LA's record over the last 8 games: D-D-D-L-D-D-W-D.
Yup, you read that right. One win.
Before the win last week against the short handed and cellar dwelling Columbus Crew, the last LA win was on July 23rd. Ages ago.
September is usually the time when the Galaxy are picking up speed into the playoffs. Instead, Bruce Arena was faced with a soul crushing 90+ minute draw, injuries to Keane and Van Damme, losing Gyasi Zardes for the season, and another injury to Gerrard. While Dos Santos appears to be picking up the slack, depending on one player to carry you through the playoffs is a risky endeavor.
Contrary to his opinion on stats, Bruce Arena is no dope. Landon Donovan was called to the white courtesy phone, and thankfully, he answered.
No one knows what LD's abilities are going to be like after nearly two years away, and how long he can play in a match itself. He's likely to be a super sub for the remainder of the season. However, even as a super sub his threat will cause opponents pause. After all, if you have a choice of Rafael Garcia or Landon Donovan off the bench, one would hope the answer would be easy.
Where LA needs Donovan the most is in the midfield creating chances. Though Dos Santos has had very good statistics this year: 12 goals and 9 assists, he's not an elite chance creator for the rest of the team. He's streaky when it comes to assists. Like Keane, he should be closer to goal, and feeds off of chances. Frankly, if Landon does have anything left in the tank, Gio should be salivating at the chance to play with him.
To give context as to just how much of a boost LD would be in the attack, take a look at the numbers below.
Key Passes (Games 21-28 in 2016)
1. Gerrard 16
2. Dos Santos 10
3. Lletget 8
4. Boateng 4
5. Zardes 3
Key Passes (Games 21-28 in 2014)
1. Landon Donovan - 35
2016 Chances Created (Through 28 Games)
Gerrard - 39
Dos Santos -32
Zardes - 28
Lletget - 26
2014 Chances Created (Through 28 Games)
Donovan - 87
Ishizaki - 47
Keane - 46
Husidic - 28
Landon has more than double the key passes and chances created by #1 Gerrard over the same set of 8 games, and over the course of the regular season so far. Yes, different squads, different games, but the scale at which he is leaps and bounds over the nearest competitor is mind boggling.
Not only that, but the nearest competitor is Steven Gerrard. With Gerrard out with an injury, suddenly chances created look even more dire. Landon has more chances created than the next three players combined.
Dos Santos is the next best player in the stats department with Robbie Keane missing for so much of the year. I'm excited to see what the second best chance creator on the team can do with one of the best chance creators in the league.
Landon may not be as good as he was before, but he has a long way to fall before he's as good as the next person on the list. Chances are (!) that he will help - we just don't know how much.
But I've got hope that I didn't have before, and for that, thanks Bruce Arena for approaching the white courtesy phone.
*Key passes stats from MLSsoccer.com Opta boxscores, chances created from squawka.com