GALAXY: Donovan shines, Keane debuts
January, 14, 2012
By Scott French | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC/Getty ImagesLandon Donovan's manager thought Donovan was the best player on the pitch.Landon Donovan was atop his game and Robbie Keane made his return to the English Premier League as the Galaxy teammates contributed to their sides in Everton's 1-1 draw Saturday at Aston Villa.
Donovan, the Galaxy captain, set up Victor Anichebe's 69th-minute equalizer to cap his best performance since joining Everton on loan two weeks ago, and he should have had another assist on a superb first-half cross for Louis Saha.
Keane, making his Aston Villa debut after his loan deal from the Galaxy was finalized Thursday, came on in the 81st minute for Stephen Warnock and was energetic up front as he searched in vain for a late winner.
Donovan again started on the right flank but moved to the left side when Anichebe replaced Royston Drenthe in the 61st minute. He brilliantly fed Anichebe following a lengthy run, cutting in from the left and pushing the ball past four Villa defenders to leave the Nigerian forward one-on-one with goalkeeper Shay Given.
Darren Bent had given Aston Villa a 56th-minute lead.
Almost as nice was Donovan's sprint down the right wing in the 23rd minute to collect Tim Cahill's pass and the first-time curling cross into the goalmouth that Saha, pulled by Villa defender Alan Hutton, couldn't get his head onto. Saha probably deserved a penalty, but referee Mark Clattenburg let it go.
“I thought Landon was the best player on the pitch today,” Everton manager David Moyes told media. “He has come over here from Galaxy, completed the full 90 minutes, and it is a testament to the professional he is.”
Keane, hoping to match Thierry Henry's loan-stint opener Monday at Arsenal -- the Frenchman came off the bench to score the lone goal -- probed Everton's backline for crevices but couldn't find the ball in open space.
“Robbie has not played for two or three weeks,” Villa manager Alex McLeish said. “He has come across the big pond and only trained for a few days. He is not going to be 100 percent after that short period ... but Robbie did well when he came on, and I hope he can make an impact.”
Everton (7-10-4) climbed from 11th to 10th in the English Premier League standings, and Aston Villa (5-7-9) moved from 14th to 12th.
UPDATE (5 p.m.): Keane tells the Sunday Mirror that he is not looking to make his loan to Aston Villa more permanent.
“Come back permanently? No. I am quite happy in the MLS,” the Irish striker told the British tabloid. “I have really enjoyed the three months I have had there so far. It is a great lifestyle out there for the family. It’s nice to have the opportunity to come back for a couple of months, but when that ends, I am looking forward to getting back with the Galaxy.
“I was having the time off that I wanted, but then I got some phone calls, and when one of them was from Villa, it was a club I felt immediately I would be comfortable with, because of the people I already know there.”
- LANDON DONOVAN
Jan. 1: at West Bromwich Albion (W, 1-0)
Did not dress
Jan. 4: vs. Bolton (L, 1-2)
Started, 90 minutes
Jan. 7: F.A. Cup third round vs. Tamworth (W, 2-0)
Started, 90 minutes, one assist (Heitinga)
Jan. 11: at Tottenham (L, 0-2)
Started, 90 minutes, yellow card
Jan. 14: at Aston Villa (T, 1-1)
Started, 90 minutes, one assist (Anichebe)
Jan. 21 vs. Blackburn
Jan. 28 F.A. Cup fourth round vs. Fulham
Feb. 1 vs. Manchester City
Feb. 4 at Wigan Athletic
Feb. 11 vs. Chelsea
Feb. 18 F.A. Cup round of 16 (prospective)
Feb. 25 at Liverpool
- ROBBIE KEANE
GAME BY GAME
Jan. 14: vs. Everton (T, 1-1)
81st-minute substitute for Warnock
Jan. 21 at Wolverhampton
Jan. 29 FA Cup fourth round at Arsenal
Feb. 1 vs. Queens Park Rangers
Feb. 5 at Newcastle United
Feb. 12 vs. Manchester City
Feb. 18 FA Cup round of 16 (potential)
Feb. 25 at Wigan Athletic