CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan has shown flashes of the dizzying form that made him a U.S. Soccer legend prior to his absence from the game, but the Galaxy forward understands that he still has continue to improve his form.
WATCH: Hall saves Donovan's PK
Donovan showed plenty of promise during LA’s 1-0 defeat to the Houston Dynamo with several dangerous passes that set up Galaxy scoring opportunities, but it was his penalty kick that was saved by Houston’s Tally Hall in the 25th minute that will loom large for the LA veteran.
Following the match, LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena admitted that Donovan may see his chances from the spot diminish after missing his second straight penalty kick in 2013, his first coming in LA’s 1-0 defeat to FC Dallas in March.
“Never good to miss a penalty kick. We’re probably going to have to change that,” Arena, who later said that he felt Hall should have been sent off for the challenge on Jose Villarreal that led to the penalty. “He’s missed two in two games that we’ve lost 1-0. Not good so we probably need to make a change there.”
Whether or not the change is justified is Arena’s question and Donovan admitted afterward that he agreed with the Galaxy head coach that a change could be in order, but what happened on the missed penalty?
“I don’t know maybe I overthought it a little bit, but I’ve taken a lot of penalties in this league,” Donovan said. “Goalies know my rhythm and how I take them so I’ve taken quite a few against Tally now. Guys know so it’s getting harder and harder and maybe I’ve got to change something up.
WATCH: Donovan postgame reaction
“At the end of the day, it’s not really as easy it used to be. Goalies are more prepared than ever, goalies move better than ever, but the reality is that I have to make them.”
Following the penalty kick, the Galaxy struggled to regain their attacking composure against an organized Houston team that ceded possession as they massed in front of goal. However, the Galaxy struggled to get themselves into dangerous positions as LA frequently saw crosses go begging.
In the end, the Galaxy finished the match with just two shots on frame while the Dynamo defense blocked an impressive nine shots.
“Give them credit. They did everything that they had to do to keep the ball out of the back of the net,” said Donovan. “We probably could have been a little better, but give them credit because they played well out there.”
Donovan and the Galaxy will look to flip the script as they head on a nine-day and three-city road trip that begins next Saturday at BC Place against Vancouver Whitecaps FC. During that trip, the Galaxy will hope to see the return of captain Robbie Keane, who has missed the club’s last two matches with a left ankle injury.
For LA to return to their winning ways—and for Donovan to regain his form—they must return to the type of attacking tactics that made them successful in past.
“We were a little bit off our game [on Sunday], [Houston] got some breaks and they defended well,” said Donovan. “And when we had our chances, we didn’t do well enough and all that generally equals a recipe for a loss.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com