FRISCO, Texas – They say that the mark of a great player is their ability to step up in crunch time and if that’s the case, Landon Donovan showcased his greatness once again on Sunday night.
Donovan notched a hat trick as the Galaxy earned a 3-3 draw in a back-and-forth match at FC Dallas Stadium. The hat trick is Donovan’s third in a Galaxy uniform, his fourth in his MLS career, and his first since the 2008 season. After the match, Galaxy boss Bruce Arena was concise with his praise of the forward, whom he simply stated “did a great job tonight.”
Although the forward was positively dominant offensively in his first MLS game in more than a month and scored two goals in nine minutes, he was left unsatisfied after LA surrendered a 3-2 lead by conceding an 86th minute equalizer to FC Dallas.
“Well, it was good at the time. We felt good about ourselves but we got lazy and gave up a real easy free kick and then they scored a goal,” Donovan said of his two goals in nine minutes to reporters after the match. “At the end of the day it was good that we fought back but when you have the lead with five minutes to go, you should win the game.”
Whenever Donovan went forward, he was a threat to find the back of the net as he teamed up well with LA captain Robbie Keane. In the waning moments of the first half with LA down 1-0, Donovan put the Galaxy on level terms when he made a diagonal run to reach a Robbie Keane pass, and headed the ball past ‘keeper Chris Seitz before tapping in for the strike. He struck again in the 73rd minute—again with the Galaxy trailing—as he lashed a ball at the top of the box that rendered the Dallas ‘keeper helpless.
His third and final of the night came in the 82nd minute when he smashed a chance inside the 18-yard-box in the back of the net.
“He was great. You can tell that he had a lot of authority tonight,” said defender Todd Dunivant. “He wanted the ball and once he got on it, he was direct and aggressive, and always giving their defense troubles. That’s him at his best.”
Donovan’s hat trick adds to his already illustrious MLS resume that is likely to get even more storied as the season continues. With his three goals against Dallas, Donovan is just five goals away from breaking Jeff Cunningham’s all-time MLS Regular Season goal scoring mark of 134. That’s not all however, as Donovan’s fourth hat trick puts him one away from tying the all-time mark of five, which is currently held by Stern John and Diego Serna.
Individual accolades have rarely concerned Donovan, however, as he’s simply focused on lifting the Galaxy up the Western Conference standings, particularly, after a sour draw in Texas.
“At the end of the day, it’s a point on the road. We don’t have too many road games left so we’re still feeling good about where we’re at and where we’re going, but we can’t keep giving up points,” said Donovan. “Our goal is to get into the playoffs and if we get into the playoffs we know we have to be better than we were tonight if we’re going to do anything.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com