Darren Fletcher and Manchester United spent much of today chasing Landon Donovan and Everton with limited success (AP Photo).
And yeah I know he’s only on-loan from the Galaxy so he can’t exactly claim a leadership role with the Liverpool club, but Donovan was again outstanding for Everton in their landmark 3-1 win today over Manchester United.
Donovan should have put Everton up 2-1 about five minutes before halftime when a ball bounced off Wes Brown’s hand in the six-yard box and fell beautifully for Donovan – who turned, fired and whiffed on the ball with the goal yawning in front of him.
Still, the lively Donovan started the move that led to Everton’s go-ahead goal and the performance from the influential midfielder left Coach Bob Bradley suitably impressed as the U.S. Men’s National Team wrapped up the final day of training camp in Carson.
“I thought that was a good solid game from Landon,” Bradley said. “I think as a whole for Everton today it was a team effort, they have a good level of confidence of late.
“The key to the game was (Diniyar) Bilyaletdinov’s goal so quickly after Man United scored. That put the game right back on even terms and that was really important.
“That’s an interesting play,” Bradley said of Donovan’s missed opportunity for a second career Everton goal. “The ball comes in and he’s jumping for the header and it just happens to fall down behind him. But the most important thing is the team has played well down the stretch and he’s been a good solid part of the effort in every game. That’s great for him and it says a lot for his confidence and that’s what it’s all about.”
So does Bradley want Donovan to stay with Everton should an MLS lockout occur?
“I’m not going to touch that one,” he said.
BTW, Bradley has named a 20-player party for Wednesday’s game against El Salvador in Florida. Left out were Galaxy central defender Omar Gonzalez, former Galaxy goalkeeper (and the now apparently clubless) Kevin Hartman and the Philadelphia Union’s Michael Orozco.
I’ll have more from Bradley and striker Brian Ching a little later.