Los Angeles Galaxy fans were undoubtedly watching Landon Donovan during his five-game stint with the U.S. Men's National Team. After the first game against Scotland, a friendly which the USA won 5-1, it was easy to be excited about Donovan's form. Did Donovan continue to play at a better level for the U.S. than he's shown with our side this season?
In that first match against Scotland, Donovan had three goals and one assist and seemed to dispel any doubt that he might be bored or didn't have enough passion for the game. Then in friendlies against Brazil and Canada, Donovan managed just a total of three shots. Against Antigua and Barbuda in a World Cup qualifier, Donovan had two shots, drew two fouls and committed a foul before getting zero shots against Guatemala in the other qualifier. Does his one outstanding match look like a fluke when you consider his total work?
When you add up Donovan's stats from the five matches, he was able to equal his Galaxy MLS point total in about half of the minutes (keep in mind he did all the scoring damage in one game). His shots per 90 minutes were down from his Galaxy total but slightly more of them were on target. However, if you look at just the last four matches he played with the U.S., Donovan's shots were down one per 90 minutes to 1.32 and his shots on goal were down 0.67 per 90 minutes from what he's averaged with L.A. The fouls he committed, which were not high at 1.3 per 90 minutes, fell dramatically with the U.S. to just 0.26 per 90 minutes. The fouls Donovan drew also fell from 1.9 to 0.79 per 90 minutes. What does it all mean?
On balance, Donovan's performance for the U.S. was better than his matches with the Galaxy, but not dramatically so save for the one match against Scotland. I don't think anyone looking at the matches or the stats can say he's been holding back on the Galaxy. However, Donovan still needs to elevate his game when he returns to L.A.
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Stats from MLS Soccer.com