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Landon Donovan Debut for Everton

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Landon Donovan today made his first start on loan at English Premier League side Everton, capping a confident debut with an early assist.

Donovan’s pinpoint corner allowed the diminutive Leon Osman to head Everton in front in the 12th minute. An enthralling game, played in heavy snow at the Emirates in North London, ended 2-2, with Tomas Rosicky scoring an injury-time equaliser to deny the American a winning start.

Donovan’s right-footed outswinging corner allowed Osman, at 5 foot 8 one of the smallest players on the park, to out-jump William Gallas and power home a header from eight yards out. Wearing the No.9 shirt but deployed on the right of an adventurous five-man midfield, Donovan’s pace and trickery gave Armand Traore a difficult afternoon. He flew past the young Arsenal left-back at one point early in the second half, before eventually being crowded out in the penalty area. David Moyes brought Diniyar Bilyaletdinov on to replace Donovan in the 68th minute, the American still searching for full match-fitness since his arrival in England.

Arsenal midfielder Denilson cancelled out Osman’s opener with a deflected first-half drive, before Steven Pienaar’s outrageous chip put Everton back in front. Substitute Tomas Rosicky’s 93rd-minute equaliser leveller kept the home side in the title race on a day when only two Premier League games went ahead due to heavy snow around the country.

Donovan will spend two and a half months with Everton, returning to LA Galaxy in time for the start of the MLS season in March. David Moyes has hailed the United States record scorer’s goal threat, while Donovan’s dead-ball ability should also prove an important weapon for an Everton side possessing the height of Marouane Fellaini and the predatory instincts of Tim Cahill – not to mention Leon Osman.

The 27-year-old joins countryman Tim Howard on Merseyside. The US shot-stopper moved to Everton in 2006, on an initial loan which later became a permanent deal, after three years at Manchester United.