Donovan finally scores, but stresses shift in focus
CARSON, Calif. – On Sept. 11, 2010, Landon Donovan scored in a 3-1 LA Galaxy rout of Columbus. While it may not have seemed like it at the time, it was his last goal for a while.
Donovan didn't find the back of the net in the final five regular-season games, nor did he score in the Galaxy’s three playoff matches. This season, he started the year off with zero goals in his first three games.
It wasn't until Saturday that Donovan finally found the back of the net, scoring from the penalty spot in the eighth minute and again on a second-half header to the back post to cap a 3-0 win for the Galaxy over the visiting Portland Timbers at the Home Depot Center.
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Donovan celebrated both goals with cathartic enthusiasm, but after the game he stressed that his individual scoring prowess might not mean as much as it once did.
“I’m not as much of a scorer anymore,” he said. “Both with the US team and with this team, part of my game has not been the same as it was when I was younger.
“But I want to win,” he added, “and it feels good to win.”
To get Donovan back at all Saturday night was a bonus for the Galaxy. The LA captain missed the previous three matches with a knee injury.
“It’s great to see him back scoring,” midfielder David Beckham said. “It’s great to see him back on the team, because he’s obviously missed out on the three games. It’s good to have goals coming from elsewhere as well, but I know he enjoys scoring them.”
Donovan created his first scoring opportunity against Portland. With the Galaxy up 1-0, he was fouled inside the penalty area by Timbers defender Rodney Wallace and coolly converted the spot kick, snapping his scoreless streak and giving LA a comfortable 2-0 lead just eight minutes in.
Later, Donovan combined with Juan Pablo Angel in the 67th minute on the game’s third goal. Ángel dribbled toward the end line and sent the ball to the far post, where an unmarked Donovan snapped a header into an open net to seal the Timbers’ fate.
“Landon should be scoring goals,” Galaxy manager Bruce Arena said. “It’s good to get him on the board here, and hopefully there are more to come.”