Tag Archives: Landon Donovan

Landycakes’s excellent Everton adventure begins

Landon Donovan debuts for Everton

Landon Donovan’s loan deal with Everton has repeatedly been described as “short-term” but I can’t find anyone willing to commit to an actual number. For argument’s sake, I’ll go with between three and six months, though if it’s the latter I don’t think the Galaxy or MLS would be happy since that would likely prevent him from joining the club until after the World Cup. But that’s neither here nor there; what’s important is that Donovan is, once again, playing in Europe.

Andrea Canales is already trying to decide if he will pave the way for more Americans in the Premiership. What she, and other Americans, don’t realize is that most Americans can’t handle the Premiership. The players aren’t coddled there – unless you’re a huge star, but even then you might not be coddled – like they are in American sports leagues (a constant – and valid – criticism of US sports is that it deifies its players ever earlier; perhaps local soccer coverage in Europe does the same thing, though). In any event, I think Donovan is particularly well-suited to success in Europe, provided he gets over his homesickness issues, because he has the technical skills other US players lack.

Technique is what sets him apart on the national team. He is clearly the best player and, over the past 24 months or so, has put it all together, finally. He is on an incredible run of form and it’s only right that he gets rewarded for that by challenging himself at one of the highest club levels. But here’s the reason he won’t be completely successful, despite his technical ability: he doesn’t have that killer instinct.

Look, for example, at the most successful US players in the Premiership: Brian McBride and Clint Dempsey. Although they weren’t as technically sound as Donovan, they had something he doesn’t: a massive chip on their shoulder. McBride and Dempsey are pitbulls who want every ball on every possession. They are balls-to-the-wall all the time while Donovan is not. I think that’s what US players need to succeed in Europe in general and England in particular.

Perhaps Donovan is developing that side of his game. Perhaps he can put aside his homesickness issues, which probably stem from the fact that he’s been the best player on every team he’s ever played on in the US while that wasn’t the case at Leverkusen and Bayern. He needs to see Everton as a chance to prove he belongs at the highest level and he needs to prove that he won’t back down. That will help him, and the US national team going forward.

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Filed under MLS, Premiership

Landon Donovan in Mexican lottery commercial

This is a couple of days old but well worth posting. I think this is great. Good of Donovan not to take himself too seriously; same goes for the Mexican lottery.

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Filed under CONCACAF, MLS

World Cup Qualifiers: A tale of two countries

Being an analysis of World Cup Qualifiers in the CONCACAF region in two parts. The first part being a reconstruction of actual events during the US-Honduras match in Chicago, in which the US was victorious 2-1. The second part being my incredulous reaction at Mexico’s dependence on calcified Cuauhtémoc Blanco. The third part being my imagining of what happened in the boardroom at the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol when Mexico lost.

Part the first.

Bob Bradley had no choice but to blow up his starting line-up. The starting XI that took the field in Costa Rica will never, ever be on the same pitch again, unless Bradley decides he hates himself that much. The first thirty minutes were uninspired, to say the least. The back four look like that girl in high school who puts out if you even make eyes at her. Needless to say, they gave up another early goal. But this time Landycakes stepped up. He played rather well, much like Benny Feilhaber (who is my man of the match – the whole tenor of the game changed when he came on after half-time). Landycakes showed that, if he wanted to, he could actually succeed in Europe.

Part the second.

Three things I love about Spanish commentators:

1. They know the correct term is “Salvadoran”, not “Salvadorian” or “El Salvadorian” or any variation thereof

2. The repetition of important words, like “penal” or the more famous “goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool!”

3. Their absolute amazement at everything that happens on the field. They display a child-like wonderment at all kinds of things, from a defender playing the ball square to a successful long pass to Galindo’s stupid hip-check that gave the ball back.

They clearly would never say that Mexico played like crap. I will, though: Mexico played like crap. They’ve been playing like crap for all of 2009. They will continue to play like crap until they hire a good manager. Not a retread like Javier Aguirre or Sven-Gören Eriksson. Not someone who can’t manage for crap, like Hugo Sánchez. But someone truly new. Not only that, but the bigwigs at the FMF (who are only slightly more idiotic than the Canadian Soccer Association and Real Madrid voters) must show some patience. They must allow the manager to do his job. Otherwise, Mexico is going to slide right out of the 2010 World Cup. And I’m going laugh.

Part the third.

INT. – BOARDROOM, NIGHT

Executive 1 [distraught]: What do we do now?

Executive 2 [even more distraught]: Blame everyone else, of course.

Executive 3 moves to the window. He calmly opens it and jumps out, landing on the cracked pavement.

Executive 2 [excited]: We’ll blame him!

Executives 1 and 2 dance around, plotting how to hire the national team’s fifth coach in 2 years.

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Filed under CONCACAF, Mexico, World Cup

World Cup Qualifiers in haikus

3 June 2009: US v. Costa Rica

Beasley at left back

A knife in a light socket

Bradley’s seppuku

6 June 2009: US v. Honduras

Closing down the mids

Landycakes bursts down the wing

Benny and the jets

6 June 2009: Mexico v. El Salvador

Mexico is lost

Who takes the penalty? Who?

Cuauhtémoc Blanco!

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Filed under CONCACAF, Mexico, World Cup