May 26, 2012, 10:33 PM EDT
After 45 minutes, Michael Bradley looked set for man of the match. His 11th minute goal was not only the difference in the match (at halftime), it was one of the better strikes in recent men’s national team history. Add in his contributions on Landon Donovan’s opener (jumping into the play after Jose Torres and Terrance Boyd created an early turnover) and his efforts pressing through the midfield, and Saturday’s friendly against Scotland was shaping up as a statement match for Bradley. That statement: Bradley could play an even bigger part in the Klinsmann era than he did under his father.
But come full time, another statement had drowned out Michael’s, a statement we should have known was coming. After a week of pondering whether his time in the spotlight was waning, Landon Donovan rushed back center stage in a big way. With three goals and an assist, Donovan posted the third national team hat trick of his career.
His first goal may have been his toughest. At least, it required the most tenacity. On a ball in from the left, Donovan (back to goal) played a nice touch into the space right of goal, turning toward the sideline with his defender on his back. His right-footed blast from 12 yards out was blocked after Allen McGregor came aggressively off his line, but when the rebound offered Donovan a second chance, the national team’s all-time leading scorer proved unforgiving. Roofing his shot just inside the right post, Donovan put the U.S. up 1-0 in the third minute.
Two near identical second half finishes pushed Donovan’s career USMNT goal total to 49. In the 59th minute, Jermaine Jones got behind Soctland’s left back, cut a ball back toward the middle of the box for Donovan, whose right-footer found the side netting inside the far post. Five minutes later, it was more of the same, with Donovan first-timing a ball from Bradley to just inside the far post, an unstoppable finish.
And five minutes later (69′), Donovan was in on another goal, with Jones heading a cross from Donovan home for the U.S’s final goal.
Three goals and an assist should be enough to quell all speculation about Donovan’s future in Jurgen Klinsmann’s set up. While nobody saw Donovan fading from the scene any time soon, questions were being asked. Where does Landon fit, given his lack of time with the national team under Klinsmann? What does the emergence of Clint Dempsey mean for Donovan’s place in the pecking order?
Donovan’s performance undermined the idea of pecking orders. As did Michael Bradley’s and Jose Torres’s. Pecking orders are for teams that can’t accomodate more than one star. As the U.S. showed on Saturday, there’s room for more than one player to dominate. Against Scotland, Donovan just happened to be the most dominant.
Apr 24, 2014, 10:52 AM EDT
If van Gaal is appointed United boss, Jose Mourinho will have some competition for best post-match sound in the 2014/15 Premier League.
Apr 24, 2014, 9:59 AM EDT
For Chelsea, the Liverpool match represents, well, a headache, apparently.
Apr 24, 2014, 9:17 AM EDT
So bad you have to see it. That’s the only was to describe Spain’s official World Cup anthem.
Apr 24, 2014, 8:08 AM EDT
Where, exactly, Moyes’ future lies next is a topic of some debate.
Apr 24, 2014, 12:36 AM EDT
Mariano Pavone’s first half goal in Toluca delivered La Maquina a record-breaking title.
Apr 23, 2014, 11:56 PM EDT
The Red Bulls’ slow start is quickly becoming a distant memory as New York posted a 4-0 win over visiting Houston.
Apr 23, 2014, 8:26 PM EDT
A future star makes a quick impact as Washington puts week one behind them.
Apr 23, 2014, 5:55 PM EDT
Ronaldo pronounced fit; Benzema breaks through, and Casillas stones Götze.
Apr 23, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT
Incredible plans to expand Anfield revealed, as public will now have their say:
Apr 23, 2014, 4:51 PM EDT
Tedious Tiki-Taka, counter-attacking clinic and gilt-edge chances:
Apr 23, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT
Striker’s 19th minute score gives the nine-time champions a 1-0 lead ahead of next week’s second leg.
Apr 23, 2014, 4:19 PM EDT
Find out who won the PL Player of the Week award, right here:
Apr 23, 2014, 3:36 PM EDT
Which players made the PL team of the week? Find out, right here:
Apr 23, 2014, 2:54 PM EDT
The top two remain unchanged, but there’s a major shakeup in elsewhere near the top of our weekly rankings.
Apr 23, 2014, 2:25 PM EDT
Andrew Dykstra wants to brew you a beer, and several teams have specific offerings in mind.
Apr 23, 2014, 1:42 PM EDT
The big guns will be firing for Bayern Munich and Real Madrid at the Bernabéu, and there’s plenty of ammunition on both benches if needed.
Apr 23, 2014, 1:28 PM EDT
Reports say David Moyes was “seething” at what he perceived to be an unprofessional dismissal from Manchester United.
Apr 23, 2014, 12:52 PM EDT
Bad news for England, as Januzaj is headed for a brand new Belgium kit.
Apr 23, 2014, 12:11 PM EDT
Some slots are firm, while there’s plenty to be settled in the next few weeks. Let’s take a look at whose guaranteed to make the group stage
Apr 23, 2014, 11:41 AM EDT
Speaking with Sports Illustrated’s SI Now, Donovan spent some time lauding David Moyes and lamenting his dismissal from Manchester United.
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