1/26/14

Donovan / Nagbe Held By Saints as DP's

LANDON DONOVAN
Landon Donovan will continue to wear Gateway green for the Saints in 2014 with the official announcement as the clubs first Designated Player selection. Donovan will finally break MLS’s all-time scoring record once the season begins. Currently tied for the top spot (alongside Jeff Cunningham) at 134 regular season tallies, all Donovan needs to do this season is score once to finally take the lead solo.

DARLINGTON NAGBE

2013 saw Nagbe score nine goals, enough to increase his total with the team to 17 and take the Timbers' all-time MLS scoring lead from Jack Jewsbury. His most memorable this year, after previous efforts in 2011 and 2012 had won the goal of the year and been a goal of the year finalist, had to be his no-look turn and shoot against FC Dallas in week 15, a goal that put the Timbers at the top of the Western Conference table and that started Dallas's collapse after looking unbeatable early in the season. 

More than just scoring, though, Nagbe was consistently one of the Timbers most accurate passers, less than a percentage point behind Diego Chara, a feat even more difficult to accomplish in the final third than at half-field. Nagbe got the ball and held onto it, leaving defenders with only the option of fouling him if they wanted to win the ball back; and foul him they did as Nagbe lead the league in fouls suffered with 83.


If Nagbe can continue making strides forward, he could be the best player in the league, let alone the best player on the Timbers. The question, however, is if those strides will come in the next year. Now 23 years old, Nagbe is just entering the prime of his career and playing with a coach and a team that suit his style of play, all of which bodes well for his future.