Tag Archives: Landon Donovan

Clint Dempsey, the American Model for European Success

Since moving to Fulham, Clint Dempsey has enjoyed a productive career and become a fan favorite at Craven Cottage. (Courtesy Nick Sarebi)

By Kevin Koczwara

Clint Dempsey, Texas native and one time New England Revolution player who set the Major League Soccer record for transfer overseas, $4 million, scored the United States only goal in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. He became the second American ever to score in two different World Cups, joining Brian McBride, this summer when he brought the U.S. men’s national team level with England in Rustenburg, South Africa.

Yet, since winning the 2006 Honda Player of the Year Award, given to the best American soccer player and voted by journalists, Dempsey’s path to success has almost fallen on deaf ears because he plays for a semi-small club in England, Fulham, not the domestic MLS, a huge club in Europe, and he isn’t named Landon Donovan.

Donovan has been a great ambassador for the game of soccer in America. There is no doubting that. But, what Donovan hasn’t been able to do, and this is partially because the MLS won’t let him, is ride out his career overseas in one of the world’s top leagues. Yes, Donovan had a great short loan spell with Everton last year, and he should look to do it again this year, but that was a quick spell where he fit into the team’s plans perfectly. Neither side had much to lose. Everton was skidding, and Donovan was still a star in the U.S. with the Los Angeles Galaxy. There was no risk because Donovan knew he would still be star when he returned to Los Angeles.

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FC Dallas, Colorado Looking to MLS Cup

Kosuke Kimura displays the MLS Eastern Conference Trophy after his Colorado Rapids defeated the San Jose Earthquakes last week. (Photo Courtesy Colorado Rapids/MLS)

By Ryan Fleming

Colorado has been there before. Dallas has not.

Dallas posted an unbeaten streak of 19 (20, if you want to count its 1-1 friendly against Inter Milan). Colorado had a mere streak of five – impressive in its own right, but not as dominating.

Come Sunday, dismiss all the numbers, all the stats, the “should-haves” and “did-nots,” and focus on the Rapids and the Hoops. No more analyzing the past, but hanging on the present as both sides battle for the MLS Cup.
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Beckham Experiment Injected Life in Major League Soccer and American Soccer Fans

David Beckham signed with Major League Soccer team the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007. His time in the MLS has been plagued by injuries, but his impact has been positive. (Courtesy Hamedog/wikicommons)

By Ryan Fleming

Much has been discussed about England’s old wonderboy, David Beckham’s time here. When the flamboyant and ever-glamorous attacking midfielder first came to the United States, his arrival was surrounded with much fanfare, anticipation and absolute hope that the former sensation could use his media following to provide a boost for Major League Soccer in its attempt to move into the light.

Beckham’s reign in the U.S., which started in 2007, has been plagued by injury and, for the most part, disappointment. In Sports Illustrated writer, Grant Wahl’s book, The Beckham Experiment, the author tries to analyze if Beckham’s time in the States can be considered a success. I’m here to tell you, it was.

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Kyle Beckerman's Journey to the Top of Major League Soccer

Kyle Beckerman celebrates Real Salt Lake's MLS Cup Championship victory in 2009. Beckerman was traded by the Colorado Rapids to RSL in 2007. Courtesy Real Salt Lake

By Kevin Koczwara

The 2009 season was a dream come true for Kyle Beckerman and Real Salt Lake. The team snuck into the MLS Cup playoffs as the last team to qualify. RSL had to go through Supporter’s Shield winners, (awarded to the best team of the regular season) Columbus Crew, to start. The team did that and made it all the way to the MLS Cup final where Beckerman and company had to take on the heavily favored Los Angeles Galaxy with American soccer icon Landon Donovan and English import, and tabloid favorite, David Beckham.

Beckerman lead the charge against the Galaxy as the captain of Salt Lake. Real went onto surprise just about everyone, beating the titanic duo of Beckham and Donovan, claiming the team’s first piece of silverware in club history.

Since the historic win, Real Salt Lake hasn’t looked back. The team finished second to Los Angeles in the MLS regular season with 56 points (15-4-11) and a record for fewest goals allowed in a season with 20 goals allowed in 30 games – a staggering .66 goals against average – and became the first North American soccer team to win its group in the CONCACAF Champions League group stage.

“The biggest thing was it [the playoffs last year] helped us turn the corner for road games. That was our biggest problem in the past few years and is why we struggled to get into the playoffs [last season],” said Beckerman. “It was the road form, once we did that [started winning on the road] we turned a corner. We really grew up in the playoffs last year and we were able to get the results in the playoffs. We have transferred that into this season, and we haven’t stopped. Now, we defend better and we’re more mature as a team.”

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MLS Cup Preview and Predictions

The Columbus Crew won its first and only MLS Cup in 2008. The Crew will need to get through the East to claim the Cup. (Courtesy Wikicommons.)

By Ryan Fleming and Kevin Koczwara

Before the 2010 MLS Cup Playoffs commence we’ll take a bit of a look at the conference matchups before the first leg of the postseason starts. Will the Red Bulls take home the cup this year? Can Los Angeles make up for last year’s finals loss? Or will Real Salt Lake add another to their trophy case?

The West

Coming into the 2010 MLS Cup, RSL look to be one of the favorites to take home the Cup. The Royals had a solid season and look poised to make a deep postseason run. For the defending champs, they could become the third team in MLS history to win back-to-back titles. Real, the No. 2 seed coming into the tournament, takes on a Dallas team that has limped their way into the playoffs including losses to Western Conference foes, LA and Real.

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Yanks In Need of Revolution

U.S. striker Jozy Altridore has shown flashes of brilliance on the field when leading the Americans attack, but at other times his poor first touch has let him down. Courtesy Paul Blank

By Ryan Fleming

After watching the 0-0 yawnfest that was the United States Men’s National Team against Colombia and then a mediocre performance by the Yanks against Poland just a few days prior I was stricken with some revelations.

1. Are they really any good?

Did the Yanks overachieve in the World Cup? It has been known for sometime now that you cannot value a player based alone on his performance in the world’s greatest sporting spectacle. Sure, their 1-1 tie to England in both of the team’s opening games of the tournament was lucky, albeit maybe deserved. The Yanks came out on top of the group, ahead of the Three Lions, as well as Algeria and Slovenia an overall mediocre group even with the likes of England present.

Since being eliminated by Ghana in the second round, the USMNT lost to Brazil, 2-0, then came away without a win over mediocrity once again this past week.

The USA really hasn’t put forth an impressive performance since its 3-1 win over Australia just days before the World Cup. Sure, it managed some thrilling, late-game heroics over Algeria and Slovenia, but does that constitute an overall “good” showing?

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Donovan Saga Illustrates Issues in U.S. Soccer

MLS Commissioner Don Garber has made sure Landon Donovan has not been allowed to move to one of Europe's top leagues because of Donovan's importance to MLS and its success. Courtesy Jose Argueta - MLS Soccer

By Joe Meloni

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber made it clear this week that Los Angeles Galaxy captain Landon Donovan will play for the MLS side this season. Given the current popularity of Donovan and the Beautiful Game in the United States, Garber’s refusal is the right decision for the league and the game.

When European clubs came calling about Donovan in the past, Garber’s outright refusal to let the league’s talisman walk, bordered on selfish. His latest decision, while still selfish, just isn’t as important as the first few. Donovan’s performance in the World Cup was inspired, and, paired with successful loan spell with Premiership side Everton this year, silenced most of his primary critics around the world. Still, at 28, Donovan is quickly approaching his final few years of relevance. And by the time the next World Cup rolls around, he’ll likely be a shadow of his current self.

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Best and Worst Performers at the World Cup

Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Holland's captain at the World Cup, was a stand-out defender. Courtesy Paul Blank

By The Soccer Guys

Kevin’s Picks:

Strikers

Diego Forlan - Forlan was the most dangerous striker on the field every time Uruguay suited up. He was handed the Golden Ball by FIFA as the World Cup’s best player, and he deserved it. He scored vital goals and did everything for the underrated and under-appreciated Uruguay team.

David Villa - Villa’s five goals tied him for the Golden Boot with Forlan, Germany’s Thomas Mueller, Uruguay’s Diego Forlan and Holland’s Wesley Sneijder, and his goals saved Spain from elimination. Without Villa, Spain might have been watching the final match from home rather than playing and winning the world’s biggest sporting event.

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What the Future Holds for the USMNT

By Kevin Koczwara

It has been over a week since the United States Men’s National Team was humbled by a young Ghana squad – the youngest team in the World Cup Finals – in extra time at the World Cup in South Africa. I have had enough time to soak in the pain, the misery and the confusion of seeing my country lose at the World Cup when I truly thought it could advance in the tournament and make major strides, you know, kind of like how the Italians, Argentines and Brazilians must feel right about now.

Then I got to thinking about the future of U.S. soccer and how bright it may be. The squad that went to South Africa was a good mix of veteran players and up-and-coming talent. The roster manager Bob Bradley took with him had a good mix and set a good framework for the next World Cup – 2014 in Brazil.

The Yanks will have major questions to answer during the qualifying for the 2014 World Cup: who will their core defenders be? And who will supply the much needed goals?

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MLS Update: Buddle and Donovan Return to Galaxy From World Cup

By Ryan Fleming

Not much has changed regarding the MLS. The best teams are still the best, and the poor teams are still struggling with no signs of help.

The L.A. Galaxy continued their dominant season as they defeated the mediocre and disappointing Seattle Sounders, 3-1, last weekend. The game marked the return of both Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle from international duty after the elimination of the United States from the World Cup.

Buddle welcomed the Sounders with a 19th minute strike, putting the Galaxy (11-1-3, 36 pts.) up early. Donovan assisted on the goal.

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