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SBI USMNT Man of the Match: Landon Donovan

Landon Donovan


During the group stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, you could have made a case for Landon Donovan as the U.S. Men’s National Team’s Man of the Match.

For the second straight knockout match, Donovan erased any doubt as to just which American player would walk away with the title of best player.

Just three days after his one goal-three assist outing in Sunday’s 5-1 win vs. El Salvador, Donovan recorded two goals and an assist in Wednesday’s 3-1 semifinal victory vs. Honduras.

Donovan stood out on a night when Alejandro Bedoya, Kyle Beckerman and Clarence Goodson all turned in strong showings against the Catrachos to book the U.S. team’s fifth straight Gold Cup appearance.

Since, once again, Donovan was the clear-cut USMNT Man of the Match, so we will ask the same question we asked after the El Salvador win. Which American player not named Landon Donovan impressed you the most vs. Honduras?

Cast your vote after the jump:


  • Kyle Beckerman
  • Alejandro Bedoya
  • Clarence Goodson
  • Eddie Johnson
  • Matt Besler
  • Stuart Holden
  • Jose Torres
  • DaMarcus Beasley
  • Nick Rimando
  • Michael Parkhurst

Who did you vote for? What player surprised you the most against Honduras?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. and I agree with the majority on other MOTM candidates. Bedoya was strong and Beckerman did a great job; so great he was kind of invisible most of the time which is good for a d-mid.

    I thought Parkhurst did well contributing to our right side attack which was devastating but his crossing wasn’t exactly sharp.

    • tough to pick Bedoya or Beckerman, they both showed really well.

      this final is a big one for Kyle to erase some demons from the 2009 final; he was quite good in that tournament too until the final. I think he’ll play great on Sunday

  2. Donovan is so much better than this level of competition when he is confident and healthy. The funny thing is when I read that the coach motivated him to this? Really? How many coaches has LD played for over his career? Probably a dozen while a pro? And with the majority of those, he has been a stud (incl David Moyes, Bob Bradley, Bruce Arena). But now it’s JK’s motivation?

    Or do we think it is more likely that the 3-4 month physical and mental rest, his first in three seasons, is responsible for this uptick in form? Klinsman had his powertrip and he got to show Donovan who’s boss. Congrats JK, you got away with your hissy fit.

    • +1 Yes, I do think it is more likely that Donovan’s sabbatical after years of non-stop dedicated service to club, loan-club and country was exactly what the doctor ordered, and in my mind at least, is the reason that Donovan’s form has returned to where it has been many times in the past, not because of Klinsmann. I know others will not agree with me on this, but I don’t think Klinsmann’s comments in May were designed to get Donovan fired up. I think Klinsmann was happy to exclude Donovan from the team and might have brought Donovan in for the Gold Cup hoping to see him fail and keep him off the team once and for all. That said, Klinsmann ain’t stoopid and I have no doubt that Klinsmann is now absolutely ecstatic with Donovan’s outstanding form and infectious attitude and hoping that Donovan can keep it at this high level through WC 2014. I think even without Donovan the USMNT can do well next summer. But with Donovan on fire like this I honest to gosh think we can make it to the semifinals.

      • Yes, and I give a lot of credit (grudgingly) to JK for his construction of an offensive formation that works. He can’t coach defense a whit but the guy can put together an attack plan that frees up his skill players to succeed. It took forever to get Jozy freed up without LD in the lineup but he did it and we have to give him credit for that.

      • Actually because I can’t stand the look on his smug face. I’ve always detested him since he played. I was ambivalent about him being named coach of the Nats and at first it looked to be a disaster. Now, it looks like it’s improving. So…grudgingly. Cheers.

      • Actually it is because I can’t stand the look on his smug face. I’ve always detested him since he played. However, his coaching looks to be improving.

        Thus, ‘grudgingly’.

      • I’ll go along with grudgingly, And I will also say that per comments from players in various places, I think that JK has let the attack alone and focused on the defense. I think the resurgence in attacking is not only the return of Donovan, but the fact that JK has let him run it. (Can’t find it right now, but there is a Beckerman quote to the effect that JK only coaches the back line and the hold mid) A year and a half f horrid formations have left plenty of reasonable suspicions behind…

    • I haven’t been the biggest supporter of JK, until recently. I agree that Donovan’s time off probably had as much or more to do with his current play than anything Klinsmann did to motivate him. However, the A team just swept 9 points in qualifying without Donovan and the B+ team is blowing away competition in the Gold Cup with Donovan. JK deserves credit for getting results. After all we’ve seen over the last few months, call his handling of the situation a hissy fit is just sour grapes.

      • Agreed (see my comment above). Good points, Smacking.

        Although I still think it was punk power play by JK. Cheers!

      • Looks like we posted at about the same time. Yes, my earlier dislike of JK was that I thought he played head games. Winning cures all!

      • Hey Smacking, pls see my post below to HoboMike. I agree, the team is performing great and JK deserves credit for getting results. That said, I remain unrepentant for my Jurgen bashing last autumn and earlier this year because he was not doing a good job and the team was in turmoil. I am not the only one on SBI who believes that the the story in March was a big factor in turning things around. it is clear to me Klinsmann took it to heart and everyone, including players, cleared the air and changes were made and we are now seeing the result.

    • Unabashed Donovan lover! Pretty sure it wasn’t a hissy fit. Pretty sure it was a good coach who knows more than you doing what he can to get the best out of everyone. I’m also 100% positive that JK excluded Donovan not to send a message to him, but to send a message to the rest of the team that no one is safe. They couldn’t have been happy with his decision to skip the March quailfiers, no matter what they publicly said, and by excluding Donovan, JK let his players know that he rewards those who are always available.

      It’s no accident that since he took the hard line stance, we are 10-1.

      And cue biff’s obligatory bash of Timothy Chandler.

      • I give him credit for the results. Well, him and the longest line of cream puff opponents in history. but yeah, he’s got the team humming along well now.

        I’m an LD fan but I am not unreasonable but we’ll just have to disagree that JustKidding had anything to do with LDs form.

      • I’ll give Bruce Arena and the Galaxy credit, and Klinnsman too but for different reasons.

        The Galaxy supported LD’s sabbatical with love. the USMNT moved on without him. Both have worked out.

        Seems to me Klinnsman was happy to move on without LD and if LD returned great, if not, great. And now is happy to play with him.

        I give LD the most credit and he has proved that his time off was MORE than warranted. He was right

      • Gee Whiz, HoboMike. You are comparing apples and oranges. I made absolutely no reference whatsoever about Klinsmann’s current tactics, which I agree with you are fantastic and producing some of the best soccer ever for the USMNT. I was referring only to Donovan’s current great form. Yes, Landy-Cakes is displaying his form in a system managed by Klinsmann. But nonetheless Donovan is still the one out on the field performing like — should I say it? heck, why not — performing like a world-class soccer player and those performances are coming all from within Landon Donovan not from Jurgen Klinsmann.

      • Moderation Repost

        Gee Whiz, HoboMike. You are comparing apples and oranges. I made absolutely no reference whatsoever about Klinsmann’s current tactics, which I agree with you are fantastic and producing some of the best soccer ever for the USMNT. I was referring only to Donovan’s current great form. Yes, Landy-Cakes is displaying his form in a system managed by Klinsmann. But nonetheless Donovan is still the one out on the field performing like — should I say it? heck, why not — performing like a world-cl@ss soccer player and those performances are coming all from within Landon Donovan not from Jurgen Klinsmann.

      • “And cue biff’s obligatory bash of Timothy Chandler.”

        @HoboMike: Who’s Timothy Chandler, anyway? Never heard of him. I just scanned the match reports for the past 13 games back through March hoping to find someone named Timothy Chandler, so I could learn a bit about him. But, alas, came up with nothing. But I did notice that in the last 13 games the USMNT has won 11 games, tied Mexico in Azteca, and lost to a very good Belgium team.

  3. When will CONCACAF learn to assign Refs from outside the region! Klinsmann was right to lose it, they were hacking our players down.

  4. Mexico apparently thinks Lando’s playing so well that they lost in the semis just to avoid losing 2-0 in the final on two Donovan goals.

    • USA would have smoked Mexico in the finals, too bad we will never get to see if we would have won by 3 or 5. Panama will be a bit trickier as Quintero may give parkhursts/beasley fits. US should still take advantage of their own attacking acumen. It’s the US’s game to lose.

      • Panama clear #2 team so far in the tourney, the only team brought here that is a clear challenge to USA. This will play more like a qualifier than the rest of the games to this point. I look for a lot of back and forth and the USA will need to show some defending chops to come out with the trophy- though we may be able to outscore em 5-3 or something as well.

  5. Beckerman really impressed me tonight.

    Beckerman has never impressed me prior to tonight. I felt like he went after the game and defensively was every bit as hungry and focused as LD.

    • Really the last 2 games, he’s played his role great….
      The discussion about him and this tourney is a complete and separate one from the senior team…
      For this tourney he’s done very well

      • 2nd that. He is great at this level. B team Concacaf is his place to shine. He isn’t quick enough for the big time A team matches, but in this tourny he has been great.

    • O Beckerman! I was just thinking during the match that he was having another good effort, a lot of hustle and strength. And then the next thing I see him do is dribble the ball straight out on the touch line. Klinsmann yanked him out not too much longer after that, although I think Mix should have come in for Holden instead, since a) Holden was getting beat in the face and I still don’t trust those knees on that uneven surface they had in Cowboys Stadium and b) Beckerman was playing well.

    • That’s Beckerman’s game. He does the dirty work and creates space for the others around him to make plays. I was happy to see JK pull Beckerman and Donovan out so they could get some rest for Sunday.

      • He defended better last night than he did against El Salvador, and it showed in the reduced chances. When our #6s are paying attention to defense (like agianst Panama in Seattle with Cameron) it is very difficult to score on USA in run of play because of the good goalkeeping and strength in air by CBs

  6. I used to think that Donovan would have to be long gone before he is fully appreciated. Cursing around the web this Gold Cup has made me happily wrong.

  7. This team is showing us a preview of who the up and comers will be for the 2018 World Cup Cycle. 2018 cycle will be very interesting in how the newer folks will get incorporate and which veterans to keep around. Stuart, Mixx, and Shea are going to be the future in midfield.

    • Don’t forget Bradley, who although he has played a LOT more games for the US is younger than Stew and just two years older than Shea and three years older than Mixx. I think we see another 10 years out of him: he is going to be like a bald Pirlo.

      • Right. Not yet. Pirlo wasn’t PIRLO when he was 25 either(9 yeas ago! that’s 2004!).He was a solid mid with fits of excellence. I would say MB is that right now and Bradley is positioned well to do grow like Pirlo if his national team mid partner can stop holding him back and let him use his creativity.

        It is very possible that 2018 will be Bradley’s best world cup.

        As long as we are talking 2018, Omar, Orozco and Jozy will all be in prime as well as Guzan. Heck it would not be unheard of for a 39 year old Howard to still be in international form and that;s if Johnson or any of the other young keepers don’t develop beyond these guys. Besler, Zusi Dempsey all still could be in the mix as well as any of the younger guys under the radar or in Philadelphia with the Union.

        Just keep developing em, and keep JK happy.

  8. So obviously the debate now begins…
    – Do you go back to a rested Corona to start the right wing?
    – Do you stick with Jose on the left?
    Or does Bedoya get a start for either?….(Let the games begin….)

    I think this debate now takes the place of the central midfield debate thats been taking place the last 2 weeks, I think Beckerman is 100% to start, and Stu about 99% to start with him

    I dont know what to think about Gonzo coming in.. but I gotta think, all these games, going into a Championship game.. I cant see him switching anyone on the backline

    • I agree he probably needs to stick with the backline, although Parkhurst kills me going forward, clearly he isn’t the long term answer at RB.

      The answer to your first question is that Bedoya needs to be the first wing on the starting sheet. I’d play him out right as he sure seemed comfortable there today. Jose is yet to do much to impress in this tournament. If Shea weren’t so inconsistent I would drop him. I think you keep today’s starting lineup unless Holden’s body can’t handle it. Then you straight swap him for Disk. Bring on Panama.

      • 1. Dont’t change anything from Beckerman on back. We pretty much all agree on that.

        2.If it weren’t the final, I would like to see Corona in the middle in Stu’s place. (Stu defends well, but I think Corona can too and I think Corona could play the link up game- but the final is no place for experiment and if that was a good example)

        3. I can’t leave Corona out, but agree Bedoya played the wing with more aplumb. Torres is just good enough to stay, and you kind of need that left foot of his on free kicks unless you are going to let Beasley take them (which is fairly unorthodx since he is usually the FB on set pieces). So Torres plays. Corona plays. Stu plays. Stinks too, because I like Bedoya’s wing play.

        4. I want to see Wondo start so that EJ doesn;t look so sluggish late on. I would pre plan a half time sub and tell those two to run all day.

  9. The most balanced attack I can ever remember from a USMNT. Not sure it is meaningful to stack-rank behind Donovan, there were no poor or even below-average performances from the rest of the starting IX. Every player in every part of the field complemented the rest. The only one who underperformed was Shea. If the mark of a great coach is picking the right players then getting the most out of them, the real MoTM here was Klinsmann.

    I would not want to be Panama or Mexico having to design a way to stop this US attack.

  10. I liked Bedoya, Beckerman and Torres in that order. Best complete game ever for Eddy Johnson, and he didn’t even score. He was solid as well.

    • EJ burned out really quickly and I was a bit concerned at the “going through the motions” effort once he really got gassed.

      He’s definitely a step above Wondo in almost every respect outside of hustle.

      • I agree, why did he get so tired? He did make a lot of runs in the first half. I’m tempted to split the game between he and Wondo so both can put in the effort they prefer during their time on the pitch. Both have earned playing time in the final as well, though i think EJ showed clearly superior to Wondo since joining the squad.

    • Not sure who Eddy Johnson is, but she doesn’t sound too hot.

      Eddie Johnson did score a goal and is a GROWN A$$ MAN

  11. Some people are calling Bedoya’s performance uneven and saying he had some turnovers, but I think Klinsmann’s made it clear that he’d rather have players that try things and make mistakes than try and play a conservative, mistake-free game. I bet Klinsi appreciated his night.

    • Bedoya was awesome, he is much more creative, active and dangerous than Corona. I’ve been asking for him in place of Corona all tournament. He is the better winger, no question about it. Corona is too slow to play wide, he needs to play in the center. Unfortunately for him, the US is already stack in the center of the park.

      • Don’t get ahead of yourself. Bedoya was just in the right place at the right time for one touch passes. He was the recipient of some good service.

      • Bedoya was good, but Crona has been impressive as well. I am not seeing a player who is to slow, where are you getting this. Im certain he is faster than Torres who is doing fine out left. And yes I know he plays centrally for his club, but he is obviously comfortable and efficient out wide for the USMNT.

      • I would like to see Corona in the middle, thought we would see that all tournament. I think he takes any of Stu’s chances equally as well last night at worst. And I like Stu too. Bedoya is creative and showed good hustle going forward last night, but is not as good all around as Corona. IMO

      • Bedoya is faster than Corona and arguably better defensively, but Corona is a more creative player, whose natural position is CAM rather than RM.

  12. If you didn’t know any better, the “SBI USMNT Man of the Match: Landon Donovan” appears to be a weekly fixture on this site.

    Also, is anyone else incredibly excited about the potential team up of Jozy, Donovan, Dempsey, Bradley up front? This could be a pretty potent attack and thats without fully knowing who of Fabian Johnson or Graham Zusi will be moved from LM/RM to make room.

    Disclaimer: I know that we are playing and beating convincingly the minnows of our region, but that being said, this is not a gimmick style. This is a possession based, pass dominated style that usually prevails against better teams as well.

    • “If you didn’t know any better, the “SBI USMNT Man of the Match: Landon Donovan” appears to be a weekly fixture on this site.”

      Beat me to it. I was going to say that we might as well copy and paste this for this weekend.

    • Just to clarify your comment about the competition level. We are beating comparatively “minnows” of the world, but not of our region. Costa Rica and Honduras are probably the 3 and 4 best teams most years in the Concacaf. Other than Mexico and USA, they are the next best teams.

  13. I thought EJ was just a beast tonight. Got the goal early, and just kept working. Fighting for balls, winning balls in the air, active in the middle and on the sidelines.

    • He was great. I think he ran out of gas in the last 25 minutes, but he was great for the better part of the game, making a case for himself being on the plane to Brazil.

    • Is anyone else thinking that Altidore and Eddie up front together might create some of the magic we had when Altidore was up front with Charlie Davies,

      • I would definitely be interested in seeing this pairing. A speed/hold up duo is nice, plus it would add some of that old swag back to the USMNT.

    • A proud father who knows how to push his players.

      Something far too many on this website lost sight of and piled on as if they knew more about the game than he did. That’s a part of managing…knowing what buttons to push and how to light a fire for each individual player.

      JK is certainly starting to put his stamp on this team and tactics, and style aside…I think the primary thing is mentality and that’s always the hardest to change for a team set in their ways with respectable success.

      JK isn’t satisfied with a one goal, two goal or even three goal lead. He’s teaching these guys how to be ruthless and not take things for granted….INCLUDING THEIR JOBS.

      A manager proving once again he’s forgotten more soccer than we’ll ever know.

      • Couldn’t agree with you more. With the older players especially at the highest level of soccer there is little in the way of technical development the manager can do for a player. What he can do is bring the best out in them and it sure seems JK is doing that very well. He has told them to be creative and take calculated chances and it is paying off. It is also just a blast to watch. So much more exciting than it was a few years ago.

      • Maybe, just maybe, our all time best player knew what he needed and what he needed was a break? I’ll give some credit for how JK handled it (but let’s admit it was a high risk strategy in some sense) and Donovan is having his best international run since he was a kid. But can we also credit Donovan for some self-knowledge? He knew what he needed, he took the time and the risk, and now he’s playing great. I

      • I was going to on, realized I had made my point and incompletely removed the final sentence. But since you like it, that may be how I will sign off all posts from now on!

      • Though I would like to give credit to kilnsi, it’s dishonest. It doesn’t feel as good or rah rah, but well said. You are clearly right, kilnsi didn’t do this, Donovan did.

      • Just saying, as a fan, it feels better to say your captain kilnsi is in command…. But not true, at least here. I was lying to myself : )

      • That’s a misrepresentation. I was a part of that crowd and the outcry was that Klinsmann was calling in clearly inferior players to prove a point, a point that very well could have cost us valuable Hex points.

        Donovan, even then in his “out of form” condition, was definitely good enough to make the squad for the qualifiers. That was the issue.

        Klinsmann was vindicated by the team’s performance, but that doesn’t make him universally correct in all decisions. There’s no reason to think Donovan wouldn’t have played just as well without this “fire” lit under him. He’s a quality player. He always has been.

      • I agree with your post except for “Klinsmann was vindicated by the team’s performance”. Mexico’s horrible finishing, snow in Denver and an absolute defensive brain fart by Jamaica (with not a single of the four defenders in from of him closing) saved JK’s job.

        The freshness and liveliness of the attack with Donovan orchestrating if anything suggests that we could have used him sooner, even in a limited role.

        I suspect you agree with me on all points…

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