Los Angeles Soccer: Milton Caraglio
Landon Donovan is hopeful his second loan stint with Everton can begin in earnest Wednesday, when the Toffees take on Bolton at Goodison Park (Fox Soccer Plus, 11:55 a.m.).
The Galaxy's captain, who enjoyed a memorable stint two years ago with the Liverpool-based club, is with Everton until Feb. 25, when he'll join L.A.'s preparations for the 2012 Major League Soccer season.
He began training Friday with the Toffees' first team and was eligible to play in Sunday's victory at West Bromwich Albion, although he did not dress for the match.
“I was a little disappointed that I couldn't play on New Year's Day, but that's just the way it goes,” Donovan said in a interview video posted on Everton's website. “But it's nice to be here and start training, and my hope is that I'll feet fit enough and ready and the manager wants to use me against Bolton. It would be nice to start back at Goodison and get going.”
Donovan was revelatory his first tenure with the Toffees, quickly emerging as a fan favorite with a player-of-the-month performance right after arriving on a 10-week loan in January 2010. He scored twice and assisted three more goals in eight league appearances, winning acclaim throughout the English Premier League.
He said arriving at Everton last week was “a little bit like Christmas morning” and that social media, especially Twitter, had enabled him to continue a dialogue with many among the club's fans.
“I follow [Everton] kind of like a die-hard fan now,” Donovan said. “I can't always watch every game, but as many games as I can, I watch, and keeping in touch with some of the guys is nice. I feel like it's a part of me now, and I don't think that's ever going to go away.”
Donovan's first stint wrapped up with a superb goal in a victory over Hull City, with Jack Rodwell carrying him to the corner so he could be saluted by supporters -- captain Phil Neville leading the charge -- who chanted, “USA! USA!”
Donovan called it a “fantastic memory.”
It was hardly the kind of performance Chivas USA was looking for, but sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. And the Goats were more than lucky Saturday night, pulling out a wild 3-2 triumph at New England, a result that easily could have gone the other way.
Alejandro Moreno, making his first start since returning from Copa America, netted two goals, Nick LaBrocca added a goal and an assist and goalkeeper Dan Kennedy added to his growing legend with two sensational saves as Chivas (7-8-8) held on after the Revolution (4-10-9) twice carved a two-goal deficit in half, the last time in the 86th minute.
“We're happy for the three points, but it wasn't good enough,” Chivas coach Robin Fraser told ESPNLosAngeles.com afterward. “The way we played the game and the way we finished the game was not good enough. [I was unhappy with] our inability to close out the game once we went up, 3-1. He should have been able to close out in a slightly more comfortable fashion.
“For us to get to the lofty goals we've set for ourselves, we need to be able to close out a game like that.”
Chivas did well finishing their chances -- they put just four shots on goal, three of those hitting the nets -- but struggled to create. New England had far more opportunities but did little with them, and Revs coach Steve Nicol complained to the media afterward that he “could have been standing here with a 6- or 7-3 victory.” He wasn't lying.
The Revolution missed at least two, maybe three can't-miss opportunities, and Kennedy made two massive stops on Shalrie Joseph, both to preserve one-goal advantages.
French midfielder Laurent Courtois, who came on in the second half for the Goats, was one of three debutants, along with New England's new Designated Player, Milton Caraglio, and spiky-haired 16-year-old Diego Fagundez.
The teen made the biggest impact among the three, winning the penalty for Joseph's 69th-minute finish from the spot (on a Heath Pearce foul at the top of the box; the Goats thought he dived) and scoring in the 86th (after rookie Zarek Valentin misjudged and then misplayed a long ball from Kevin Alston).
Moreno scored from a superb LaBrocca feed in the 31st and from a nifty four-pass sequence in the 80th. LaBrocca finished his own rebound in the 59th.
“[Moreno] was a huge plus,” Fraser said. “He was instrumental in what we were able to do today, to be on the end of dangerous opportunites” and finish them.”
A quick look at Chivas' victory:
BEST PLAYER: Kennedy has quietly risen among MLS's best netminders, and he was outstanding again -- without him, the Goats go down.