In the 77th minute of the match vs. Sporting Kansas City with LA down 2-1, Landon Donovan’s first touch as a substitute was a simple layoff for Robbie Rogers. Donovan then began to jog forward, lulling Soni Mustivar into a false sense of security before altering course and bearing on goal in a full sprint, accepting a cutback from Rogers and placing a left footed shot around Kevin Ellis and into Tim Meila’s side netting with breathtaking ease.
And just like that, any hope from the rest of the league that Donovan’s return to LA was merely a gimmick were dashed in one lightning-quick sequence. Far from a hastily made decision fueled by nostalgia that wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny, Landon has already made an impact.
What is so encouraging about the goal was the complete manner by which Donovan equalized for LA. The competitiveness to jump right into the game, the fitness to outrun Mustivar, and finally the confidence after scoring to taunt the crowd for daring to chant “AARP!” at the American soccer legend.
This wasn’t some wily veteran old man tap-in. LD created the play using athleticism and his soccer noggin, with some excellent help from Rogers.
And Bruce wants more.
Donovan might not be starting anytime soon, but the Galaxy have a new weapon to unleash on tired defenses.