Game Of The Year: Landon Donovan, American Hero

In a year where soccer in America was defined by the World Cup experience, the Galaxy couldn't wait to welcome a World Cup hero home.

In a year where soccer in America was defined by the World Cup experience, the Galaxy couldn't wait to welcome a World Cup hero home.

The 2010 Los Angeles Galaxy team featured Landon Donovan at captain in his sixth year with the Galaxy, five internationals with national team experience, including former English captain David Beckham, and an MVP candidate in Edson Buddle. To say expectations were high would be an understatement.  After last year’s team came within penalty kicks of the MLS Cup, Galaxy fans were foaming at the mouth for a chance to raise silverware for the first time in five years.

 

Winning the Supporters Shield, and making a Western Conference final appearance, the season can’t be called a disappointment, but certainly fans were expecting the more prestigious title of the MLS Cup.  Still, the season was defined by outstanding performances. Edson Buddle scored 17 goals, and was a hat trick by Chris Wondolowski on the final day of competition away from taking the Golden Boot. Landon Donovan, who has traditionally been a source of goals, took a step back and took on more of a feeder role, tallying up 16 assists.

The Galaxy game of the year featured a Buddle goal, a Donovan assist, and Juninho’s first of two goals; both goals being game winners. The Galaxy welcomed back Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle to the team after a country rousing performance in the World Cup, and 27,000 fans were on hand to give them a hero’s treatment.  The Galaxy tallied their first goal in the 19’, as Edson Buddle’s head met a Landon Donovan cross. Then just after half time, Juninho struck what would turn out to be the game winner from about five yards outside the box. It was a Fourth of July to remember, as the Galaxy would go on to win 3-1.

 

It was a game that was just as much pomp as circumstance, with a fireworks show starting just after the final whistle. Donovan cemented his position as national hero, and Buddle continued his coming out party as soccer fans around the country started to take notice of the striker’s ability. The rest of the league took notice that the Galaxy weren’t going to need any time working the two national team members into the fold; this team was ready to win now.

Honorable Mentions

September 11 (Galaxy 3, Columbus Crew 1): In a battle of number 1 teams, and with the Galaxy slumping, the team knew it needed a great game to break back into their winning ways. Buddle, Kovalenko, and Kirovski all scored, with Donovan assisting on the first two goals.

October 24 (Galaxy 2, FC Dallas 1):  The Supporter’s Shield was still on the line in this match, with both teams jockeying for playoff position. Beckham found the back of the net from outside the box, while Juninho sealed the game after halftime with a quick strike that no one saw coming.

July 22 (Galaxy 2, San Jose Earthquakes 2): A sister kisser getting honorable mention? It may seem strange, but with the Galaxy trailing on ESPN2 going into the dying embers of the game, Landon Donovan put the game on his shoulders, scoring an unassisted goal that took two points away from a heated rival, and made the team feel better about a game where they took 22 shots and had just two goals to show for it.

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