Landon Donovan Sets One Up In Debut

• Click here for assist video. Donovan on the BBC about his debut.

Donovan in Toffee Blue: More natural than Roy Hobbs....

Just 12 minutes into his first start for Everton, a Landon Donovan corner kick found the head of Leon Osman who deposited it in the back of the net versus Arsenal.

Donovan started and played 69 strong minutes for the Toffees leaving with the game knotted at 1 goal apiece. He certainly seemed like he belonged out there with pace down the wing, one nifty foray into the box and his customary tracking back on defense. Like any game there were some miscues (poor clearance attempt, airmailed cross attempt), but Manager David Moyes has to be happy with the American’s play especially when you consider Donovan hasn’t played a meaningful game in six weeks and just joined his new squad a week ago.

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/09 at 10:44 AM

    Wow, wow, wow! I can’t believe Landon starts…right mid (I would have thought left mid) in his debut…at the Emirates nonetheless….assists and Everton draws…

    Donovan may not and should not be positioned as a savior….but the Toffees are expected to lose that away game this season for sure….it’s like 12 years since Everton even drew Arsenal I think.

    As a fan, just super super exciting.

    Sure Clichy is injured on the left…but this is Arsenal…okay, I will now return to my consistent, analytical ways.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Berg on 2010/01/09 at 11:28 AM

    Awesome, simply awesome. Great for Donovan and good result for Everton, especially considering that catastrophe of an opening game.

    Reply

  3. Posted by KMac on 2010/01/09 at 12:58 PM

    Great job Mr. Donovan. Eye catching debut to borrow a quote from the English press (Sun). Solid first ~68 minutes. A corner assist, pace and danger on the right side, with a couple of nice chances for self and others – and really kept Traore pinned down and beat him several times well. Bad luck on the header clearance – Arsenal was quite lucky not to drop 3 points.
    What a great feeling to see a solid performance.

    Reply

  4. Posted by K.M. Morris on 2010/01/09 at 1:44 PM

    I was amazed at how comfortable Donovan looked–almost as if he’d been playing all season for Everton. What a great day for Lando and US soccer.

    Reply

  5. Posted by dallen on 2010/01/09 at 3:51 PM

    I streamed it. He looked exactly as you’d expect against top-flight European competition. By that I mean to say he looked excellent. I’ve watched a handful of Everton matches this year and I can say that from what I’ve seen, his speed up the right flank (he was wide right mid all 68 minutes he played, NOT withdrawn up top or even target man *cough*Kilnssmann is a moron*cough*) brought a dimension to their attack that they’ve not had. Their bad performance this year is in my opinion down to Arteta’s injury and their pathetic back line. And it is pathetic. Poor Timmy. Anyway, Landon didn’t fix their back line, but what he did do was open up a ton of space and do some serious class passing from the right. His speed on the right really opened up play for Pienaar, Cahill and Saha. I think Cahill looked better than he has all year with Landon on his flank. Since they can’t play through the middle using Arteta, they’ve been lost without a real stylistic identity. It looked like they had that today. The 2-2 score line flatters to deceive, big time. Everton was by far the better team today.

    I can tell you one dude who is absolutely not a Landon Donovan fan after today, and that’s Armand Traore. He got a heaping helping of Landon’s dust for 68 minutes straight until Landon was taken off with a cramp. Understandable in the cold and after such a long layoff.

    What was most surprising was how at home he looked with the style of play. Landon, being the great white hope/hype that he is for us Nat fans, has had no small amount of speculation on why he never made it in Europe and if he should choose to go back, which league would cater most to his strengths in order to assure most likely success. Popular notion was that Spain would be ideal. The weather, the style etc. Now, I have no doubt he’d do well in Spain, but what I saw today was a Premiership player. He did not mess around. He was fast, he was decisive on the ball, he was physical (for him) and he was direct. You could see he was in lock step with the flow of the game.

    Now, of course there’s every chance he’ll flop in subsequent games, but I doubt it. This time last year I was all heated up on him going to Bayern. When he failed it sucked because it tarnished my fondness for that club, as well as Landon. My Landon love was of course restored by the time the Confed’s cup rolled around and I was only too happy write off the way things played out in Munich as being down to Klinssmann’s being a bad tactician, Bayern’s management having too many hands on the beer stein and Landon stepping into an unwelcome situation. I believed all that but there was that nagging little twinge in the back of my mind that it was Landon’s fault and he just couldn’t hack it. Then of course he ran Egypt ragged, Spain and then Brazil and it became easier and easier to believe that anyone who could put in a shift against international competition like that could surely do it in a top-flight club environment and all recent previous failure was down to forces he could not control. What I saw today went a long way to justify that belief.

    Now of course, I’m a huge homer and his performance today probably doesn’t justify the extended tongue bath I’ve just given him in this post, but god damn it’s nice to be right after so many chances showed otherwise. I feel good for him, I feel good for me and I feel good for Everton. Sean Wheelock, a journalist as close to Landon and the USMNT as you’ll ever find and probably the foremost expert on the concacaf region you’ll find in our country is adamant that this is a loan, yes, but if Landon makes himself indispensable, it could be more. I hope it is, because it is damn fun watching our guy do it against a team like Arsenal. I can’t wait for April 24th when we could conceivably see Landon on Everton’s right and Clint on Fulham’s left going up and down the pitch. That would be something that’s never happened to see probably the two best attacking footballers our country has produced going head-to-head in the best league in the world. That would be special.

    I should be clear that this wasn’t the EPL debut on the level of Fernando Torres or the like, where the guy just whipped it out and told the world to have a little of this and a taste of that, but it was a good, fun game for me to watch. I’ll say that for sure. The reason for my excitement is that Landon looked like Landon. He wasn’t an unstoppable force of nature, but when is he? His strength is in his speed, his cleverness and his vision. All of that was on display today and mostly, he looked like he belonged from the go. There was no adjustment period. There is no work in progress. Today, right now, he belongs as a well above average premiership player without any qualifications that we’ve had to use in the past. “Oh they just aren’t using him right. Oh he looked bad there but in that one exchange he looked great.” None of that necessary for the first time in his club career outside of the friendly confines of MLS.

    Reply

    • Posted by kd on 2010/01/09 at 9:18 PM

      There was no Clichy but not every team has a LB like him.
      Workrate, pace, skill. Keep tearing at em Landon.
      Great, great sentiments Dallen.
      I ordered Setenta for this game alone. And rewatched the first 68 minutes.

      Reply

  6. Convincing debut. Donovan played well despite the blinding snow, and his aforementioned long layoff. David Moyes is not a man of faint praise, so we know that the performance was EPL legit. Hopefully Donovan will consistently perform well throughout his 10 week loan spell at Goodison Park. It looks to be a difficult stretch for the Toffees, so we’ll have to just wait and see.

    Will Everton have the option to buy Landon if he does well? I know LD just signed a 5 year contract with MLS so I’m pretty much thinking that MLS will price out any attempt to purchase him.

    Reply

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