Friday, October 5, 2007

Four-score to Donovan

Maybe Landon will celebrate his latest win with another trip to Mexico. He enjoyed his last visit there.

"I told Bianca, I don’t know if I want to go, but everyone was super nice," said Landon Donovan of his recent trip to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. "They’re excited to be around what they consider a celebrity, because soccer is their life. Any player they recognize, they’re excited. They say, 'How are you, nice to meet you.'”


A.C. said...

Email already rolling in on the Donovan article. This reaction is typical:

"If he could ever ever ever leave the MLS, I would believe you. He is
the single most over-rated player in sports."

Ah, yes, because all the other players that have left MLS have done so much more for the national team.

Anonymous said...

He is the best. I don't care where he plays.

And excellent point about the other players who have left MLS and what they do for our national team. If Donovan is over-rated, then why can't our other players beat him out? They can't, because they're just not as good.

Donovan earned this award. He has consistently been our strongest performer.

PanchoMiguelMoralesde Conejo said...

Nice article Andrea. It is dissappointing that so many 'fans' are so critical of the skills that LD shows on the field, based on their assumption of how someone else should live their life.

Marmaduke said...

Donovan has the most talent, for sure, but I'm not convinced he's the best. He doesn't seem to me to have the killer instinct and desire that makes a world class striker.

I think the decision to come back to LA rather than stick it out in Europe speaks to that. I happen to think it was a good decision and I respect him more, as a person, for it. But, as an athlete and competitor, it was the easy road.

I haven't seen much improvement in his game since 2002. He is largely the same player tactically. I attribute that to his time in the MLS. The MLS is great and constantly improving, but it is not helping Landon.

He also came back, I'm sure, to help build the MLS, but his development has slowed for it. It makes him a great person, but does not make him a great player.

On the other hand, there are few alternative to Landon for the award this year. I'd go with Damarcus, but not by much. Bradley and Feilhaber will be there soon, but not yet. As will Jose and Freddy and Bornstein. Johnson is in a slump and Clint hasn't found his feet in England yet.

A.C. said...

More email on Donovan:

--There are two problems with this kind of praise for Donovan. First,
the best American players have always left to play abroad, making them much less visible than someone like Donovan. Had Claudia Reyna stayed in the MLS he would have piled on meaningless awards. Instead, he played in leagues that American fans only have limited access to. He
maintained a level of excellence at a significantly higher level, both for club and country, for a longer time. Donovan has faltered in
international competition, been sent home from Europe twice and has been a strong player in what we have to admit is still a very weak league. Just to
qualify that statement, I played in the MLS and, believe me, even the players make fun of the league.

Second, superlatives in regards to Donovan depress American soccer fans (at least informed American soccer fans) because of what it says about our history. The reason Donovan has never and will never survive in
European leagues is that by those standards he is average. When you
watch Donovan against legitimate competition (say Brazil, instead of
Toronto FC or Trinidad and Tobago) he is anonymous and ineffective. His technical ability is only above average in the MLS. In a league like La Liga he probably below average. An occassional indication of competence against serious competition is not enough at this level. If this is he best we have ever had to offer, then we haven't offered very much.

A.C. said...

More on LD:

--it's nice to see him get his due respect.

--Are you kidding me? Landon Donavan has had the fortune of coaches perpetually playing him in systems that allow him to score. However, he is marked out of big games far too often. When was the last time he took over a game and exerted his will. He is not in the class of Totti, Rooney,
Ronaldo or Messi. This is a guy that has been living on his reputation and a few good games during the 2002 Wold Cup for far too long. I'm tired of this Landon talk. I'll change my mind only when he shows up against
Ilaly, Germany, Argentina or Brazil. Soccer is a team game but the best can take control of a game - remember Maradona. Dovan can't and will never be able
to do that...

Anonymous said...

Wow, so much Landon hating here and on Big Soccer. I'm sure most of it is from people who have never played the game, and of course have never played a game with Landon.

As a Galaxy and USA from for the last 25 years, I can honestly say that Landon is the best we have had during that time. He has vision, makes great passes, is a weapon from anywhere on the pitch, can out run almost anyone (with the ball at his feat), and has ice water in his veins when it comes to making streaking scoring runs in the open field. Also, he can pass and shoot with both feat, and has a keen understand of the game and when to exert his influence.

He also gets lost some times, takes some really poor penalty shots, should actually try to score off his free kicks rather than dumping the ball into the pathetic excuse for strikers that Lalas has provided for him, and has some strange rituals that make many people scoff and laugh at him.

No, he is not DMB, he is not McBride, he is not Reyna, he is not Dempsey, and he certainly is not Wyanlda. Each of those players excels (or excelled) at one particular part of his game, while Landon does a pretty good job of everything. He doesn't run at players like Dempsey, clinically finish headers like Brian, and run the midfield like Claudio, but Landon has proven to be the best player we have time and time again. If he Galaxy or the USA are to have any success in the next few years, it will be on his back because he wants and accepts that it is his job to win.

Now, if he would only go to Europe, all of his sins would be washed, the Democrats would win in 08, and the housing marketed would revive.

A.C. said...

Another email

-It is reporters and anouncers like yourself that make him not want to leave the confort of the small pond in which he used to be king.
I'll give you the fact that he is a very gifted player, has awsome vision, and great speed. But to be the best you have to take on great challenges and he has shown that when the stakes are high he dissolves like a paper-boat on squall.
The fact thathe has scored more goals than Wynalda is interesting, but people fail to notice the company that Eric had and the help that Landon has, not to mentioned the amount of PKs that Landon takes.
And now he has a family which means that the "greatest" player america has developed never accomplished anything a the big stage, because when the pressure was there day in and day out he wasn't. To be the best you have to play against the best and although the MLS is a very good league; the best go to Europe. what he is, is a Cobarde Egoista... and is shameful because he could have brought a lot more to the USMNT and to American soccer by giving kids a real soccer great. Dissapointment is what he is...

blahblah said...

Putting aside any arguments on whether he deserved the award (again) this year, that quote from him cracks me up every time. Does Mexico really put THE FEAR into him that bad?

Anonymous said...

This is proof positive that people handing out the Honda award have been sucking in way too much tailpipe exhaust! The only award he deserves is the "Most Overated Player of the Year" award. Or maybe the "I only score PK's" award. He is soft with a capital S. Hence the fact that he got his butt handed to him everytime he tried to play in a real league. The world cup was the real LD. Which I would assume stands for Let Down. Howard easily deserved this award but since this is a popularity award and not a skill award it goes to Let Down. Dempsey deserved it more than Let Down did but again. As long as Donovan wins these types of awards US soccer can never be taken seriously by the rest of the world as they already know what a soft player her is.

Anonymous said...

would be interesting to know who the former mls is. it seems like a crap statement to make.