Probably everyone has experienced the sequel suck factor - going to see the second edition of a beloved film and realizing that this new movie is so bad that inevitably, former fond and happy memories of the first edition are forever tainted.
For me, it was the Matrix Reloaded - with a contrived, convoluted storyline, product placement action sequences, and odd, disconnected acting - that ruined The Matrix for me. I was rooting for Trinity, my fave from the first movie, to die so she'd escape the dreck that was the Reloaded film, and I felt absolutely cheated when Neo magically removed the bullet that killed her and restarted her heart. I still haven't ever seen the third film of the Matrix trilogy. The second movie was so bad, I couldn't be bothered to care about how everything eventually ended.
Sometimes the second film is actually as good, or even better, than the first. The Empire Strikes Back comes to mind. However, it's rare. Generally, the pleasant surprise element of whatever original idea the first film in a franchise had is gone, and it's not as good the second time around.
So the link to something soccer-related is - Landon Donovan is returning to Everton on loan.
But why? I can guess at various reasons.
1) He likes it there. The blue side of the Mersey treated him well during his earlier loan stint and with the club struggling this season, Donovan is likely to be welcomed back with open arms.
2) Cause Klinsy said so. USMNT coach Klinsmann has made it clear to USA players based in MLS that he would like them to train on loan during the offseason, and LD is still hoping for that USA captaincy. Ergo, he goes.
3) Galaxy job is done. With the MLS championship secured, LD doesn't have the pressure of, 'didn't win the title, shouldn't he rest and focus on that before traipsing off for a loan stint' questions.
4) Back on the market? Donovan has said before that he would in fact welcome a move to Europe if the offer is right. A showcase turn at Everton might encourage interest.
5) Knee needs a workout. Donovan was probably more injury-affected this season than ever before, but much of that was kept under wraps. In fact, the exact nature and extent of his 2011 injury woes are still mysterious. It might be something which could actually benefit from game time at this point in the recovery schedule. That would be weird in terms of typical injuries, but strange things are possible.
Now that I've run down some possible reasons for LD at Everton, Part II, Try Harder, here's some reasons why all may not go as well as it did before.
1) He's older, and Prem defenders are wiser. Donovan's lost a half-step since he was last at Everton, (that's purely my individual measurement, not any scientific fact) and in England, that half-step lost can be deadly. Look at how useless Theirry Henry became once he lost even a little speed. Also, it won't be assumed that the American is completely useless, as might have been the case a bit before.
2) Expectations are higher. Even if Donovan replicates his earlier success with the club, that may not meet expectations. That's because rather than expecting little, Everton fans are probably looking for a lot more.
3). The need is greater. Everton need a lifeline. They're like the American middle class right now, getting squeezed from all sides. Creative budgeting isn't doing it when the top clubs keep grabbing up the best players. Donovan wasn't looked at as a savior before, and he might be this time.
4) Less help, more work. Everton doesn't have Arteta, the midfield maestro who Donovan meshed well with before. The club's offensive output has been paltry. Donovan can't do it alone.
5) That wonky knee. Though he soldiered through the season and scored the goal that won the Galaxy the title, Donovan didn't have, by his standards, a great year. He's likely not as fit as he was two years ago.
In time, we'll see how The Striker Strikes Again turns out. Donovan at Everton, The Second Time, could defy the odds and my own pessimism.