TAMPA, FL - JUNE 08: Forward Landon Donovan #10 of Team USA advances the ball against Team Antigua and Barbuda during the FIFA World Cup Qualifier Match at Raymond James Stadium on June 8, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
The United States Defeated Antigua and Barbuda tonight at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL to kick off CONCACAF FIFA World Cup Qualifying third round. The US now go top of their group, with Clint Dempsey taking a penalty for what was ultimately the game winner. They'll next face Guatemala on the road Tuesday, in a match only being shown on PPV.
LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan went the full 90 minutes, in a match played under trying conditions. It was 80 degrees with 90 percent humidity, and pouring rain. Things lightened up in the second half, but the US players went much of the match standing around, with their hands at their side making the occasional run. The sense of urgency was lacking.
To see how Donovan did, we'll go to the Opta Chalkboard. Donovan tops the total events for the US, and those who watched the match will remember him involved on almost every offensive press forward. The frustration arose when he continually didn't look to shoot inside the box, despite his dribbling ability getting him into some nice spaces close to the goal.
Donovan took the free kicks as usual, so his 60 passes and 7 successful passes isn't too surprising. He didn't manage an assist, but he is credited with 11 key passes on the night. Three of those passes were corners, and his corners were spot on tonight. The rest all came from the right side of the offensive third, where Donovan was positioned; with Herculez Gomez in the middle.
The shots just weren't flowing for Donovan tonight. He only took two, one well into added time with his left foot. Both shots were outside the box and at the keeper, nothing too troubling. It's understandable that he wanted to get everyone involved, but with the US only up 2-1 at certain points it was frustrating that he wouldn't pull the trigger.
Donovan's heat map shows him covering the entire pitch, with most of his possession coming thirty yards out on the right. He focused more tonight on creating, and when I've talked to him in the past he's talked about having different types of games depending on what's necessary. On a night when the goals were going to come so long as the ball kept moving, he chose to be the creator.