Donovan misses Everton farewell game with illness, returns to California.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Thursday, February 23, 2012) -- United States midfielder Landon Donovan is back in California where the Los Angeles Galaxy has begun preparations for the fast approaching Major League Soccer season, but he left a piece of his heart with Everton of the English Premier League.
For the second time, Donovan completed a highly successful loan term with Everton, but this time he was denied a farewell from the appreciative home fans. After battling the flu for a week, he was forced to sit out his finale in England, the Toffees' 2-0 victory over visiting Blackpoool in the fifth round of the FA Cup before 38,347 at Goodison Park.
"I don't think my agent would appreciate me saying that (Everton) is the only club I'd come back to, probably lose some leverage in the negotiations, but I can't imagine ever playing anywhere else," Donovan, who has two years left on his contract with the Galaxy, told the Everton web site. "There's something magical about this club that captures you from the minute you step into Goodison and doesn't let you go."
Last week, Donovan was honored as Everton's "Player of the Month" for January after assisting on five of the team's eight goals.
"Landon's been great all round, he's contributed in every area, on the pitch and off the pitch, he's fitted in really well," Everton manager David Moyes told the club's web site. "He's been a great ambassador for American football players and I'm sure everyone will look at him and say he's been excellent in the time he's been here."
American defender Tim Ream's move from MLS to the Premier League's Bolton Wanderers is now complete. For the past three weeks, Ream has waited for the paperwork to get done, for his international clearance to arrive and, most importantly, for his work permit to be approved and finalized.
In the victory over Blackpool, U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard made five saves for Everton to earn his clean sheet. American keeper Marcus Hahnemann backed Howard up.
All that has been done and last weekend, Ream made his debut, playing 90 minutes in a 2-0 FA Cup victory over Millwall of the second-tier League Championship.
Ream played well on the back-line, making good stops and clearing passes and, at times, working his way into the attack.
Elsewhere in the FA Cup, American goalkeeper Brad Friedel and many of Tottenham Hotspur's normal starters were on the bench. Carlo Cudicini got the call in net, but Spurs badly underperformed played a scoreless draw with Stevenage of the third-division League One, forcing a replay.
Cudicini made seven saves.
U.S. defender Jonathan Spector did not start, but ended up playing 78 minutes Saturday for Birmingham City, a member of the League Championship, in a 1-1 draw with the Premier League's Chelsea to cause another replay.
American midfielder Robbie Rogerssuffered a concussion just minutes after making his Leeds United debut in a 3-2 FA Cup triumph over Doncaster Rovers in a meeting of League Championship foes.
Rogers came off the bench in the 79th minute, but 11 minutes later suffered a concussion after knocking heads with Doncaster defender Tommy Spurr. Rogers was taken to the hospital for evaluation.
A few Americans started their week last Thursday in the first leg of the first elimination round (Round of 32) in Europe's second-tier Europa League.
In a series between employers of Americans, AZ Alkmaar of the Netherlands registered consecutive 1-0 victories over RSC Anderlecht of Belgium for a 2-0 aggregate victory
In the first match, U.S. striker Jozy Altidore came off the bench in the 76th minute for host AZ. Tonight, he also served as a reserve, entering in the 44th minute of a road match.
On the losing side, U.S. midfielder Sacha Kljestan went the distance for Anderlecht in the opener, then was relieved after 54 minutes of the finale.
German-American midfielder Jermaine Jones is in the midst of an eight match suspension in the German Bundesliga, but he is not suspended from Europa League play. He went the distance for Schalke 04 in a 1-1 road draw with Viktoria Plzen of the Czech Republic. In the second leg tonight, Schalke advanced with a 3-1 triumph at home, but Jones did not dress.
U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo was shown a yellow card in the 71st minute for Hannover 96 of the Bundelsiga for a 2-1 home win over Club Brugge of Belgium in the opening leg
Cherundolo left the match in the 75th minute with a calf injury.
In the home leg, Hannover prevailed 1-0 for a 3-1 aggregate edge. Cherundolo did not dress.
In the English League Championship action, U.S. striker Robbie Findley played the second half and scored a goal for Nottingham Forest in a 2-0 win Saturday over Coventry City.
Irish-American forward Conor Doyle did not dress for Derby County, which fell 4-0 Saturday to Southampton.
In England's third-division League One, American defender Frank Simek went the distance for Carlisle United, which was soundly beaten 4-0 by Brentford on Monday night.
American midfielder Anton Peterlin played the final minute Saturday for Walsall, which blanked Wycombe Wanderers 2-0.
In Scotland, Glasgow Rangers, now in reorganization and docked 10 points in the standings, played like a team going through the motions Saturday in losing 1-0 to Kilmarnock.
U.S. midfielder Maurice Edu and defender Carlos Bocanegra each went the distance with Edu shown a yellow card in Rangers' unexpected loss.
In Mexico, U.S. midfielder DaMarcus Beasley played 74 minutes for Puebla Sunday in a 2-1 loss to Morelia.
American defender Edgar Castillo and Mexican-Salvadoran-American winger Joe Corona started for Club Tijuana in a 2-0 decision over Queretaro.
Castillo went the distance and received a yellow card, while Corona played 85 minutes and also was cautioned. .
Jose Torres went 90 minutes Sunday for Pachuca in its 1-0 loss to Club America before a large crowd in Mexico City's Estadio Azteca.
American striker Herculez Gomez played the final 12 minutes for Santos Laguna in a 1-1 draw with Monterrey on Saturday.
U.S. defender Jonathan Bornstein dressed, but did not play for Tigres in a 0-0 draw with Atlas.
American defender-midfielder Michael Orozco Fiscal dressed, but did not play for San Luis in a 0-0 draw with Chivas de Guadalajara.
One American who will not be returning from abroad, at least as things now stand, is goalkeeper Luis Robles. Robles, who has been playing in Germany for Karlsruher of the 2. Bundesliga, was set to sign a deal with the New York Red Bulls where it was assumed he would compete for their starting position.
Robles, however, fell victim to MLS's byzantine player acquisition process and it was ruled Robles, whom had once played for the U.S. men and had originally been drafted by D.C. United in 2007, would have had to enter the league's allocation process and it could not be guaranteed which team could acquire him.
So, for the time being, Robles will remain in Europe.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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