Everton Rolls City, Donovan Holds His Own

Though only two games in, might LD regret signing a long-term deal with Galaxy?

Behind the strength of Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar, Everton had one of its best showings of the season in a 2-0 win over Manchester City.

Landon Donovan, deployed as a right midfielder, had another positive performance in his home debut for the Toffees. Though Everton seemed to be forcing the attack down the left flank, Donovan did some good work during the run of play and on set pieces. His one area of noticeable weakness, before being subbed in stoppage time of the second half, was going one-on-one against isolated defenders. Donovan was dispossessed a handful of times in these types of situations.

But perhaps the best indication of the Donovan’s play were the the chants of U-S-A, U-S-A from the home crowd late in the game for the midfielder.

A couple more observations:

  • The tide turned for Everton this season (4-1-5 in its last ten contests) after manger David Moyes switched the roles of Tim Cahill and a full-strength Fellaini on the pitch. With Fellaini rooted deeper on the pitch, Cahill has more freedom to press forward or help cover.
  • Manchester City fullback Micah Richards fell apart tugging on the shirt of Saha outside and then inside the area leading to a penalty kick that put Everton ahead 2-0.
  • Steven Pienaar’s scored a set piece goal that Shay Given could only get a fingernail on before curling inside the near post. Pienaar’s celebration? A hug for a security guard that led to this exchange between Matthew and Miss ShinGuardian watching at a part in New York City.

Miss ShinGuardian: Why did Pienaar hug the security guy?

TSG Matthew: No idea.

Miss Shinguardian. Aren’t you supposed to know that?

Lando, Timmy Howard and Everton next take on Birmingham in the FA Cup next Saturday followed by a return to EPL action versus Sunderland who got blasted 7-2 by Chelsea earlier this morning.

Shh…I’m bogarting the end of Mark’s piece here so I can contribute one of my favorite YouTube soccer clips (which ironically appears under our tsg glossary section as well.)

11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/01/16 at 2:10 PM

    Lando’s never been that good when it comes to breaking down a defender one on one. The last game where this problem was obvious was. . .yep, the Mexico game at the Azteca. There were about 5 times(or more) in the match where Captain America was isolated with plenty of space against one of the Mexican fullbacks and I sat and yelled at the screen “Come on Landon! Attack his ass!”. . .but instead he deferred and looked for a teammate to pass to. Think of him more as a Steve Nash, Instead of an Allen Iverson(in his prime).


    • Posted by Mark T on 2010/01/16 at 2:19 PM

      I wasn’t surprised Landon didn’t get around his defenders, but I just thought it was important to mention that he tried and failed about three times.


    • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/01/16 at 10:29 PM

      I say he needs to hang out with Freddy Adon’t some more. Those two could learn a lot from each other.😡


  2. Posted by Thomas on 2010/01/16 at 2:49 PM

    he has also been, and still is, plagued by his first touch with let him down a few times today. but a solid showing and I loved hearing the crowd treat him


  3. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/16 at 4:10 PM

    Nice write up Mark.

    Completely on point with Donovan and Fellaini’s play. Two followups.

    1 By having more of a 4-3-3 now Moyes helps out the defense because both Pienaar and Donovan are a threat offensively and can track back defensively. Earlier in the year Moyes had a 4-4-1-1 going and he was leaving two offenders up the pitch. This is important because the defense has been deplorable this year. Further with Donovan now you have someone who can take it deep on the wing and cross it really well to two excellent headers of the ball in Fellaini and Cahill.

    Secondly I think while Donovan wasn’t an expert 1 on 1 today he often got the ball with little space to work in. I think you’ll see him best more defenders 1-on-1 as he gets a little better service.

    Okay a 3rd thing. Fellaini outright destroyed Barry in the middle today. If that wasn’t a recipe for Bob Bradley I don’t know what was. To be fair to Barry though he Stephen Ireland who finds the interior pockets was out and Robinho looked like he wanted to be anywhere but Goodison today.


  4. Thank you Everton for saving Spurs blushes against Hull City. Hideous.

    Competent performance from Lando and I’m not sure where this corner kick ability came from (time spent with Becks?). I used to dread when he stepped into the corner and wondered why his quickness wasn’t utilized in the box to pick up loose balls. Now, he’s spot on and had a magnet locked on to the Belgian’s awesome ‘fro. Then again, that thing might have an orbit layer.

    As for the first touch comment, never thought that to be an issue with LD (Jozy on the other hand. . .). Yes, there were a few in this game for him but, IMO that was uncharacteristic. His first-time turn lead to the PK sequence.

    In general, it’s wonderful that we’re even talking about this. Still fearing/waiting for some yob to render him ‘out of order’ for SA. In related news, still worst kit.



    • Posted by Oliver Gaspard on 2010/01/17 at 10:01 AM

      Perhaps you haven’t been watching the national team play for the past two years or so but his corner delivery has been excellent for some time now.


      • Posted by Mark T on 2010/01/17 at 10:19 AM

        Oliver, I’d disagree somewhat. If I remember correctly, Landon set pieces weren’t anything to write home about the first half of 2009. He started to turn it around late in the Confed Cup which carried through the qualifying.


  5. Posted by Kevin on 2010/01/17 at 11:41 AM

    I don’t really understand why he signed a long term deal with the Galaxy. I’d much rather have him at Everton than with Becks and the rest of that team. I full on have hated Becks since he arrived here, which probably explains why I hate the Galaxy, but I’ll stay away from that. From an average american soccer fan standpoint, Donovan is better served in the EPL. Playing against teams that don’t even have their own stadium is not where he should be.


  6. Posted by allison on 2010/01/18 at 11:28 AM

    i was also wondering why pienaar hugged the steward after he scored…according to the daily mail:

    “Pienaar raced over to a less-than-beautiful steward to celebrate with a hug and a kiss. ‘He’s always saying come over to him to celebrate and I kept my promise,’ said the South African…”


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