Gerrard Struggles in MLS Debut Season

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Steven Gerrard Struggled on his MLS Debut Season, Says Landon Donovan

LA Galaxy icon Landon Donovan says that former Liverpool FC star Steven Gerrard is struggling to adapt to Major League Soccer.

Prior to arriving to the MLS Gerrard spent his entire professional soccer career playing for English Premier Club Liverpool FC.  In addition to being Liverpool’s skipper, Steven Gerrard was also England National Team’s Captain.

Being a highly-accomplished player with years of experience in one of the world’s top soccer leagues, one would expect Gerrard to come into to the Major League Soccer and become one of the league’s top players, right? Well, not really.

Steven Gerrard joined the LA Galaxy in July of this year, the club that has been a powerhouse in Major League Soccer, winners of the 2014 MLS Cup, failed to bring home any trophies this 2015 season, and finished in the fifth out of ten spots in the MLS Western Conference.

Although managing to clinch a spot in the 2015 MLS playoffs, LA Galaxy was knocked out on the first round by Western-Conference rival Seattle Sounders.

Is it Gerrard the one to blame for Galaxy’s trouble? Absolutely not.  He joined only at the in the middle of the season, and you can’t hang the performance of the entire team on one individual player.

Still, the signing of a Designated Player of Steven Gerrard’s stature, with a guaranteed salary of $6,332,504 according to the MLS Player’s Union, raised high expectations for an impact on the Galaxy’s performance.

Still, Gerrard found it hard to dominate and manage the midfield as he did in Liverpool, and in 15 appearances with LA Galaxy in all competitions this season, scored 2 goals.

Former LA galaxy star Landon Donovan offered his own views to British press this past weekend after playing at Old Trafford in a UNICEF Match for Children: “As he (Gerrard) said, it is difficult to adjust.” Donovan also referred to another famous former LA Galaxy player: “I believe David Beckham went through a similar phase when he arrived to the MLS.  It’s not as easy as people think.”

When asked about yet-another LA Galaxy designated player that came from the English Premier League, Donovan said: “Robbie Keane was a bit of an anomaly, he seemed to fit right in and didn’t skip a beat.”

Donovan says that Major League Soccer is a fast-paced, physical league.  Although I am not sure the MLS is more physical and fast-paced than the English Premiership.  Landon Donovan also added: “it’s not necessarily that we are of better quality from the leagues they are coming from…but when you add the travel, heat and a few other things, it can become difficult.”

Steven Gerrard is not the only Designated Player that came to Major League Soccer from some of the world’s top leagues and didn’t hit the ground running, or at least not running as fast as everyone expected.

Gerrard’s England National teammate Frank Lampard who joined MLS expansion team NYCFC this season also had his share of injuries and difficulties, Juventus and Italian National-Team midfielder Andrea Pirlo also joined NYCFC and has yet to find his form, and from the same team Spanish National Team and Barcelona forward David Villa, who also expressed frustrations on his debut year in Major League Soccer’s NYCFC.

Still, we join Landon Donovan in his optimism in saying: “but I think he (Gerrard) enjoyed it and will come next year for a much better season.”