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Donovan's Everton Debut

Landon Donovan's latest foray into European football began nicely Saturday at snowy Emirates Stadium in London as the U.S. star assisted on an early goal during Everton's 2-2 draw against Arsenal.

Donovan, on loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy until the MLS season resumes, started on the right side of midfield. In the 12th minute, he served a corner kick that was nodded in by Leon Osman. The Gunners pulled even in the 28th on the first of their two deflected goals (Denilson).

Donovan's pace caused persistent trouble for favored Arsenal. Having not played a full match since MLS Cup in late November, however, Donovan was not expected to go the entire way and came off after 68 minutes.

The Toffees endured extreme pressure before Tim Cahill launched South African Steven Pienaar for a breakaway in the 81st. Pienaar coolly chipped the ball over goalkeeper Manuel Almunia. However, in the second of a scheduled five added minutes, Tomas Rosicky's deflection beat USA goalkeeper Tim Howard and foiled Everton's bid to end a 13-match road winless streak against the Gunners.

Donovan is slated to make his Goodison Park debut next Saturday against Manchester City.

By Steve Goff  |  January 9, 2010; 11:58 AM ET
Categories:  Americans Abroad , England , U.S. men's national team  
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Donovan clearly made a difference in this game. He's got the stuff...

Posted by: alan19 | January 9, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

It's tough watching on the internet. I had multiple feeds going, because one after another were freezing up. Clearly, Donovan showed he belongs at this level. Arshavin beat him to the ball and that led to Arsenal's 1st goal, but otherwise, Donovan seemed to be key to Everton's play. He was tracking back and getting in position to start the attack -- he made some great touches, including a wonderful run that torched the Arsenal left back...just missed producing a goal as his pass went through the box just out of reach. In short, he looked very comfortable out there. Dempsey's had a great run lately, but I think Donovan just become the best American player in the EPL (goalies excepted).

Posted by: fischy | January 9, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Love it. Really want to see him succeed. I hope next week's game will be on TV here. Can he extend his stay if the MLS lockout happens?

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | January 9, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

You had the wrong feed -- the sopcast was perfect. I could see the individual snowflakes.

Posted by: Reignking | January 9, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Next against Man City? What is this, the Thunder Dome?

Posted by: UnitedDemon | January 9, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Nice of all the EPL managers to use this Togo attack as an excuse to demand their players back.

Posted by: Reignking | January 9, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Who are you??

The team decided to not play in the tournament because they were ****ing shot at and had members killed. How do EPL managers have anything to do with that what so ever?

Posted by: amgrover | January 9, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Premier League bosses call for ANC cancellation

Posted by: Reignking | January 9, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Any highlights available?

Posted by: RedskinAddict | January 9, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

So Reignking, EPL managers are unjustified in asking for the return of their players after a team was subject to an assassination attempt?

I'm with them, call it off and bring the players home. Maybe the organizers will think twice before staging events in inherently unsafe areas (you know, places with separatist insurgencies and the like).

Posted by: Mixter | January 9, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: spikeman | January 9, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Since work kept me off the computer:

69 Days til Charleston!

Atlanta as a World Cup City? Yes. Here's why:

The grass isn't a problem, we all know. The weather, which normally would wreck havoc on the players would not be a problem, as the stadium is indoor. Transportation would not be a problem, the stadium is right on a MARTA exit, and is easily accessible from the interstates, for those with rental cars traveling from city to city that way (which I think would be great for myself to do! Road Trip the World Cup!). Hotels are not a problem. There's enough within walking distance of the Dome to handle three days straight of games, much less when you move farther north to Midtown and Buckhead.

Donovan's Assist: gave him an 8, I can't find ratings up anywhere else, but the guy that did the write up for Soccernet seemed impressed, and one Everton fan said on their website "Looks like Donovan's first priority is his participation in the World championship and not Everton's position in the table. Most likely he is not gonna overwork himself. Would have been better to give more practice to Everton's players", but has yet to have anyone click that they agree with him.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | January 9, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Highlights of all of Donovan's best touches from the match:

Posted by: mattygp | January 9, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

You didn't mention that Donovan's '8' was the highest rating gave a player on either team. Admittedly, I only saw about 15 min of the game before my Internet feed fizzled, but I didn't see him dominating.

Posted by: glfrazier | January 9, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

No rating, but the Guardian's write up was favorable to Donovan: "With Louis Saha's clever runs and Tim Cahill's waspish presence augmented extremely well by the expert dribbling of Landon Donovan on an eye-catching debut"

Arsene Wegner is in favor of the ANC: "I believe it would be disrespectful to Africa and the Africa Nations Cup [to bring them home]. You can't always encourage Africa to develop and if something happens say 'come back to Europe'. . . I don't believe you can just stop any competition for any incident, because that would be a reward for the people who provoke these atrocities. It would mean any competition could be stopped at any time."

Posted by: emanon13 | January 9, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

While I'm very happy that Donovan seems to have gotten off to a good start, and hope that it's an indication of what his mental state and technical sharpness will be like in June, I have to say I'm a bit bummed he got the assist off a corner. What I wouldn't give to have a situation this summer where Lando wasn't our first (and basically only) choice set-piece taker. I want him tearing it up in South Africa, but I want some other guys also serving in free kicks and corners -- you know, guys who don't get to keep taking them over and over even after they've put four or five in a row straight into the wall or failed for a whole half to beat the first defender on a corner.

Posted by: sec133row5 | January 9, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Video interview with our boy down towards the bottom

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | January 9, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

The machine gun attack on Togo's team bus was a shocking tragedy but many EPL teams would still complain about the tournament if it were held in the most peaceful spot on the planet.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | January 9, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

The Damned United is playing at yet another repertory theater, this time in Williamsburg, starting Monday:

Posted by: universityandpark | January 9, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

I don't buy that LD made a difference in his debute against Arsenal. He played a solid 68' on both sides of the ball. His performance was nothing special, yet, he combined well with his teammates and his decision-making was positive. What remains to be seen is whether LD continues to play solid football.

Posted by: juke2 | January 9, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Considering this is the same team that humilated everton 6-1 at home. Seriously to say donovan was not important in this game is wrong. He was not beating players left and right, but the way he paused the game during rough patches gave everton some fresh air. It prevented arsenal from starting an onslaught. The corner was a bonus, but he did things on and off the ball which was so important. Its not only about goals in futbol its also the other little things. Was he the best player on the field? NO but he played well and looks to fit in with this team. Hopefully with some time, he can get better and read for the World Cup. I have to say Im not a huge everton fan but the games I have seem of them, this game was by far there best.

Posted by: Norteno4life | January 9, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

He started and took corner kicks? Pretty good sign.

Posted by: diego_r | January 9, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: DadRyan | January 10, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

1st -- Donovan delivered a magic corner, tat dipped down the way coaches only dream of, allowing the smallest player on the pitch to nail it with a solid header to the corner of the goal.

2nd -- His pace forced the left back, Traore to stay home on defense and track LD. That was a huge influence on the game. If you noticed, once Donovan left the game, Traore started playing much more forward and Arsenal became more dangerous on offense (also more vulnerable to counter-attack, but that's a different question).

3rd -- Donovan's brilliant run from the right sideline into the box came pretty close to totally breaking down the Arsenal defense and producing a crushing goal.

Pretty good stuff for someone who hasn't played a game in 7 weeks.

Posted by: fischy | January 10, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse


+1. my favorite part was in the run down the right side where he pushed off the assistant referee to move his momentum back toward the field. then his cut to the inside was picture perfect.

as to the question of him taking free kicks, most every team/country has 1 or 2 guys who take most/all of them. yes he has had some struggles with it, but if he's our guy, then i want him getting as many chances to practice and do well as he can. it can only help us in SA.

also, i'm really loved Wenger's comments about the snow cancellations and now the ANC. you tell 'em, Arsene.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | January 10, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

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