MLS: Galaxy into orbit thanks to Donovan (+video)
Who needs David Beckham when you’ve got Landon Donovan? Despite the publicity and interest which the former England captain brings to Major League Soccer (MLS) and to his club, it is the all-American hero Landon Donovan who is helping Los Angeles Galaxy maintain their strong position at the top of the league in the absence of Beckham.
Not only do the Galaxy have a healthy nine point lead at the top of the Western Conference standings but they also appear on course to win the MLS Supporters Shield, the trophy given to the team with the best regular season record in the whole of the league after thirty games. Eastern Conference leaders Columbus Crew, who have the second best record in the league at the moment, are eight points worse off although they do have a game in hand on the Galaxy. Nonetheless with the league’s meanest defence – only eight goals conceded – and the second best attack having scored one goal less than Real Salt Lake (28 goals) then it is clear that the Galaxy are there as the team to beat in MLS this season and Donovan has been instrumental to their success.
Donovan has the best stats in the Major League for assists and “game-winning” assists plus he has chipped in with two goals of his own this season. The latest of which came in the Galaxy’s 2-1 win away at DC United on Sunday night. The league’s top-scorer Edson Buddle kept up his good form by giving LA Galaxy the lead seven minutes before half-time and his goal separated the two teams at half-time. Then Andy Najar equalized for DC United in the 54th minute but this only brought about a reaction from the Galaxy who, just three minutes later, dispossessed United in midfield and, having worked their way into the box, won a penalty kick thanks to a handball. The resulting penalty was dispatched by Donovan who was back in the team having missed the previous match away at New England Revolution, a game which the Galaxy lost 2-0 and recorded only their second defeat in MLS this season. The other defeat came one day before the FIFA World Cup kicked off in South Africa as Galaxy lost 1-0 against Real Salt Lake; Donovan didn’t play in that game either.
The standings in the Western Conference show LA Galaxy with 39 points after seventeen games, their nearest challengers for the Conference title being the defending MLS champions Real Salt Lake who are nine points adrift but have a game in hand. In the Eastern Conference Columbus Crew top the standings with thirty one points from sixteen games, five ahead of Thierry Henry’s new club New York Red Bulls.
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS OF DC UNITED V LA GALAXY HERE: