Landon Donovan’s loan to Everton is official, and will make him the fourth American to play for the club, following Joe-Max Moore, Brian McBride and current goalkeeper Tim Howard.
How will he stack up? Let’s check the record:
Joe-Max Moore is perhaps not as well remembered as he should be among U.S. fans: He scored 24 goals in 100 appearances for the national team, including the winner in a 1-0 upset of Argentina in 1999. For Everton, he got off to a cracking start, bagging a goal in five straight games at one stretch, and finishing his debut season with eight.
Highlight: An injury-time equalizer against Tottenham in January 2000 in his second full game with the club.
Fan Favorite? The site “ToffeeWeb.com” refers to him as a “nippy little Yank”—is that a backhanded compliment, or a direct insult?—with an excellent attitude and impressive work rate.
Brian McBride lived a charmed life in England, whether he was suiting up for Preston, Everton, or Fulham. Much like Moore, he got off to a white-hot start at Everton, scoring four goals in his first five games. But he was only with the Toffees on a two-month loan, which was not renewed.
Highlight: Goal against Spurs in the first ten minutes of his debut.
Fan Favorite? An Everton chat-room denizen gives him an ‘8’ out of 10, and Toffee supporters are well aware of what he went on to do at Fulham, where the Cottagers have named a pub after him. He’s one that got away.
New Jersey native Tim Howard is in his fourth season with Everton and already on the path to legendary status. He set the club record for clean sheets last year (16), and has racked up six of them this year. On Dec 6 he saved a stoppage-time penalty from Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe to preserve a 2-2 tie for the Toffees.
Appearances: 158 and counting.
Highlight: In April 2009, saved two penalties during FA Cup semifinal shootout against his former team, Manchester United, sending the Toffees to the final vs Chelsea.
Fan Favorite? Most already rate him the club’s No. 2 keeper all-time, behind Neville Southall.
Many observers have suggested that the Premier League is too rugged for a relatively small (5’ 8”) player like Landon Donovan, but that wasn’t a problem for Moore, and Donovan is much faster and more athletic than Joe-Max ever was. He’s also hungry to finally prove himself abroad, and if the pressure that goes along with that (it’s his fourth stint over there, after all), or fatigue, don’t prove too much for him, there’s no reason he can’t shine for the Toffees.