After the 1-1 draw between the LA Galaxy and Portland Timbers, Bruce Arena was asked what he thought of Landon Donovan's performance. He didn't need many words, but the ones he chose were direct and to the point:
"Landon was the best player on the field today," said Bruce Arena. "Played very well. Good to see."
Donovan wasn't the goal scorer or credited with the assist, so it's unlikely any of the statistical models are going to corroborate Arena's point. WhoScored gave their player of the match rating to Kah on Portland's defense, and Squawka gave it to Robbie Keane. Let's take a look at Donovan's chalkboard data to see some of the hidden ways he contributed.
Those are Donovan's completed passed during the match against Portland, fifty-one in total at a 78% completion rate. Note how centrally he played, with three key passes in the final third. While Ishizaki has been the point of the diamond since its inception, against Portland Donovan played centrally with Ishizaki on his right side. It's clear how much of an impact Donovan had distributing centrally, and he also tallied thirteen recoveries helping LA keep possession on Portland's small pitch.
With Donovan off on World Cup duty, the Galaxy will likely rely on Ishizaki centrally again. Marcelo Sarvas' status doesn't inspire confidence, so it's likely the Galaxy will have to start Gyasi Zardes again or use Robbie Rogers in that spot. Either way, it's a step down from the production the Galaxy have gotten from Donovan as of late.
Donovan's work rate hasn't translated into a new goal record, but he's been working extremely hard in the attacking half to keep the Galaxy going forward.