After missing two high profile friendlies with a pulled groin (insert penis joke here, if you like), Landon Donovan took the field for the U.S. MNT on Sunday for the 100th time. It is a great accomplishment, and one LD, who is often villified both at home and definitely abroad, should be celebrated for. But for some reason he isn’t, is he?
That’s because there is a huge contingent of “Landycakes” haters out there. I understand the anti-Donovan rhetoric. I just don’t buy into it.
Yes, he flopped in Germany. No other way to describe it. He played poorly. He looked like he didn’t care. He probably didn’t, too. He wanted to be in the U.S. and he got what he wanted.
We selfishly wanted him abroad though. We wanted him to hone his skill against the best, not dominate his American mates. But in the end, what we want didn’t really matter.
Yes, he also flopped at the 2006 World Cup. He was supposed to be our leader, and he looked like a whiny little wimp. We wanted to see him race down the field with his trademark pace, but instead he looked minimalized and frustrated.
Doesn’t anybody remember the 2002 World Cup? Doesn’t anyone recall how he played with urgency, skill and charisma? Doesn’t anyone recall how his two crucial goals helped the U.S. MNT make it farther in that tourney than they ever have in the modern era? Or that he was voted Best Young Player by the international community, a community that generally despises him?
Naysayers be damned! By the time his career is over, Donovan will be the all-time leading scorer both for the MNT and for MLS, a double feat we all should admire. Oh yeah, and he is also the MNT all-time leader in assists. Not too shabby for a guy who just turned 26.
When the sun sets on his career, he will have to be considered the greatest player to ever suit up for the U.S. There’s really not much of an argument for anyone else, as I see it.
Listed at 5’8″, but standing at what appears to be about a Tom Cruisish 5’6″, Donovan has overcome his small frame to succeed as a striker. Here’s to hoping he can also overcome his recent international goal-scoring funk (and his lingering groin issues) to produce big for the U.S. in the qualifiers.
At the end of the day though you can’t feel too sorry for Donovan.
After all, he gets to go home to her every night…