*Post updated (but American goalkeeper Tim Howard upstaged both Galaxy players today – see more below).
It’s the MLS offseason and David Beckham and Landon Donovan are nonetheless making headlines here and in Europe.
Galaxy fans are still awaiting a decision from Beckham on his next move - and it’s pretty clear what the popular sentiment is - while Donovan hopes to repeat his success of two years ago with Everton and could make his EPL debut of the season today against Bolton Wanderers (noon Fox Soccer Plus).
Everton isn’t the team it was two years ago and Donovan too may have lost a step as he closes in on 30, but it appears Galaxy fans will be as much behind the MLS club’s most influential player as they were then. My guess: Donovan will come on as a second half sub while the cautious David Moyes, the Everton manager, sizes up his match fitness.
And, after all, the drama is tiding us over until MLS camps open later this month.
It’s Newcastle United-Manchester United at noon on Fox Soccer for those of you without the premium channel, BTW.
Donovan got the start for Everton today – and he’s wearing the #9 shirt.
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Donovan, Neville, Heitinga, Osman, Stracqualursi, Saha. Subs: Mucha, Bilyaletdinov, McFadden, Cahill, Gueye, Rodwell, Anichebe.
Bolton: Bogdan, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Ricketts, Mark Davies, Muamba, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Eagles, Ngog. Subs: Lynch, Robinson, Sanli, Kevin Davies, Klasnic, Pratley, Wheater.
Diving Donovan? I didn’t think so – and replays appeared to agree, – but Bolton defender Sam Ricketts wanted to make sure Landon Donovan didn’t make a meal of the opportunity and draw a spot kick today in England (AP Photos).
Landon Donovan got the attention, but it was American goalkeeper Tim Howard – yeah, Howard – who got his name on the scoresheet for Everton against Bolton today in game played in howling wind and incessant rain that saw the Toffees succumb to Wanderers, 2-1.
From the hour or so I saw over lunch Donovan slotted right in to an Everton team desperate for an attacking spark and almost drew a penalty just before the end of the first half. Replays were inconclusive, however, and proved the ref was right in not giving Everton the spot kick.
Donovan played the entire 90 minutes and was a constant threat for Everton playing in a wide and withdrawn role.
Sticky proposition: Bolton and Sam Ricketts found Donovan a handful tonight in England, although Wanderers ultimately prevailed against the Toffees despite a Tim Howard goal.