CARSON, Calif. -- Landon Donovan's second penalty kick this season wasn't all that different from the first, nearly a month ago. Both were poorly taken and easily saved, and the LA Galaxy conceded later goals and dropped 1-0 decisions both times.
After Donovan's miss in Sunday night's loss to the Houston Dynamo, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena mused that it might be time to assign somebody else to spot-kick duty.
“Never good to miss a penalty kick,” Arena said. “We're probably going to have to change that. He's missed two in two games that we've lost, 1-0. Not good, so we probably need to make a change there.”
Donovan missed in an April 13 loss at FC Dallas, and his attempt Sunday, after Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall spilled Jose Villarreal about 25 minutes in, wasn't difficult for Hall to stop.
The longtime Galaxy star had made 28 of 31 regular-season penalty kicks in his MLS career before this season, but that hasn't counted for anything since his return from a four-month sabbatical.
“I'm not doing the job, so someone else is going to have to do it, but aside from that, we've got to play better,” Donovan said when informed of Arena's remarks. “Certainly, goals change games, and I could have made a difference and changed the game, but it happens and you have to move on.”
Donovan, who also has been a regular penalty-taker the past decade or so for the US national team, could be usurped by captain Robbie Keane, who missed the game with a sprained ankle, MLS Golden Boot co-leader Mike Magee or second-year forward Villarreal, who has a veteran's mentality.
Magee refused to entertain the idea.
“Landon,” he said, “is more than capable of taking penalties.”
What went wrong this time?
“I don't know. Maybe I overthought it a little bit,” Donovan said. “You know, I've taken a lot of penalties in this league. Goalies know sort of my rhythm, how I take them. I've taken quite a few against Tally now. So guys know, and it's getting harder and harder, and maybe I got to change something up. ...
“At the end of the day, it's not really as easy as it used to be. I think goalies are more prepared than ever, goalies move better than ever, but the reality is I've got to make them.”