102912_donovanlandon_isi_mlsmj100612087 Michael Janosz/isiphotos.com
simple truths

One Play on Sunday Night Defined Landon Donovan

The United States national team talisman is not the same player he was when he burst on to the scene more than a decade ago. His transformation was evident against the Seattle Sounders.

BY Noah Davis Posted
October 29, 2012
9:50 AM
I've been thinking a lot about Landon Donovan lately and his future as a player.

One moment on Sunday night summed it all up perfectly.

The Los Angeles Galaxy star received a pass just over midfield with nothing but green grass between him and the Seattle Sounders goal. He took a touch, then another, then lifted his head and hit a perfect left-footed cross to Robbie Keane a split second before he got caught from behind.

A couple observations:

1) He clearly doesn't have the same burst. Yes, Donovan was returning from injury, but when was the last time you saw him really explode? It's been a long time. Five years ago (two years ago?), the striker easily outpaces the trailing defender. Now, not so much.

2) That pass! It required so many different abilities. To be calm, cool, collected while, in the words of Taylor Twellman, "going 100 miles an hour" requires so much skill. Plus, he hit it with his off-foot. If Keane converts, that's Goal of the Week material.

To be clear, it was an amazing, impressive, athletic play. But it was a different one than Donovan of old would have made.

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