The Rebirth of Landon Donovan
Beasley were taken down in the box on separate plays with no fouls called.) and dominant attacking midfield play were signs that Donovan is taking his responsibility as the US’ new #10 and best goal scorer seriously.
Donovan, long considered the most talented American player had a woeful World Cup 2006. What made Donovan’s World Cup all the more disappointing was the build up and hype he has received in the lead in to Germany 2006. For the first time ever, a Soccer player in the United States had achieved superstar status. Donovan was on the cover of magazines and even on an advertisement in Times Square. Donovan it seemed was the great hope to make Soccer a mainstream American sport.
Then came Germany 2006, and a disappointing first round exit for Team USA. Donovan’s play in 2006 was a serious step back from his spunky, spirited play as a 20 year old at Korea/Japan 2002. Donovan’s failure to stick it out in the Bundesliga when he wasn’t getting regular game action and his return to MLS, emboldened his critics including myself. After returning to the MLS, Donovan went 19 consecutive national team games without scoring a goal. That dubious streak culminated in a lackadaisical performance as the US was eliminated from the World Cup by Ghana.
This year Donovan got married to his longtime actress girlfriend on New Years Day and has celebrated by scoring five goals in three games for the National Team. If Donovan can continue his current form, expect to see the top European clubs tempt MLS into selling Donovan. However, with David Beckham slated to become a teammate of Donovan’s in July, I wouldn’t bet on him leaving MLS anytime soon.