CARSON, Calif. -- Nine years ago today, Landon Donovan joined the LA Galaxy and changed the MLS landscape forever.
To commemorate the ninth anniversary of the star attacker's signing with the Galaxy, I look back at my top five Donovan moments in an LA kit on LAGalaxy.com.
But what was it like for Donovan's teammates when he joined the Galaxy after a brief stint in Germany?
"It was a shock to a lot of people since he was with the Earthquakes for so long and they were our biggest rival," Defender Todd Dunivant told LA Galaxy Insider on Monday. "At the time, Carlos Ruiz was our biggest player, but when Landon came it was just awesome. He's a game changer and helped us win the cup that year."
As for Dunivant's favorite Donovan moment?
"In 2005, we were the four seed in the playoffs going up against San Jose and in the first leg at The Home Depot Center, he scored a huge goal for us," Dunivant told LAGalaxy.com. "He snuck in behind their defense and got around Pat Onstad that put us up by two goals and gave us the confidence going into the road match at Spartan Stadium which was a tough place to play. He really gave us that extra boost and while a lot of people won't think of that moment, it was first major moment for the club and it set us on the path to winning that MLS Cup."
Check out video of that moment below at the 2:05:56 mark.
SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake forward Alvaro Saborio drew the ire of the LA Galaxy for his second half challenge on LA defender A.J. DeLaGarza following the two teams 1-1 draw on Saturday afternoon.
The challenge occurred in the 62nd minute when DeLaGarza’s right leg was clipped from behind by the Costa Rican in a play that earned Saborio a yellow card caution from Ismail Elfath. Although the Galaxy defender tried to continue—even making several timely tackles – he was ultimately substituted nine minutes later with what LA head coach Bruce Arena later described as a “ankle contusion.”
DeLaGarza will be further evaluated once the team returns to LA, but his prognosis did not stop his Galaxy teammates from taking Saborio to task.
“That was pretty dirty on his part. He was definitely trying to hurt A.J. and I think that he succeeded,” said Gonzalez. “Fortunately for us, we have players that can come off the bench and we finished the game strong.”
Landon Donovan took it to another level, stating that he would be surprised if Saborio is not met with a suspension by the MLS Disciplinary Committee.
“I’m trying to figure out how that is not a red card. You see his leg and you see the intent and how nasty that was. I’d be very surprised if there is no further action taken,” said Donovan. "It’s okay to be tough and physical, but you don’t want to be nasty and that was a pretty nasty one.”
Regardless of whether or not Saborio is suspended, DeLaGarza is simply looking to return as soon as possible with the Galaxy not playing another match until an April 6 road match against Chivas USA.
“I hope that it’s not that bad, but right now it looks bad,” DeLaGarza told LA Galaxy Insider after the match. “Right after it happened; it was already swollen like a second calf. I told the ref and he only got a yellow.”
CARSON, Calif. – The bitter taste of Tuesday’s disappointing defeat to Club Tijuana has not yet dissipated for the LA Galaxy, but now as they look ahead to their match against Real Salt Lake on Saturday, they’re hoping to use their poor showing as motivation as they return to league play.
With the nightmare opening 30 minutes that led to a 4-2 loss to Tijuana still in their mind, LA understand that a strong start at Rio Tinto Stadium is vital if they’re going to earn their first league result of the year.
“If our mentality is better from the start, we’re very capable of getting a result there [in Salt Lake],” said Landon Donovan who started LA’s 4-2 defeat to Club Tijuana on Tuesday. “I think the guys are fired up and disappointed form Tuesday and we want to go put in a real good performance in Salt Lake.”
The match against RSL marks the second time in a two week span that the Galaxy will on Jeff Cassar’s side after LA dropped a 1-0 result in their home opener on March 8. In that match, the Galaxy outplayed Salt Lake, but ultimately poor finishing proved to be their undoing in the defeat.
As frustrating as that defeat to RSL may have been, it won’t be on the mind of Donovan once the Galaxy kick off on Saturday.
“What is fresh in our mind is Tuesday. The way that we started that game is not indicative of the team that we are,” said Donovan. “We’re very talented and we know that, but if we don’t compete then we can get beat especially against good teams."
TIJUANA, MEXICO – The LA Galaxy players differed about the timing, but all admitted that LA surrendered their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series with Club Tijuana within the opening 30 minutes.
LA conceded three times in the opening half hour as Tijuana pressed mercilessly, but nearly leveled the tie thanks to a Robbie Keane second half brace, that ultimately was not enough. Following the match, the Galaxy admitted their slow start in Tijuana cost them the series.
“The game was over in the first 10 minutes. It’s as simple as that. We started off slow and when you concede a goal in the space of 57 seconds; you can’t start away from home like that especially in a game like this and go on and expect that everything is going to be okay,” said Robbie Keane. “Once you concede one goal then you have to get organized and concede again, then five minutes later, you concede again. It put our backs against the wall and when we had to fight to get back in the game.”
Galaxy attacker Landon Donovan agreed.
“When you start a game like that then you don’t deserve it. We lost the game in the first 25 minutes, we know that,” said Donovan. “It’s disappointing because we know what we’re capable of, we showed what we’re capable of, but unfortunately for us, we were a little naïve and it showed.”
TIJUANA, Mexico – The gap between MLS teams and Mexico ones in CONCACAF Champions League remains.
The LA Galaxy crashed out of the CCL on Tuesday with a 4-2 defeat to Club Tijuana that saw them fall to the Liga MX side 4-3 on aggregate. LA’s loss gives MLS clubs a 2-27-5 record all time against Mexican clubs in Champions League and a 0-8-2 record in knockout round matches.
Following LA’s defeat, which featured three Tijuana goals in the opening 30 minutes of the game,Galaxy attacker Landon Donovan admitted that the gap between the two leagues was apparent on Tuesday.
“I think that you see the difference in the leagues in nights like tonight. We’ve got about eight who are mature and know how these games are while they’ve got 20 guys who know how these games go,” said Donovan. “That’s the difference in the payrolls and that’s where it is going to be difficult to make that next step until we get on equal terms where we can have the type of players that know how to play in these games.”
In the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com's "By the Numbers," we look at the LA Galaxy's CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals second leg against Club Tijuana.
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy know that when they take on Club Tijuana in their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg, they’ll be facing not only the players on the field, but a raucous crowd at Estadio Caliente.
One of the most fierce atmospheres in Liga MX, the Galaxy understand that they’ll be facing a boisterous fan base on Tuesday when they look to hold up their 1-0 aggregate lead over Tijuana.
“I expect it to be pretty wild and pretty crazy,” said Landon Donovan. “It’ll be fun for us because we enjoy playing in games like that. With this team over the years, we usually play in front of the opposing team’s best crowd. We’re used to hostile environments and we thrive on it.”
Marcelo Sarvas, who also has considerable experience playing in hostile environments throughout his career, expects a fevered atmosphere on Tuesday.
“I’m from Brazil and I think it’ll be the same. People will scream at you, they’ll be throwing things like coins or water or whatever,” said Sarvas. “They’re going to push the team for 90 minutes and it’ll be tough. It’s a good game to play because you have to put your heart before everything and face the game the right way.”
Club Tijuana is going all in with their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg against the LA Galaxy.
Tijuana head coach Cesar Farias opted to use a reserve-laden squad in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat against Cruz Azul in Mexico City. Cruz Azul striker Marco Fabian tallied twice as La Maquina roared back from an early deficit to extend Tijuana’s league road winless streak to 20 games.
The Xoloitzcuintles went ahead in the 45th minute when San Diego native Alejandro Guido fed Paul Arriola with a through ball that split two Cruz Azul defenders before the former Galaxy Academy attacker fired a pass across the goal mouth to Richard Ruiz, who scored from close range.Tijuana’s lead would not last, however, as Fabian fired a blast from beyond 25 yards just two minutes into the second half to equalize.
Fabian struck again in the 70th minute with yet another classy finish, this time from close range to give Cruz Azul the victory. Heading into Champions League quarterfinal second leg against the Galaxy, Tijuana sits in 10th place in the Liga MX 2014 Clausura Tournament with 14 points and a 4-5-2 record.
On Sunday, Galaxy attacker Landon Donovan stated that Farias' willingness to save his first team players for the Champions League second leg showed just how important the competition has become in recent years.
"It's a sign of the times," said Donovan following Galaxy training on Sunday. "I think that five years ago, they would have played their full team against Cruz Azul and we would have gotten their reserve team, but now, these teams realize that they can't do that anymore. We're going to see their absolute best effort on Tuesday and we're going to need to be ready."
Highlights of Tijuana's loss to Cruz Azul are below.
Last week, Topps unveiled a series of officially licensed MLS jersey posters that feature some of the league's biggest stars including LA Galaxy attacker Landon Donovan.
You can purchase your own Donovan poster from the Topps website, but you can see the complete image below.