Galaxy Insider Player Ratings: Landon Donovan

Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano reviews the season for the LA Galaxy captain

The LA Galaxy season may be over, but LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano will spend the next few weeks offering an evaluation of each member of the squad. VIEW CALENDAR

The LA Galaxy Player Ratings will begin with players who appeared in the least number of games this season starting with goalkeeper Brian Rowe and concluding with Sean Franklin who played in all 34 of the club’s regular season games. There will also be an evaluation of head coach and general manager Bruce Arena and his moves at the conclusion of the list.

We will have two to three evaluations per day and focus on what each player did well, what they need to improve on ahead of next season as well as a select thought from the player on their performance and a rating from myself out of four stars.

LANDON DONOVAN

AGE: 30

POSITION: Midfielder/Forward

APPEARANCES IN ALL OFFICIAL COMPETITIONS: GP: 34 [5 in MLS Cup Playoffs, 3 in CONCACAF Champions League], MIN: 2911, G: 12 [2 in MLS Cup Playoffs, 1 in CCL], A: 17 [3 in MLS Cup Playoffs]

RESERVE LEAGUE APPEARANCES: GP: 1, MIN: 33, G: 1, A: 1

Highlights: RSL 2, LA 3

HIGHLIGHTS:  The year didn’t start the way that Landon Donovan and the LA Galaxy intended with the club’s shock exit from the CONCACAF Champions League and early season malaise, but when it came time for the club to kick into gear, Donovan was there to serve as the catalyst. LA’s season changed with Donovan’s stellar performance on June 20 against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. LA was down by two goals early before Donovan sparked LA’s comeback by scoring a two goals—including the eventual game-winner—and an assist as the Galaxy defeated RSL 3-2. From that moment, the Galaxy shot up the standings with Donovan at the forefront. He finished  the regular season with 14 assists, the second most of his MLS career, leaving him just one shy of 2012 MLS assist leader Graham Zusi’s mark of 15, despite playing in six fewer matches. Donovan would be called upon to save his team’s season yet again during MLS Cup 2012. After falling behind to the Houston Dynamo late in the first half—a half that included a shocking miss by LA’s captain— LA battled back to level the score on Omar Gonzalez’s 60th minute goal. With the final hanging in the balance, Donovan would put LA ahead for good five minutes later, converting a penalty kick that helped seal LA’s 3-1 MLS Cup victory.

LOWLIGHTS: Donovan was not immune to LA’s early season downswing as he scored just two goals and had two assists prior to his stellar performance against RSL. Although not a true lowlight, Donovan repeatedly stated that he will take time away from the game during the offseason as he rests and evaluates his desire to continue playing. It is no surprise that Donovan would need rest as over the last 12 years, Donovan has averaged a game nearly every eight days. 

HIS THOUGHTS: "This year, personally felt more satisfying. Last year there was a heavy expectation with the uncertainty about David [Beckham]'s future and we hadn't won a championship. From the beginning MLS Cup was in LA so there was a lot of pressure to get there. This year we could enjoy it a little bit more. To finish where we were and then unexpectedly move through the playoffs that way, was a little more satisfying I think." – Donovan on Dec. 1 reflecting on the difference between the 2012 MLS Cup win and the win in 2011.

RATING: FOUR STARS 
A true captain is someone that steps up when his team needs him the most and in 2012, Donovan answered the call.  Whether it was his season-changing performance against RSL in June or during the second half of MLS Cup 2012, Donovan rose to the occasion whenever he was needed. Now the question remains—will Donovan return for the 2013 season? The Galaxy captain intends to spend his offseason resting as he looks to evaluate his future.  If it is Donovan’s final season then he will leave an incredible legacy with the club having served as the club’s talisman for the past eight years, writing his name throughout the Galaxy record book and racking up three MLS Cup victories.

Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com