The LA Galaxy were not in a position to clinch the Supporters' Shield last night against the Seattle Sounders, but the loss made their task in the final game of the season that much more difficult. Dropping two points at home also left a window open for DC United to finish second in the Supporters' Shield race which can affect things down the line.
Most of the night was built heavily around the Donovan farewell message. True to form from the Connecticut national team testimonial, Donovan was snake-bit in his attempt to get on the scoresheet on the night all about him.
As the match went on and it evolved into a physical match with teams having a clear understanding of what was at stake, Donovan struggled to keep his name in the match. His absence was noted.
So how was Donovan kept out of the action? During the first half, with Brad Evans marking things on Donovan's side, number ten was kept mostly to the left side the field. His touches in the attacking half during the first forty-five minutes were the sort of sideline hugging wide midfielder play I once criticized Hector Jimenez for.
It's not so much that Donovan was stymied defensively; only three passes and one dribble were unsuccessful. The pace of the game kept him off to the side as the proceedings became increasingly right sided. LA did not have a passing event in the top left corner of the field in the first half, the area where most crosses come from. When Donovan did go inside he earned a key pass, but that was a rare occurrence.
In the second half Donovan worked his way over more, and then when Gyasi Zardes dropped back to the midfield he switched sides. In both halves there was only one action in the penalty area, his key passes only led to low percentage shots outside of the box which is where 64% of LA's shots were taken from.
Donovan's relative position was in a cluster with Gyasi Zardes and Robbie Keane, who were also conspicuously absent last night. LA received heaps of praise for shutting down Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins in the win that opened the season series, but last night Seattle shut down LA's best attackers.