LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04: Landon Donovan of Everton looks on as he plays in his first match since returning to the club on loan from LA Galaxy during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Bolton Wanderers at Goodison Park on January 4, 2012 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Landon Donovan made his debut with Everton (again) on Wednesday in a 2-1 loss to Bolton at Goodison Park. For Everton, it was ugly. But Donovan started and looked sharp in the full 90 minutes with the Tofees.
Oh, and an American scored. Just not who you might think.
U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard's clearance from inside his own box took one bounce and the wind did the rest to carry the ball over the head of Bolton goalkeeper Adam Bogdan and give Everton its only goal of the game in the 63rd minute. But four minutes later David N'Gog found the equalizer and Gary Cahill struck the winner for Bolton in the 73rd minute.
Despite Bolton climbing out of last place with the win, the focus even from the English media was on Donovan's second loan debut. The Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder made his first appearance for Everton since March 2010, when his last last loan ended.
Donovan looked sharp and dangerous throughout the evening, even if he couldn't match Howard's scoring (who became only the fourth goalkeeper in Premier League history to score).Donovan could have given Everton the lead just before halftime when he got in behind Bolton's defense, but he was seemingly tripped up by Sam Ricketts. The contact looked minimal and while Donovan may not have embellished, he probably would have found net if he managed to stay on his feet.
Overall, the American star child looked good throughout the 90 minutes. He moved with pace and made his trademark dashing diagonal runs in behind the defense. Most notably he played simply and within himself and he fit right in with the rest of the Tofees. There was no evidence to suggest that Donovan lacked chemistry with his teammates.
It was a seamless start at Goodison Park for the Galaxy captain, who has several high profile matches to look forward to over the next two months.
The English announcers love him. Toffees fans love him. We know David Moyes loves him. So long as Donovan continues to put in solid performances, that should continue.
Just be cautious. We are talking about an ugly game against relegation bound Bolton.