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Mission Merseyside: Full Landon Donovan Coverage

For the next ten weeks our focus at Major League Soccer Talk will be Landon Donovan. We will cover other news, but the defining/signature player of American football is on his way to conquering the world’s most popular sports league: for us that is an overriding story. Perhaps nothing has been more important for the potential respect level of the American player in Britain since John Harkes walked on the Wembley pitch eighteen years ago for the League Cup Final. Wall to Wall Donovan Coverage can be found here.

Here are quick links to all our Donovan related stories on the EPL Talk Network:

landon donovan everton11 300x201 Mission Merseyside: Full Landon Donovan Coverage

Donovan Solid in Debut

How Did the English Press Rate Donovan’s Performance

Mission Merseyside: Matchday One

Landon Donovan Shines in EPL Debut

This entry was posted in Landon Donovan, Leagues: Major League Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

36 Responses to Mission Merseyside: Full Landon Donovan Coverage

  1. Charles says:

    I dont mean to be a jerk, but if the US is fighting for respect by having one player play on a mediocre team posing as a terrible team currently, how are we going to beat England?
    I really could care less if Landon plays well over there. I would rather have him play in MLS anyway. Sour grapes ? Maybe….but I do hope that Everton loses ever game and Landon is begging to come home.

    • Lars says:

      A mediocre team, posing as a terrible team, in the top League in the World. If you go by ranking systems, MLS is something like 72nd best league in the world in terms of quality.

      That should tell you all you need to know. Being on the 2nd best team in a 3rd rate league, does not compare to being on a mid-table team in the best league in the world.

      • John says:

        MLS as 72nd best league? Huh???

        I’m not sure what “ranking systems” you’re using. Probably the ones that best accentuate a seemingly fashionable snobbery; one all too common from Europe’s fanbase.

        Nobody, of course, doubts the competitive dominance of England’s Premier League, Italy’s Serie A, Spain’s La Liga, France’s Ligue 1, or Germany’s Bundesliga in contrast to the rest of the globe’s football/soccer (as you like) leagues.

        However, you’d be wise to see the high degrees of improvement over relatively short periods of time which have been, and continue to be made in the up-and-coming leagues of the U.S., Mexico, Japan, Austrailia and Russia where the sport’s popularity has advanced dramatically in each region.

        When the L.A. Galaxy can draw or narrowly lose to international celebrity teams (AC Milan and Barcelona, respectively), it’s a fairly good indicator that the general level of ability has come along way, even though it still may have a ways to go.

  2. Paul says:

    Okay…well, don’t think I’m the only one who has a problem with that comment… leaving the mauling for another to provide.

    On another note, Kartik, can you tell us:

    1. Who chose the #9 for Donovan to wear at Everton? With the history of players who have worn that shirt for Everton, I would think that Lando might opt for a less controversial or noteworthy shirt number…

    2. And if the management chose it, doesn’t that show the fault in the US glass ceiling fallacy many Americans stil hold onto? If the Brits, Germans, and others hated our players so much, why given 9 to Donovan? Yes, the comeback is that this is a gaffer with a love for the US, a team with US sympathies–an island of evanhandedness in an ocean of distain. Still, this does significantly chip away at the idea that Americans face a huge bias against them when suiting up in foreign leagues, especially in Europe–the bias, if still signficant, is quickly evaporating (which is what we should all want).

    3. Any chance to get a calendar posted for Everton’s upcoming games to see when Lando will be playing?

    4. Do you think that Lando gets time in the FA cup/Europa League matches? I tend to think yes, as I am assuming that he gets time whenever Everton need to rest their starters, and with the team battling to stay in the Premiership, the FA Cup and Europa League probably won’t be the place to play critical players. Lando has yet to prove himself critical to Moyes; one solid game does not make him an automatic starter.

  3. Kevin says:

    “For the next ten weeks our focus at Major League Soccer Talk will be Landon Donovan.” “Wall to Wall Donovan coverage can be found here.”

    I can’t tell if you’re making a joke about the Donovan hype or are being serious. If you ARE serious, then this is not a serious soccer web site.

    “On his way to conquering the world’s most popular sports league”? Please. I like Donovan and hope he does well, but the game is WAY bigger than him.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Kevin, we are serious. What for you is a serious web site? Give me some examples so I can better understand where you’re coming from with this.

      Donovan’s loan with Everton is big news for Americans and soccer fans alike.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

    • Lars says:

      Yeah, I’d object to ‘conquering.’ Donovan will be a good player, he’s not going to be a Wayne Rooney or a Crynaldo or a Kaka.

      Let’s be realistic here.

  4. Charles says:

    Man, I can hardly wait for the coverage, I hope he can move Everton up to 10th !
    That would be sweet.

    “Wall to wall” coverage of an MLS player playing in Europe may not be a joke, but it probably should be. IF he was playing for a team that had even a little chance of winning, like the Tottenham, maybe, but otherwise why ?
    People dont know who to type EPLtalk.com ?

  5. Lars says:

    Everton is still in the FA Cup and if you win that you go on to Europa League. You may laugh it off, but some people value these cup competitions. The Voyageurs Cup in Canada is a huge deal and the US Open Cup should be a huge deal as it’s probably the United States’ oldest competition that spans entire US Soccer Universe.

  6. It’s not a joke and Landon Donovan is just not another American or MLS player in Europe.

    For better or for worse, Donovan has become the symbol of American soccer for so many. A symbol of our potential, a symbol of our growth in the game, a symbol of our failings, and a symbol of our shortcomings.

    He has an appeal, symbolism and an importance beyond any other American player, perhaps in our modern history. This is a big story, and a big deal. These ten weeks at Everton will either announce our arrival or tell us we are not there yet.

    Personally, I wish it were not this way. I think Donovan’s symbolism is excessive and no player should be forced to burden carrying the torch for the nation with the most registered football players on the planet. But thanks to the way Donovan has been built up and torn down by US Soccer, MLS, Bayer Leverkusen, FC Bayern, and elements of the press on both sides of the Atlantic, he’s far from just another player.

  7. Wigmore (Kent,UK) says:

    Being a Brit I’m well chuffed more Yanks are coming over to play in the EPL. It can surely only help the MLS and therefore help (world) football in general which in turn will aid English football and so on…… I listened to the game on BBC radio yesterday and the commentator said many positive things about Donovan. Personally I hope he has a fantastic time learning and plying his trade here in the UK.

    The EPL is the best league in the world not because it is English, but because it decided the money and the wealth was not in nationalism or patriotism* but in football talent no matter where it came from. Diversification means the multiplication of excellence and the exposure of mediocrity.

    Wigmore, an Arsenal supporter.

    *Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. (Johnson, I think, or it could be Wild).

  8. Charles says:

    Great so the British are excited about Landon coming over to play. I would be too….if I lived in England.

    Ligmore, How is this GOOD for MLS and season ticket holders like me to have Landon play in England ?
    Don’t give me the line about experience for the national team. One, that has FAILED for 10-16 years now. Two, Landon hardly is going to improve in 10 weeks of play.

    He is wasting his time for money and for his own ego. Meanwhile he is risking injury for our national team and the Galaxy.

    We need to grow up and quit being insecure little kids. Oh I hope Landon succeeds, that will show the world the US can play soccer. The problem Kartik isn’t that Landon is such a symbol, the problem is we feel we need to be validated by playing Europe.
    Only one thing will show the world we can play soccer, winning the World Cup, and the US will not win a World Cup without a very good home league. This isn’t Brazil.

    The sideshows like trying to move Everton out of relegation zone are just foolish.

  9. WonsanUnited says:

    I would have preferred if he went on loan to America. But whatever, he did just fine in his debut and hopefully he’ll only get better throughout his stay with Everton.

  10. Tyson says:

    After he triumphs in England he should go to Spain and be amongst the best and play head to head with the best footballers in the world!

    • Wigmore (Kent, UK) says:

      Tyson, I like watching Spanish football. Sorry about falling into the semantics of the best league in the world the trap in my last rushed post. Oops.

      I’ve thought for a long time USA football has been on the up. I’m really looking forward to the England USA clash in the summer, not because we are going to ‘give you a thrashing’ but because I think I’ll see a very good, technical, athletic and aggressive football match played with passion – because of our two nations history. It’s always the way when English speaking nations play – you should have been at the Aussie match @ Upton Park in 2003 (Wembley was being rebuilt). I luckily was. It was nuts. Friendly B4hand, crazymadhatefulpassionateloud during, friendly afterwards. Honestly dude, it was bonkers. I want some more of that this time round. I’ve heard (not ever experiencing it myself, only ever been to 4 internationals) the only other matches that have come close for atmosphere are the England Germany/Argentina matches (from an English perspective, I’m not saying we (England) have to be involved for it to be a great match).

      I cannot see any harm in Donovan playing in the EPL, hopefully he’ll learn some valuable lessons playing in such an intensive physical league that is becoming more and more technical by the season without losing its passion.

      Similarly, I’m sure Donovan has a lot to offer Everton and English football. It is a two way street. Lets face it, I’m sure many wanted to see him struggle on Saturday. But he didn’t, that surely can only be a good thing for the MLS – surely those detractors of the MLS might have to start reassessing things / their opinion.

      Doesn’t it make you proud that someone from the supposedly inferior MLS can come to English topflight football and do so well, I’d be well chuffed.

      There are lots of ways of helping your football club my friend, from playing on the pitch, to sweeping the car park, to making the tea, to being an AMBASSADOR. A football club isn’t just the players.

      I hope that hasn’t sounded to patronising, but hopefully, you get my point.

      I can only say, that if I had an opportunity to play in the top flight of the English or Spanish league, I’m sorry dude, but I’d jump at it.

      6 billion people on this earth, how many of us truly get to make a living from doing what we love.

      Personally, I only started taking an interest in the MLS last year because of this chap below :) Maybe others will do likewise now because of Donovan. I think your getting good value on your ticket.

      http://www.7amkickoff.com/2009/3147/#comments – BLAME AMERICA

      • Charles says:

        Great post.
        You sold me and I was very opposed to him going.

        The problem many American’s have, especially me, is that other American’s would RATHER see him play there. Holden and others too.
        In other words, they are NOT going to support soccer IN the US.
        The feeling I get and the numbers back me up, is they wont watch Landon play here.

        I think they would rather be a big fish in a small pond themselves as a soccer fan…..while ripping on Landon for doing that as a soccer player.

  11. Tyson says:

    Then he can retire to the mls

  12. AF92 says:

    “For the next ten weeks our focus at Major League Soccer Talk will be Landon Donovan.”

    This site is officially a complete joke. Sorry I looked at it again in the hopes that it is what the title says. It is not. It has nothing to do with MLS. Hope Donovan does well, but he is not the be all and end all of American soccer. Soccer in American goes beyond one individual. And this site is full of itself. Not in a good way.

    • The Gaffer says:

      AF92, I disagree. The Donovan story has everything to do with MLS. Brits and Americans have been squabbling over whether Donovan is a brilliant player or overrated player for years. And here’s finally his chance to prove himself and to show what MLS is made of on the European stage in front of hundreds of millions of people around the world who will be watching the games on TV that he plays in.

      Let me add that Donovan is not going to be our only focus over the next 10 weeks, but we’re definitely not going to miss out on this huge story.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  13. bandeeto says:

    I’m glad I can watch Lando play at all right now. I’m so bored during the MLS offseason. I don’t care if he’s egotistical, cowardly, stupid, or gay. I just like watching americans play soccer. Thats it.

    I’m not saying we’re better, or that our league is more worthwhile. I’ve chosen to support MLS and american players abroad. Landon playing in any top 3 leauge on any team is garanteed to get air time on ESPN, which means i have another american to support while MLS (RSL, RSL!) takes a hopefully temporary break.

    For those of you (American or not) that think this site is wasting it’s time by extensively covering the greates player of our generation (…so far. sure Adu and others COULD be, but right now they arent) they are not. I care, and many others besides.

    So go ahead and downplay his significance to American soccer fans in some lame attempt to seem too cool to care. I’m sure nobody sees right through it.

    • Charles says:

      I gave you a thumbs up, but I could NOT care less about what he does in the offseason. Not that I am downplaying his significance. Well maybe NOT care less is a little strong, but I am much more interested in the draft, which seems to be left uncovered.

      Soccer is a team sport, unfortunately most American soccer fans have chosen to cheer for individuals on pathetic European teams rather than support soccer here, as all the players flee to the joke leagues in Europe.

      PLUS, THIS WAS AN AMERICAN SOCCER WEBSITE …. am going to have to work now?

  14. sewe says:

    Kartik- I hope u’ve changed your mind about landon’s transfer worth…..1-2 million???????????????? More like 10-20 million.

  15. John Chaz says:

    Charles.

    Your comments are exactly why the rest of the world doesnt take the MLS or American’s seriously.

    Everton have finished in the top 6 for each of the last 4 seasons in england, finishing 5th twice in a row (including last year in which they made the carling cup semi-final and fa cup final only losing to -$300m per year operating loss oil rich chelsea on both occasions).

    To call Everton mediocre is -quite frankly- laughable.

    This season they have had 11 players injured, included argueable there three best players all injured for 2 months, Jagielka and Arteta are still to come – look for them to finish in top 8 even despite the terrible start.

    Also look for them against Sporting Lisbon in Europa league soon.

    England does have some poor Premier League teams, but Everton is certainly a top 6 team when they have a reasonable injury list – theres was just freakish.

    • John Chaz says:

      12 months that is sorry – Yakubu, Arteta and Jagielka will/have all be absent for 10-13 months.

    • Charles says:

      Laughable ?
      When did 5th-6th place move up the ladder from mediocre ?
      That is the definition of mediocre.
      They will never win the EPL..ever. That IS mediocre.

      Plus, you proved my exact point. I don’t care if the rest of the world takes MLS seriously, nor should you. Americans need to take it seriously, if we constantly think it stinks and we would be better off with our players in Europe…WE WILL NEVER BE ANY GOOD.
      We will be the Everton of the World Cup and the Wigan of leagues.

  16. CoconutMonkey says:

    Everton Fan #1: Hey, we got a new striker on loan.
    Everton Fan #2: Oh yea, who?
    Everton Fan #1: His name’s *name* he’s the all-time top goal scorer for his *country name*.
    Everton Fan #2: Sweet. We could use the help.

    If you’re a supporter, and your conversation doesn’t go like this, you’re a douchebag.

    @Charles. Fair enough on the I want draft coverage point. But you can’t follow this sport without following England and the rest of the world. Otherwise you’re missing out big time.

    Speaking of which, HOW BOUT THAT CLINT “WONDERGOAL” DEMPSEY!?

    • Charles says:

      I am following EPL for a year, to test it out. It is unwatchable. There are soooo little games that mean anything for both teams.

      Everton-Arsenal being a perfect example. Everton has ZERO shot of winning the EPL title. They have already lost more games than the champion ever has.

  17. Tyson says:

    All American players abroad should get as much coverage as Donovan. I wish him the best buy he alone should not be the face of American football.its a collective effort.

  18. Jonathan says:

    I am a die hard Evertonian, I have been browsing the sites across the US to see what you fellas think of Landon at Everton and some of your comments are disturbing and others just uninformed.

    We have finished in a European spot 5 times in the last 6 years and finished 5th in the premier league for the last 2 years. Our club has been in the top division of the English leagues for over 125 years….no other club comes close and we are the only team to break into the top 4 (Liverpool, Chelsea, Man Utd, Arsenal) for over 10 years.

    David Moyes (Everton Manager) has been awarded Manager of the Season more times than Sir Alex Ferguson….if Landon wants to improve his game then we will help him do it and we will love him for it….just like we have done for Tim Howard who was struggling at Manchester United…

    Did anyone hear the USA…USA…chants at Goodison park after Landon scored….no where else in the UK would you have seen that…..NOWHERE!

    • Colin says:

      I’ve had a ball reading some of the comments here and I agree with Jonathan here about them being ‘uniformed’, although personally I think he’s doing a lot of you guys a favour. Personal favourites include:

      ‘I am following EPL for a year, to test it out’ – clearly not interested in football then.
      ‘They will never win the EPL..ever. That IS mediocre.’ – See also every team in England other than Man Utd, Chelsea or Arsenal. Every team in Spain other than Real Madrid or Barcelona. Every team in Italy other than Milan or Inter Milan and every other tennis player other than Roger Federer.
      ‘Soccer in American goes beyond one individual.’ – Absolutely true, but why wouldn’t you want to follow that individual’s progress abroad if it heightens both the awareness of your league and therefore it’s popularity, generating interest to attract bigger and better players. No-one in England thought that David Beckham was the be all and end all of English football, but we all still followed his progress over in Italy and the States. Why wouldn’t we?
      ‘Landon hardly is going to improve in 10 weeks of play.’ – See above and also ditto with Beckham going to Milan. The key thing here kids is that they’ll both be fit (and I mean match fit) for the World Cup. That’s gotta be pretty important for the USA surely?
      ‘IF he was playing for a team that had even a little chance of winning, like the Tottenham, maybe, but otherwise why ?’ – Oh dear. See point above with regards to teams who have a chance of winning anything. Tottenham aren’t one of them. Plus, would he get into the team instead of Defoe, Keane, Crouch, Pavlychenko et al. Nope.

      Look, at the end of the day as a sportsman who wants to stay fit with the chance of improving both his game and his reputation within it, you’d jump at the chance of moving to one of the best leagues in the world to a team with a virtual guarantee of first team football. It’s going to be even more attractive if you know someone at that club who can help your family settle. He’ll be well received at a club whose fans are passionate and knowledgeable about the game and who know how dedicated Americans are to their sport (hello Joe-Max Moore). It’s win-win for all. Good for Everton as it enhances the squad, good for Donovan because he may improve his game and good for the USA in terms of exposure and the fact that one of their key players for the WC is staying fit in the off-season. Why wouldn’t you guys want to keep up with this?

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