Landon Donovan Spikes MLS Ratings

Landon Donovan’s heroics in the 2010 FIFA World Cup have earned the midfielder some new fans. In his first Major League Soccer match since Team USA lost to Ghana in the Round of 16, Donovan and the LA Galaxy helped deliver season-high ratings to ESPN2.

Per Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings data, the July 4 Galaxy-Seattle Sounders match drew 391,000 viewers, up 87 percent from a year-ago meeting between DC United and the Columbus Crew (209,000 viewers).

Sunday’s delivery makes the Galaxy-Sounders telecast the most-watched MLS contest thus far in this young season. Last year, ESPN2 notched its season-high mark on June 17, when 550,000 fans tuned in for a DC United-Sounders match.

Back on US soil, Donovan did not disappoint, driving a perfect corner kick to Team USA mate Edson Buddle at the 19-minute mark. The striker delivered a textbook header to the far post to give the Galaxy a 1-0 lead. A second-half score by Brazilian midfielder Juninho and an own-goal charged to Sounders defender James Riley gave the Galaxy a 3-1 win.

The Galaxy sit atop the MLS Western Conference with an 11-3-1 record.