In my last post here three months ago I was lamenting our team’s lackluster performance and advocating the sale of our best player as the remedy. I took some heat for that suggestion. With his move up to striker, Donovan did his best to prove me an idiot. And I have to admit, both he and the team were pretty successful at it.
So much has changed over the past few months. Having Omar back and Landon up top gave our boys a new sharpness. Oddly enough, our biggest problem became where to put Beckham, not how to make every other part of the team work. And as disappointing as the start of the season was, the MLS Cup often goes home not with the team who started the strongest, but the one who was reaching its nadir at the close of the season (just ask Colorado).
I am typically on optimistic fan. The Galaxy’s transformation fueled my feeling that they were the team in the ascendancy. With a string of convincing performances, my title hopes were reignited. But we have not looked so good for the last few games, which leads me to question whether our guys still have the mentality to grab the cup again.
Then, in the depths of my despair, I came across this: http://soccernet.espn.go.com/blog/_/name/espnfcunited/id/1276?cc=5901. Our captain publicly saying he’s not even sure he has the desire to play anymore, that he might not even be at next year’s world cup.
Let me be clear. Landon Donovan is the best player on our team. He has long been one of my favorite players in the world. I am thankful for all he has done for our team. His presence on the pitch still makes a difference for us. When he gets on the field, he goes out to win. I am not critical of him nor disapproving of his comments.
But it does make me look back to my post three months ago and wonder if we missed an opportunity. Much as we fans like to hang on to good players, most successful mid-level European teams would tell you that the game is all about finding young talent for cheap, developing them, and then selling high. I don’t know if Everton was knocking, but it seems to me that a $10M transfer fee for Donovan would not have been out of the question back then. It seems unlikely we would get that now. My view three months ago, as now, is not that Landon is bad. It is that he has done what he came here to do and it is time for him to move on to new things. I would have been happy to cheer for him at Everton and Alessandro Del Piero here. Based on Landon’s recent comments, I think we all might have been better off in the end.
So maybe we held onto a high card hoping for a flush that never materialized. Maybe we held em when we should have folded. But the season isn’t over yet and we still have a fighting chance. As my Dad always taught me, there will be time enough for counting when the dealing is done. Hopefully the chips still fall our way on the 1st.