Sunday, April 26, 2009

What's Going On.... With Landon Donovan?

Let me open by saying: Yes, I'm aware that Landon Donovan has been involved in all of LA's goals.

But what's going on with Landon Donovan?

He's been largely absent through long stretches of most matches so far, and unlike a "droughting" player that does everything right but can't find the net, Landon seems to be doing little right despite his scoring.

This year's Landon, 5 games in, has not been the same 20 goal / 19 assist Landon we saw last season, not even a half of that. And while, yes, Landon has been involved in all of LA's goals, the team also has only 5 goals in as many games, and 3 of those games have had 1 goal or less.

Perhaps Landon is under more pressure without Buddle and Beckham to help lift markers off of LA's #10, but something is certainly going on with Landon that has essentially turned him from constant threat and difference maker to goal poacher.

Personally, I'm a big fan of Landon Donovan and I can't wait for him to break out of this slump (which I do think he'll do sooner rather than later) but I'm also somewhat concerned about his play.


Nicole said...

I think you've got it all wrong.

Last year LD wanted to win the Golden Boot - so his emphasis was on scoring and he won the Golden Boot. Did the Galaxy make the playoffs? No.

This year he has stated his goal is to make the team better and to make the playoffs and that's how he's playing.

I think he's playing some of the best soccer he's ever played: he's playing much tougher physically, knocking players off the ball, fighting through 3 and 4 guys; he's playing mentally so far ahead of everyone else, you can see it in his runs off the ball, the way he anticipates where the ball is going and how the play is developing. He's trying to set up his teammates. He's playing a tremendous amount of defense. He's making sure the Galaxy are competing in every game - and they have been.

Against Colorado, he played very defensively. Didn't you notice that? That was a tough game, given the altitude and all the team was conserving their air so as not to be run off the pitch - 4-0 remember? I thought he played a very cerebral game and it helped the team not lose.

With the current version of the Galaxy, he has had less to work with than ever before, so goals will be at a premium but if it's enough to get the Galaxy to the playoffs, that's what it's all about.

He's making them competitive. And he's making them believe in themselves. There's no way last year's Galaxy would come from behind, consistently as this year, and get points in games. Last year, all of these games would be losses.

SMS said...

I think Nicole has a point, but I also think LD has made it clear that the team is still finding itself. I think Landon is finding role as well. The G's middle is not very versatile so LD has worked hard to support the middle. The team has defensive cohesion but they still have not developed a way to play offensively.

Until the G's can hold the middle LD will be constrained in what he can do offensively. Buddle comes into the match and forces a defensive mistake. Bang LD was on the spot to slot home the equalizer. That is far better than the LD we've seen the past couple of years. He saw the opportunity developing much sooner than he would have in the past.

You play for Bruce Arena and you play inside the system. I think this may make LD a better player.