Landon Donovan

June 26, 2010 - 06092682 date 26 06 2010 Copyright imago Sesa Landon Donovan USA USA Ghana USA vs Ghana Ottavi Tue Final Round of 16 Matches Campionati DEL Mondo Tue Calcio 2010 World Cup South Africa 2010 Royal Bafokeng Stage Rustenburg 26 06 2010 Giorgio Perottino Inside photo PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxITAxFRA GIORGIOXPEROTTINO Football men World Cup National team international match Rustenburg Eighth finals Single Action shot Vdig 2010 horizontal Highlight premiumd.

Position: Striker, Right/Left Midfield Club: Los Angeles Galaxy

Club Career

Landon, Landycakes, Lando, LD, or insert moniker of your choice has been the most polarizing figure in US Soccer since his teenaged debut. Labeled the savior of US Soccer upon signing with German club Bayer Leverkusen at 17, his initial foray into European soccer never rose past the initial stage – he didn’t play a 1st team game and was loaned to the San Jose Earthquakes in 2001. After becoming the biggest name in MLS and putting in an inspirational performance at the 2002 World Cup, Landon went back to Leverkusen in 2005. His second stay in Germany lasted only seven games.

Donovan returned stateside and found himself traded to the Los Angeles Galaxy. The California native quickly took to his new team and continued to dominate MLS – winning the MLS cup in 2005, leading the league in scoring in 2008, and receiving the MVP award for 2009.

The stark contrast between his success in MLS and failure in Germany pushed Donovan to once more return to European soil in the winter of 2009. A short-term loan to Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich was more productive than his prior stints ‘on the continent,’ but though he scored at will during exhibition games, he was unable to find the back of the net during league play.

Fortunately, another short-term loan, this one a year later for English club Everton, met rave reviews. In his first match, he stepped right into the starting XI, lining up against no less than English superpower Arsenal (lArsenal have won thirteen league titles and are generally considered one of the best teams in Europe). Two goals, three assists, and 13 matches later, the Everton fans couldn’t bear to see him go: chants of USA rained down on Donovan during his last home game.

Unfortunately for them, the Galaxy did not agree with Everton’s desire to extend the loan. Donovan returned to the States without a fuss and used the first half of the season (MLS starts in late March and lasts until November) to prepare for the 2010 World Cup. His performance at the tournament (see below) led to more transfer offers, and he may well move back to Europe before summer’s end.

National Team History

Of Landon’s time with the USMNT, two observations can be made: 1) he is the best US national player of all-time and 2) he failed to show up in only 1 major tournament.

He holds records for games played, goals, and assists. He was the spark plug that ignited a quarterfinal finish at the 2002 World Cup. He’s been the USA’s main attacking option for the better part of a decade. His inspirational play guided the team to their best ever international tournament finish (runners-up in the 2009 Confederations Cup).

And he recorded no goals and no assists in the 2006 World Cup.

While the scope of his contributions to US soccer is breathtaking, that 2006 performance must haunt him.

Donovan has since proven himself capable on the biggest of stages (see Everton and the Confederations Cup), but a successful 2010 World Cup would allow him to forget the only blemish on an international career remarkable for both its quality and breadth.

World Cup 2010

Fortunately, Landon redeemed his 2006 egg with a solid 2010 campaign. He led the gringos in scoring (3 goals), and though he was not always clinical with his touches (particularly against England), his pace and intelligent movement penned back opposition fullbacks.

With the exception of the second half against Slovenia, Donovan was rarely the best gringo on the pitch (that moniker normally belonged to Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, or Steve Cherundolo), but Landon certainly provided the best US moment of the tournament, scoring the goal that launched a thousand celebrations.

Official US Soccer Bio

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  1. [...] Nike has released their World Cup commercial. Be sure to catch the Landon Donovan/Tim Howard [...]

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