Mid-week matches are often ignored by Player of the Week voters. This time, it put a legend over the top. With one goal and four assists across LA Galaxy’s two wins last week, Landon Donovan was recognized as Major League Soccer’s Player of the Week, a decision we pile on with our own honor.
Donovan started the week last Wednesday against visiting D.C. United, contributing to an early onslaught the devolved into a 4-1 romp. Along the way Donovan assisted on goals by Omar Gonzalez and Baggio Husidic, adding his own from the spot in the 75th minute.
On Sunday against Chivas USA, Donovan added two more helpers, setting up Gyasi Zardes for goals in the 41st and 71st minutes. Joining teammate Robbie Keane at the top of MLS’s assists chart (12 on the season), Donovan is now within six of the league’s all-time record, giving the legend nine games to claim another place in Major League Soccer’s record book.
Returning our focus back to last week, there is a case for being more muted about Donovan’s performances. One of this assists against D.C. was a hockey assist, where his stats were padded by a relatively simple ball before A.J. DeLaGarza’s cross. His other mid-week helper was a corner kick – a decent if unremarkable effort put home by Gonzalez. Against Chivas, his second assist was an uncontested square ball across the six, while his first created a relatively innocuous (if, ultimately converted) chance on the counter. Even his Wednesday goal carries a caveat, coming from the spot.
But consider that a devil’s advocacy, one that doesn’t address Donovan’s winning case. Quantity may not always be glamorous, but it’s important. Playing a part in five of his team’s seven goals, Donovan illustrated how important he was.
So for the second week in a row, a legend claims our honor. And for the second week in a row, an icon’s shown what we’ll miss with his impending departure. Like Thierry Henry last week, Landon Donovan has snared our Player of the Week nod.