donovan winning this honor? Agree with the selection? Which other MLS All-Stars do you think were worthy of consideration?

Share your thoughts below.

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69 Responses to SBI MLS All-Stars Man of the Match: Landon Donovan

  1. chris says:

    Beating a dead horse with a sock full of batteries but its a shame he wasn’t at the World Cup.

    • Jack says:

      Bradley Wright-Phillips probably could have even helped England as well. haha

    • Gary Page says:

      Until Klinsmann owns up to his grievous mistake at leaving him out, I think it’s fair game to repeat when justified. An awful lot of ignorant posters here were saying Donovan was fat, slow, old and over the hill. Although I’m not a huge fan of his, their criticism was way off base so I love to see him show up his critics.

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        That would require admitting that he hurt his team’s chances of winning based on personal dislike. Not going to happen.

      • USA 2022 says:

        I never understood the “LD is fat” criticisms. Muffin-tops or not, Landy Cakes stood apart from many in Brazil (including the entire USA roster) when he cooly slotted past Neuer last night. I’m thinking Fat-Elvis would have been the perfect sub to bring on in the last 20-30 minutes when the game is within a goal, either way.

        Landon Donovan is the greatest goal scorer in U.S. history and Klinsmann deserves to take heat for leaving him home. However, the overall performance by the USMNT under Juergen has not been a disappointment, thus far.

        • Wood chip zip says:

          That “fat”, perhaps, gave him the ability to hold off those defenders while he calmly slotted it past a gesticulating Neuer

    • Fire Klinsmann Ban Klinsmann Jr says:

      A shame is right. It’s bordering on criminal and I hope that JK is sent packing.

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        The guy rolls us back to 1994 tactically and some people fall all over him. The Donovan thing is just the most glaring example of a guy who just can’t coach. Good god, I hope someone comes along and steals him away…

        • Freegle says:

          Why would they? Who wants an egomaniac with a history of alienating his best players and being tactically inept?

        • Josh D says:

          1994? Did you even watch the kickball team we had in 94’?

          We have been playing a ton better than under previous coaches: playing out from the back, utilizing the middle of the field just as much as the wings, not relying on counters, building up plays, quicker passes, defenders playing out from the back.

          Dislike Klinsi for dropping Donovan (I didn’t blame him) but saying Klinsi hasn’t improved this team is absurd. Even foreign coaches were complementing him after the World Cup.

      • Maykol says:

        Lol yeah klinsmann needs to be locked up in the pen

      • Wood chip zip says:

        Anyone know if Julian Green played for Baren last night? I watched the entire game but didn’t see him.

  2. Maykol says:

    Sick goals from Donovan and BWP. Also thought Henry, Yedlin, and Martins looked fantastic in the first half

    • Ali Dia says:

      +1 Everybody wanted to be there. A great advertisement for the league– it’s not just a piggy bank for aging global stars anymore. The pride and unity was far more important than the score, which also came out very well. After watching a subdued collection of players get picked apart at will by Totti last year, I did not see this coming. Kudos to Portland– they made it an MLS home game instead of a celebration of Germany’s World Cup winners, without being hostile to our (apparently quite sensitive) guests

    • BarryP says:

      I like the Rimando pick as well but Landon makes a better talking point so he’s an easy media pick. Donovan played well enough but Rimando wes pretty special in the first half.

  3. bizzy says:

    Silent the critics about his level of play…..what a game, Congrats LD

    • Increase says:

      Meh, LD has motivation issues. Talent and ability aren’t really a problem.

      The day to day grind clearly gets to the man. He is still good for moments however and yes he should have been given the chance to have one of those moments at the WC.

      However… its not some great tragedy.

      • Alex says:

        Sorry but I strongly disagree. Donovan has proven himself on the field and to US fans. Separating all of the football, he has become like family to millions of people and it was a tragedy not to have him at the World Cup. I met many people who were just gutted about the World Cup as it was going on because of the Donovan situation.

        It was supposed to be a celebration for US fans but for thousands or millions, it just was missing a big piece of what made it feel like family. I know lots of people feel this way.

        Donovan’s time was coming. We all know that. But, it wasn’t now and JK should seriously be replaced.

        • homerica7 says:

          Seriously, JK should be replaced? I agree with Increase above. If you want to question JK, do it for not having a back up for Jozy.

          Donovan was out of form before the World Cup. Being cut lit a fire under him. It was pretty simple for him, do what the coach asks you to do. Don’t say “I can’t go hard every day in practice” days before the coach is making cuts. Don’t take a sabbatical DURING qualifying. JK is known as a coach who gets rid of people who think they are more important than the team.

          Coaches leave off the best players for personal reasons all the time. See Samir Nasri for France or Carlos Tevez for Argentina. I happens, get over it.

          • Ronniet says:

            How can you do what the coach asks you to do when the coach himself is a hypocrite and continuously changes his tune when it benefits him?? I applaud JK’s drive and his “get the most out of his players” mentality but it’s hard to root for a manager that thinks he is bigger than the team(like Guardiola last night) and will single handedly put his team at a detriment because of it!

            • homerica7 says:

              Have you ever played soccer at a high level? All coaches are hypocrites and are never consistent, especially if you aren’t one of the favorites. They will do what they think is best to win. Donovan’s approach has done him no favors with JK, and hence he paid for that by being cut. You don’t take a sabbatical during World Cup qualifying and expect it not to affect the coaches view of you.

          • Freegle says:

            France and Argentine can afford to leave off good players because they have good back-ups. We do not have that luxury.

            And the form argument is moot because no one was in worse form before that World Cup than Jozy and Klinsmann still built the entire offense around him.

            • homerica7 says:

              Two goals before the WC kick off is decent form for Jozy, who NEEDS decent service to score. No other option was better than Jozy as well. In Donovan’s position, we had cover, aka Clint Dempsey. Donovan was never going to play wide.

              And France and Argentina could have definitely each used Nasri and Tevez, respectively, at the WC.

              Donovan backers keep pointing to the JK’s inconsistencies in what he said. I personally don’t care about that. Donovan was left off because of his sabbatical and JK didn’t trust him because of that. Simple as that.

              I would venture to guess most people would have been happy to get out of the group before the WC, regardless of lineups. We did that, and I would say we played a lot better than in 2010.

              • Freegle says:

                Responding to each point in order…
                1) The cuts were made before Jozy scored those to goals and rediscovered his form so in this form discussion, those goals are irrelevant. If that is indeed true and Donovan was never going to be a winger, I consider that a symptom of the problem. Remember, we ended up playing a 20 year old right back as a winger in two games (I know he played well but that still highlights the roster selection problems)

                2) France and Argentina probably could have used Nasri and Tevez. If you believe that, then their coaches should be criticized/second guessed, just as we are doing to ours now. Regardless, leaving Tevez home when you have Huiguan, Messi, etc. is not the same as leaving Donovan in favor of Wondo and Brad Davis. It isn’t even apples and oranges. It’s apples and SUVs.

                3) Since his sabbatical, Donovan was golden boot winner at the Gold Cup, and had a MOTM performance with a goal and assist in the World Cup qualifying-clinching win vs Mexico. If that’s not enough to earn back “trust” then there’s a HUGE problem with our system (and his name is Juergen).

                4) All of this irrelevant because we’re talking about conjecture. Yes we got out of the group and that’s great. Maybe we played better than in 2010 (I’m dubious about this). But no matter how you fall on those issues, you have to admit that Klinsmann weakened our team because Donovan could potentially have helped us get further and/or play better. That’s why he deserves criticism.

              • homerica7 says:

                Well I can’t reply under your comment, but I’ll respond to your rebuttal.

                1) Jozy was always the number one forward, regardless of anything else. What coaches say will always be inconsistent. They say one thing for the media, and then do what they want. Mourinho is a classic example of this type of speech. Really, as fans we should know that by now. And part of the actual WC is identifying the trends that are occurring. JK thought Yedlin could be useful with his speed against tired defenses, so he brought him and was proved right. I’m not arguing against the roster being unbalanced. He should have brought cover for Jozy.

                2) Pretty sure France and Argentina coaches got plenty of criticism, as they should. Disagree on the comparison. I think it is reasonable based upon how people were playing at the time.

                3) Don’t lose the trust to begin with. JK is German and Donovan’s behavior would not be acceptable for the German national team. Call it a cultural difference, but the whole reason JK is there is to make it unacceptable in our system to lose that trust to begin with. And I was at the Mexico match. Donovan did well, but not MOTM.

                4) It IS all conjecture. You are saying he weakened the team, I would say he didn’t, because he thought Donovan couldn’t be trusted and would become a distraction if he wasn’t starting. The Donovan I watched the month or two before the WC would not have helped the team.

                I’m fine if people criticize JK. We should and it shows the soccer culture is growing. But to throw a pity party for Donovan is just silly to me. If I’m Donovan, don’t go on sabbatical and I make the team. If I don’t want to play anymore, just retire. If I want to play in a WC where there are only days between games, don’t say that I can’t play hard every day. It’s pretty simple. Don’t give the coach a reason to cut you.

        • Increase0 says:

          What you said was all about Feelings you had towards Donovan.

          I’m not talking about Feelings. I’m talking about his play, which like I said he can still do but its not as easy for him anymore and clearly he can’t make himself go 100% everygame anymore.

          He can still be brilliant like he showed today, but its moments now. It’s not continuous anymore.

  4. Petro4ever says:

    Would have picked Rimando myself, but tough to argue with giving it to the guy who scored the game winner…

    • Adam says:

      Both keepers played well… Last season I was worried that Hamid’s development had stalled, but he has been impressive this year.

    • rigoberto says:

      I agree with you about Rimando but disagree with you that it is tough to argue. Sure Landon was great in his cameo but Rimando’s saves were so much more crucial and kept the All-Stars in a position to pull it out.

      • Football Forever Soccer says:

        I would say it’s not clear cut but would say I was, initially, surprised that LD was being awarded the trophy. Having said that, the GWG is a pretty common reason to get a match MVP award.

        But, this trophy will never make up for what was done to US fans when Donovan was left out of the WC. It still makes me sick to think about.

  5. Wild Draw Four says:

    Me: MLS 2-1 FCB
    Wife: So basically we should have won the World Cup?

  6. downintexas says:

    Oh what could have been. Thanks Klinsman for putting your petty crap first.

  7. Yevgeniy says:

    HAAHAHAHAAHAHAA! I didn’t even notice that Donovan scored the game winner against the best goalie in the World!

  8. Byrdman says:

    Didn’t see the game yet. But as I read all the comments about this proving that LD should have been at the World Cup, I have one thought. It’s a shame Landon didn’t come into camp in shape, with the right attitude. No I wasn’t at the camp, but you can clearly see he has fire in his belly now to prove JK wrong. To me the mistake is that JK didn’t find a way to get this fire in him earlier. For those who think we are still playing like 1994…. we are definitely watching different games. Just my two cents.. have a good one.

    • Paul6 says:

      Attitude I can’t say anything about but his fitness was there I believe he was top 3 in the beep test.

    • That_Guy says:

      I have a hard time understanding why when a player goes through a slump, its considered not having any drive. An obvious comparison to Donovan would be Dempsey, so I will use him. When Dempsey was going thru his slump at Sounders and Fulham, no one questioned his drive. It coincided with some average USMNT performances but people still felt that Dempsey was giving it all. Donovan goes thru a slump before the World Cup, and people question his mentallity. The one time Donovan questiona his mentallity he stepped away so that he could refresh and find the drive again. He came back, won the Gold Cup MVP and literally got the USMNT into the World Cup. He hit a slump and all of a sudden people question Donovan’s mentality. If you have watched him over the years, you would know there are very few as poised, competitive peope in the world. I guess people just mistake that poise as being uninterested, which is too bad.

      And do you really think that on the biggest stage in the world, Donovan would not have been motivated? Look what he did against the Sounders and Bayern. The man is the most motivated USMNT player against big competition and there is no bigger competition than the World Cup. Just remember how he played against Slovenia, Algeria, and Ghana.

      • homerica7 says:

        There is a reason Donovan is called Landycakes….for his lack of strong mentality over the years. I remember the Donovan who ran rampant against Germany in 2002. I also remember the Donovan who couldn’t cut it at Bayern Munich (if he had made it, interest in American players likely would have increased). The Donovan who was crap in the 2006 WC. The Donovan who had a strong showing at Everton, but refused to make a permanent move there. I imagine what Donovan could have done if he had Clint Dempsey’s mentality, and that makes me more sad and upset than him getting cut from the WC (which I personally think he would have had little impact at).

        • don Lamb says:

          pet peeve of mine: fans who think they understand a player’s “mentality.” also, you holding it against him for “not cutting it” at Bayern says more about you than it does about him.

          • homerica7 says:

            I don’t understand Donovan’s mentality. If fans are disappointed that Donovan was cut, I am disappointed that a player hasn’t fulfilled his potential and could have opened up the doors for other American players in Europe. As for what it says about “me”, it says that I am disappointed in him as a fan, which I’m sure Donovan could care less about.

            • don Lamb says:

              “Could have opened up the doors for other American players in Europe”

              Don’t be so naive. Nobody can open those doors but themselves.

      • rolo says:

        LD appears to be motivated at showing others he’s worthy after the fact.

        On the international level that’s not how its done

        • Ronniet says:

          He’s done his best work on the International level, don’t think there are any problems there….try again!!

      • petro4ever says:

        I guess I never really thought about it in terms of mentality (although I know a bunch of commentors have taken that position). I think the issue was more that the coaching staff knew that the team would have to play a number of games in a very short window of time (in punishing conditions) and that they needed players who could both go all-out over the course of an entire game and recover quickly between games. Throughout the cycle, Landon drifted in and out of games and he himself admitted that he had trouble training hard day-in/day-out for a number of days in a row. Sure, he had some great moments over the course of the cycle, but precisely because his body can’t quite hold up like it used to, the case for including him wasn’t unambiguous. At the time he was cut, I certainly saw the arguments for keeping him on the team (personally, I would have considered bringing him over Davis — there’s nothing Davis does that Donovan can’t do better), but I didn’t find the decision to cut him all that shocking either.

        Would he have made a difference against Germany or Belgium? It’s certainly possible he could have provided a partner for Dempsey up top when Altidore went down or moved into the facilitator role when Bradley showed poorly as an attacking midfielder. But it’s just as likely that by the time we got to those games, he would have worn himself out and not been much of a factor. His being left off wasn’t some sort of grand injustice. It was just a decision by the coaching staff that could have gone either way and I’m not entirely certain that having him would have made much difference one way or the other.

  9. Freegle says:

    I know people want this storyline to go away but the only way for that to have happened is if we had won the World Cup. Beyond that, there is always going to be a reason to second guess the decision because there will always be a questions as to whether or not Donovan could have helped us reach the next level. (see: the 93rd minute of the Belgium match). That alone perpetuates the validity of the discussion until we have a legit explanation.

    The only words we have about Donovan being unprepared for camp are from Klinsmann himself.. Nothing from any other coaches, players, or reporters that covered the camp. Donovan haters continuously refer to this “attitude” problem that Donovan had but they conveniently omit 2 things…. 1) Donovan did his “sabbatical” penance and put in a Golden Boot winning performance at the Gold Cup in the process. (a.k.a. he EARNED his spot back)2) There is ZERO evidence anywhere that Donovan has ever been anything but the consummate professional in any USMNT camp.

    We have no proof the Landon Donovan would have altered our fate in Brazil. But IMO we don’t actually need it in order to acknowledge the fact that Klinsmann specifically and intentionally weakened our team simply to prove his own genius (or worse, because of some grudge). To do so is an egregious slap in the face to the whole USMNT program and the antithesis of good coaching/management.

    • beachbum says:

      +1

    • homerica7 says:

      You will never get an explanation, but Bayern started the misgivings about Donovan from JK (who until then loved him), the sabbatical put the nail on the wood of the coffin, and the “I can’t train every day” comment nailed it in.

      I personally would have taken Donovan to the WC, but I get why he didn’t go. To say it is an “egregious slap in the face to the whole USMNT program” is a ridiculous comment (to use the same outlandish, over-the-top language). Players are cut all the time, even ones that are great players for a program. Ronaldinho would have gone to the WC if called by Brazil, but wasn’t, and he has a WAY higher pedigree than Donovan.

      • Freegle says:

        Ronaldinho was/is of higher pedigree, but so were all the players selected instead of him. We are not Brazil, or France or Argentina who you referenced above with a stable of international quality players. We left Landon Donovan home and brought Brad Davis and Chris Wondolowski. Both have been good MLS players and have made contributions against weaker CONCACAF opposition but neither was ever good enough to compete, never mind contribute, at the World Cup level (and both were found wanting in Brazil).

        The Donovan snub itself is not the slap in the face to the USMNT. The fact that Juergen Klinsmann put his ego before the well-being of the World Cup success of this team is. If that’s not insulting to the program, I don’t know what is.

        • homerica7 says:

          I think many people in Brazil would disagree with regards to Ronaldinho. There were calls for him to be brought back. Besides Neymar, the attackers for Brazil left a lot to be desired.

          Hey, I said I would have brought Donovan, but the reason he was left home was perfectly legitimate in my book. I don’t think the well-being of the team was hurt one bit by it. We could have easily gotten 2006 Donovan, as easily as 2010 Donovan. If that is where we disagree, then so be it.

          I just think if you don’t start Donovan, then he is a distraction that easily out ways the benefits as a bench option. To me, Jozy going down made more of a difference, and lack of cover for him is where the criticism should be.

          • Freegle says:

            Do you see Donovan as part of that cover? not necessarily at that same position but in the versatility he brings in formations, his calmness on the ball in comparison to some of the players brought, or his international experience as a distributor and finisher?

            • homerica7 says:

              Like I said, I would have brought him if I was the coach, but it is pretty clear to me the reasons why JK didn’t bring him, and I am ok with those reasons. I don’t think it is some sort of national tragedy.

              In reality, if we would have beaten Portugal, we rest our starters against Germany, and I think we beat Belgium then. Donovan then becomes a non-issue. If we didn’t get out of the group, then I would sympathize more with the Donovan supporters, but doing what we did was about right for the level we are at.

              As for Donovan’s qualities, he has those when he wants to show them, but we could have easily gotten the 2006 WC version of Donovan, who was absolutely awful. People assume Donovan would have played great, but we have no idea. With him, you never know.

  10. That_Guy says:

    Logic. Gotta love logic.

  11. PD says:

    There comes a point where talking about a bad break starts being downright creepy. Aren’t we there yet with this JK + LD novella? It’s over. Move the poops on.

    • homerica7 says:

      Nope. Donovan is the greatest American player ever and because of that deserves to be on the team no make what and can do whatever he wants. If he isn’t, that makes the country sad, and the fans deserve to pick the team, riding on the back of Donovan into the sunset after he personally defeats Ghana, Portugal and Germany, makes 15 saves and scores three goals against Belgium, he scores a brace in each of the remaining games to win us the World Cup and makes the Men In Blazers heads explode.

  12. Brian I says:

    Personally I think I’d go with Rimando or BWP just for the fact that his goal was on par with Lewandowski’s (sp?). Also a shout out to the first half team, they didn’t score but played some beautiful soccer upfront for stretches of the game.

    TH14…my fav player of all time! Legend and still has it!

  13. rolo says:

    He showed Klinsy

  14. FRANK says:

    WAS JERGUNN WATCHING
    DONOVON SCORED

  15. onlyagame says:

    Donovan has been playing grat and should have been at the worldcuo.

    Wondow and Brad Davis really strike fear into the opponents. And zusi is ok but hes not that good. He cang get offers in europe.

    meanwhile, coach ego cuts Donovan in a personal move. Kid kilnsi didnt make fun of parkhurst or goodson for beingcut didhe? Obvious it was personal
    so lets all just let it go turn the page move on. Typical phrases from people who screw up and cant own their mistake and have no honor.

    besides klinsi says if you mess up you should hear abiut it from the butcher and the baker. :)