AMSTERDAM — It was a roller coaster Saturday for Americans in Europe, with the high point coming when Everton loan ace Landon Donovan sliced apart Aston Villa to set up the visitors' late 1-1 leveler.
Despite six saves from Tim Howard, the Toffees fell behind when poor defending allowed Darren Bent to bag his fifth career goal against the US No. 1 in the 55th minute. The veteran was at his best to deny Stilian Petrov, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Bent with the game still scoreless.
Brad Guzan, meanwhile, returned to his usual deputy's role, watching on as recovered Villa netminder Shay Given would eventually have his return spoiled by some Donovan initiative.
With just over 20 minutes left to play, the LA Galaxy thoroughbred galloped in from the left to set Victor Anichebe free for the equalizer with a defense-splitting pass.
It was Donovan's second straight weekend notching an assist and the result nudged Everton into the table's top half. After the match, which also saw the American win three free kicks, Toffees boss David Moyes made it clear who was his man of the match.
"It was a really good goal by Anichebe, but it was created by, for me, the best player on the pitch in Landon Donovan," the manager told reporters. "I thought he did great today. He put the cross in, which I thought could have been a penalty kick, and put the pass through to Victor to score the equalizer. ... He has given us something a little bit extra, we just need to finish off a lot of the good play he has given us."
Galaxy striker Robbie Keane, who is on loan With Aston Villa through the end of February, started the match on the bench for the claret and blue, but came in for Stephen Warnock in the 81'.
Everton manager David Moyes praises Donovan