To my surprise, both LA Galaxy defectors got some decent playing time this weekend. No, their European adventures are not merely exercises in brand development, product endorsement, shirt sales and/or possible reconnaissance for new porn starlets (Donovan has a career behind the camera on some dodgy VW van sex series, doesn't he?), but they're actually in Germany and Italy to have an impact for their respective teams.
We'll brush aside the semantics of "impact", considering both teams are already loaded to the brim with talent and are settling in for the usual title chases in their respective leagues, but if we make an analogy to ice cream, well, one more chocolate chip can't hurt, can
So how did they do?
At the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, Bayern beat Dubai's Al Jazeera FC 3-2 in a friendly, and Landy got a full 90 minutes, setting up two goals and generally impressing the guy who should be managing the US Men's Team immensely. "Landon has class," was all Klinsmann really had to say, but that's alright, as we have video!
(Yes, that's Donovan with the final pass to Bastian Schweinsteiger)
He was fouled in the 2nd half, winning a free-kick that Daniel Van Buyten put away for their 2nd goal, and he was one of only two players to get a full game. Not bad, Landy, not bad. I give you six weeks until you get homesick due to never seeing the pitch during games of actual consequence.
Meanwhile, in Italy, Beckham's Milan fought hard against Roma for a 2-2 draw, and while Beckham's performance was tidy, it was really all about Pato. As Paolo Bandini reflects, Pato got both goals and Becks' input was largely limited to the occasional cross and/or corner.
However, shades of rust were evident as he gave the ball away more than anyone else on the pitch (tied with the also-ran Clarence Seedorf for 13, um, giveaways? New soccer stats are frightening) and was outranked by Ronaldinho for the honour of taking most of the juicy free-kicks around the box. Still, Ancelotti surprised everyone by giving Beckham the start while Flamini languished on the bench, but overall, an encouraging start for him too.
Still, all this buzz about Landon in Germany and David in Italy only serves to reinforce one essential thing: one of 'em certainly isn't returning to Los Angeles on time, and the other may well have finally gotten over their previous European malaise to give it another try.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Err, David? Don't squeeze him too hard, he's the valuable one!