CARSON, Calif. – Following a stellar performance that saw him score one goal and set up another, Landon Donovan had a message for those, who had plenty to say during his absence from the game of soccer: “Don’t count the old guy out just yet, I still have a little bit left to give.”
And give he did during the LA Galaxy’s 2-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City, a win that saw LA not only snap their four-game winless run, but also end Sporting’s shutout streak at 545 minutes.
WATCH: Donovan scores first goal of the year
Donovan had a hand in ending that streak with his laser accurate pass that set up a Marcelo Sarvas’ tap in on the eventual game-winner, but 47 minutes later, the Galaxy attacker got on the board himself as he hammered home his own tap-in this time from a Robbie Keane pass.
After telling reporters earlier in the week that his hope that this was the week that “it all came together” for him, he aptly delivered on Saturday.
“It’s nice to hit the net again. It’s been awhile, while I feel like I’ve been slowly working my way back in, it’s disappointing when you can’t have the effect that you want to have and help the team the way that you want to help,” said Donovan. “Tonight, it was nice to have a tangible impact and that has to be (the) goal now…Bruce has said many times, we’re not judged on time off, you’re judged on how you do on the field and it was nice to finally make an impact.”
WATCH: Postgame reaction from Landon Donovan
From the start, Donovan created issues for the Sporting defense in midfield as he repeatedly assisted or participated in counter attacks that created opportunities for the Galaxy. After assisting on Sarvas’ strike in the 27th minute, Donovan bagged his first goal of 2013 in the midway through the second half.
In the 74th minute, six minutes after being pushed up front alongside Robbie Keane, Donovan found himself the recipient of a Keane feed after the Irishman had raced in behind the Sporting defense. However, Donovan’s surging run down the right flank nearly didn’t happen.
“I was debating to make the run at first. Robbie from there, probably 95 times out of 100 is going to score. I wasn’t sure that he saw me, I didn’t think he saw me to be honest,” Donovan admitted. “The pass he made is more difficult than people think, you’re running full speed with guys coming at you, the goalie coming out, you can over hit that easy, you can under hit that easy and the pace was perfect and he just made it really easy for me.”
Although Keane could have taken his own shot at Jimmy Nielsen, Donovan was pleased with Keane’s attempt to kick-start his season.
“He’s a class player, I could sense that he wanted to get me going and that’s what a leader does,” said Donovan. “If he took the shot, he’s probably going to score, but he wanted to get me a tap-in and I appreciate it.”
Following the match, Keane admitted that he believes that his performance with Donovan against Sporting could be a sign of things to come for their partnership.
WATCH: Postgame reaction from Robbie Keane
“He was good, he set a goal up and scored one, and it’s not a bad day is it?” said Keane. “Like anything, it takes four or five games to get into the swing of things. So hopefully, me and him are back to 100 percent. He’s played three or four games now and when you score a goal and set one up, it breeds confidence in you.”
Ahead of the demanding MLS slate, Donovan believes that there’s plenty more to come— and the message is clear.
“I’m almost there, just a little bit more sharpness, but I felt almost back to normal. I felt like I was very close to a 100 percent tonight,” said Donovan. “Don’t count the old guy out just yet.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com