#LegenD: Some favorite memories of Landon Donovan

Started from the fountain now we here.

Started from the fountain now we here.

We reached out to some people we respect and asked them for a brief thought on their favorite memory of Landon Donovan.

TempoFreeSoccer: A regular TSG contributor and great soccer mind.

A year removed from a deeply disappointing World Cup, Landon Donovan was struggling through one of his most difficult seasons as a professional.  He famously had his Galaxy captaincy handed to David Beckham and the team limped to finish near the basement of the Western Conference.  In late June–right in the middle of the disastrous “07 season– the US national team stumbled into the Gold Cup final  against Mexico after a controversial 2-1 win over Canada in the semis.
This final happened to be the first professional soccer match I ever attended. Mexico was controlling the play in front of an 85%+ pro-Mexican crowd at Soldier Field and led 1-0 through an Andres Guardado first-half goal.  Against the run of play, however, in the 60th minute Brian Ching drew a penalty.  There was no question who would take it.  With 50,000+ screaming insults and hurling cups onto the field Donovan went through his pre-pk ritual and calmly slotted home low and to the right (seemed like he always went there).  Imbued with confidence, the US immediately took command of the game and won through a Benny Feilhaber wonder-volley.  The win qualified the US for the famous “09 Confederations Cup run and re-established continental supremacy.  That penalty was not the prettiest goal nor the most important goal of his career, but to me it was the most indicative of his greatest attribute: his ability to raise his level for the national team, no matter the circumstances.  Of the 15 penalties he took for the USMNT, Landon Donovan converted all 15.  Astounding.  Happy to say I was there for one.Kevin Black: Co-owner of a signed Landon Donovan boot and expert in ankle breaking.I think my favorite Landon Donovan moment has to be his World Cup in 2002. I remember waking up groggily to watch the United States’ first match of that world cup, which had started at 3:00 AM. I only managed to roll myself out of bed at about 3:35, and I arrived at the TV downstairs right when Brian McBride finished off a superb counter attack (started by Donovan) to make it 3-0 against Portugal’s golden generation. After being too young to really experience the 1994 World Cup and watching the States limp to a 32nd place finish in the 1998 World Cup, this was my first taste of watching the United States really perform on the international stage. 20-year-old Donovan was a symbol of everything right about the 2002 team, playing with the kind of disregard for reputation that we almost expect from our teams now. His goal to seal what was probably the USMNT’s most satisfying win (beating Mexico 2-0 in the round of 16) was icing on the cake. Only Oliver Kahn demonstrating why he was one of the best keepers of his generation stopped Donovan from cashing in on running Germany’s defenders ragged in the quarterfinals. Donovan’s performance in 2002 showed me his amazing potential, and provided an example of a born and raised American truly shining at the international level.

… I spent like 2 hours tonight looking for this quote by donovan from before the germany quarterfinal where he essentially says “why should we expect to lose against germany?” when prompted by and interviewer, and I can’t find it. fack.

The platinum blonde years.

The platinum blonde years.

Will Parchman: The man for all things USMNT retro-diarying. Trust me, search and enjoy.I can see the play laid out still, the pieces falling together like some lopsided game of Risk. It was 2002, World Cup time, and this U.S.-Mexico knockout game had consumed my relatively young, soccer-addled mind. I didn’t know much about Landon Donovan then, but I knew he was quick, had instincts and people were talking. In this particular game, Donovan had flown around the field for much of the sun-washed afternoon, and the U.S. held a 1-0 lead into the 65th minute, which was shocking enough. Not many of us expected it to hold much longer. And then Eddie Lewis broke onto the left flank, even with the 18, and with just 20 minutes of the second half gone he bulleted a cross goal-ward. I didn’t even see him at first, but as the ball’s arc reached its apex, there he was, Donovan charging toward the goalmouth like an enraged bull. He’d so surprised the defender that no recovery could’ve caught him. Just like that, header, dos-a-cero, game over. That game, for me, birthed the Donovan mythology, birthed dos-a-cero, birthed the 21st century U.S. soccer renaissance. It applied the afterburners to the game in this country in a way no goal I can ever remember has before or since. I’ll remember Donovan for a lot of moments, but that one in particular stands astride them like a colossus.Eric Giardini: TSG USMNT jersey analyst extraordinaire and Gervinho five-head aficionado.

Let’s go all the way back to June 18, 2010 for USA v Slovenia in the second World Cup group stage match. After drawing England in the first match, the USMNT was in prime position to get an “easy” three points against Slovenia and firmly state their intention for the knockout stage. As you probably remember, it didn’t quite go that way. Two first half goals saw the USA down two with its World Cup stay looking shorter and shorter.

But then, just after the restart, a glimmer of hope from none other than Landon Donovan. Donovan judges the flight of the ball and beats the defender who misplaces the ball. Alone one on one with the keeper, it seems he’s dribbling in at the wrong angle. Instead of cutting the ball back and playing it square to the late runner in the box, Landon smashes it into the top of the net, narrowly missing Samir Handanović’s face, and the comeback was on. I don’t think anyone, anywhere thought he was going to smash that shot like he did, but that was Landon at his best. Beating players with his speed, his ability to finish, as well as his ability to put the team on his back when needed. Later in the match, Donovan places in the free kick on the infamous Edu non-goal but that’s a story for another time.

ldbra

Johnathon Sykes: Galaxy fan and man with that necessary LA insight.

My favorite LD moment isn’t really a moment but a year. 2009 to be exact. Coming back to MLS after another failed German stint. the year that Landon Donovan had the cojones to call out David Beckham for being a poor captain in The Beckham Experiment. MLS MVP (sorry Jeff Cunningham) and Goal of the Year. Yea, that curling volley that left a gum-chewing Matt Reis in bewildered awe on his side. The beautiful back post ball to feed Magee for the Galaxy’s sole goal in MLS Cup. Oh, and that goal vs. Brazil in Confederations Cup before the Yanks collapse. In a way, 2009 was a microcosm of Donovan’s career. Capable of spell-blinding skill and maddening inaction. For all the hand-wringing about commitment and drive (self-inflicted or not), Donovan has always had a way of coming away from every failure with aplomb. Even the failure of winning the MLS Cup drove him to a successful stint at Everton the next year. I think, above all, I will miss that the most. The ability to rise from failure and disappointment better than ever.

You know. Like a legend.

Christine Agoni: Maker of brilliant Landon Donovan supersized heads.

Poor Landon.

Poor Landon.

Favorite Landon Donovan moment: when I read in a magazine that he was getting a divorce and legitimately frightened my boyfriend with all the “there’s still a chance!” talk. JUST KIDDING, kinda…Landon, if you’re reading this now, send me a signed right boot to let me know you’re down (preferably in green to match the one you gave us in Salt Lake City during the Gold Cup)!

In all seriousness, I remember only 2 things that happened in 2010: 1. I graduated from college and 2. Landon Donovan scored the game winning goal against Algeria in the 91′ in South Africa. Nothing can top the feeling of sitting in a bar, surrounded by strangers, feeling close to defeat and in a moment…Altidore crosses the ball to Dempsey, the shot is blocked! Our hearts collectively sank. THEN BOOM, DONOVAN FINDS THE BACK OF THE NET! Go, go, USA! Beer showers for all! Sorry for crying on you, stranger! This (and the blast of a goal against Slovenia the week before) was the moment I went from being a casual soccer fan to an OBSESSED one. I went out and bought a Donovan jersey as soon as we left the bar and have worn it to every USMNT game I’ve attended that Donovan has played in. You’re a class act, Landon. Thanks for introducing me to US Soccer and to the love I have for the sport.

Biggy: Landon hater and Landon lover, all at the same time. It’s a complicated thing.The World Cup in South Korea was a proper coming of age for me. Old enough to watch games and stay up all night but young enough to struggle with staying up past 1am without passing out on the couch with no remorse. When the US played Mexico in the round of 16, it was probably the most important match of my young life. 1998 in France hurt, but 2002 was glorious. My dad and I stayed up to watch that one, and we were ahead of Mexico and boom, Eddie Lewis to Landon Donovan to give us that most dangerous lead bullshit. Couldn’t help but yell when that happened. How glorious. My dad told me to shut up as we jumped around the living room at 2:30am celebrating the most thrilling goal I’ve ever seen (well, outside of Landon vs. Slovenia and Algeria). That was the start of my love affair with the US. That game led to so many good things, and I will forever be appreciative of Landon for that goal. What a run. What a team.In case that didn’t take you down memory lane, this will. Just remember, it’s okay to cry at work on Thursday.

USA roster vs. Ecuador 10/10: Landon’s last ride

Jurgen has made it clear that youth will be served right now. Well, youth and this guy:

Here’s the full roster:

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (7): John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Greg Garza (Club Tijuana), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Michael Orozco (Puebla), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Joe Corona (Tijuana), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Julian Green (Hamburg), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt)

FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Joe Gyau (Borussia Dortmund), Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United FC), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich)

Good to see Gil in the mix, a great opportunity for a bunch of the guys on the back line to assert themselves, and Miguel Ibarra gets a shot to show MLS what they are missing. The real story of course will be Landon Donovan, and his last appearance with the USMNT. Certainly could write a novel about his importance to this team, but I’ll stick with this trip down memory lane of just one of the big goals he scored for the US. It was slightly important.

Who do you want to see starting next to Landon? Really interested to see how this midfield shakes out and if Bedoya – Mix – Corona line up together again.

TSG giveaway: Free gear from Who Are Ya

Our August fantasy winner didn’t claim their prize, so we are going to give it away to one of you lovely people. We have teamed up with Who Are Ya designs and are giving away a shirt of your choice ($25 value) and all you have to do to enter is head over to the TSG Facebook page, like it, and comment on the latest post with which shirt you will pick if you win. Check out their awesome selection by clicking here, then head over to comment on the Facebook post to enter. The winner will be determined randomly at 9pm PST 9/24.

I think the deuce face is my current favorite:

DEUCE FACE

DEUCE FACE

If you don’t have a Facebook, no worries, just comment on this post with which shirt you would pick if you win. We will update this post with the winner/contact them via Facebook or the email address in their comment, so put your actual info, so we can reach you if you win. Good luck, and may the deuce be with you.

UEFA Champions League Starts Now: Holders Real To Face Liverpool as Man City And Bayern Set For Another Clash

The reigning UEFA Champions League winners discovered who they will face in Europe’s elite competition this season and now prepare to start group play this week as they attempt to repeat last year’s glory. Having won La Decima in May this year, Real Madrid were handed a tough test against returning five time European winners Liverpool. Manchester City were again left cursing their luck after landing another demanding draw for their group stage matches against 2013 and five timer winner Bayern Munich.

Arsenal on the other hand, were drawn against German outfit and 2013 runners ­up Borussia Dortmund for the third time in four seasons. For the 17th time in a row, Arsenal qualified for Europe’s prime competition after brushing aside

Can the new boy revive Arsenal's CL hopes?

Can the new boy revive Arsenal’s CL hopes?

Besiktas with a 1-­0 aggregate win in the play­off match at the Emirates after finishing fourth in the Premier League last season. The Gunners will also have to navigate past Turkish side Galatasaray and Belgian champions Anderlecht FC. Club Secretary David Miles said the club was looking forward to their tricky trip to German to face Dortmund and he hoped for progress with a top finish in the group.

Another English side, Chelsea’s Mourinho will be the happiest with their Group G draw having been drawn against German side Schalke O4, Sporting Lisbon and Maribor. Chelsea secretary David Bernard revealed that Jose Mourinho was delighted with their group opponents and how happy he was.

For the second time in a row, English Champions Manchester City will face Bayern and CSKA Moscow. Also is the group, which has been touted as the group of death are AS Roma. Despite their 4-­1 aggregate loss to Spanish giants Barcelona last season, City Director of Football Tixki Begiristain admitted they were placed in the toughest group of the tournament this season particularly with the addition of the Italian side Roma. AS Roma could throw a spanner in City and Bayern this season with the Italian second runners ­up not to be underestimated.

Leading Liverpool to glory or catastrophe?

Leading Liverpool to glory or catastrophe?

Liverpool face a challenging trip to the Bernabeu Stadium on 4th November to face a side they beat 1-­0 in 1981 to clinch their third European title in Paris after Alan Kennedy’s goal. The game is bound to prove an exciting one, and if the prospect of an upset isn’t enough to persuade you to get your tickets soon, then a line up of Balotelli, Sterling, and Sturridge facing up against Bale, Ronaldo, and James, surely will. Brendan Rogers was delighted to be back in the competition but was keen to note that Carlo Ancelotti’s side will prove a tough test.

He was also keen to note that the other teams, which include FC Basel and newcomers Bulgarian side Ludogorets, will provide tough matches as well, but he was looking forward to the Real clash at Anfield in October 22nd. Ian Ayre, the club’s Chief Executive, added that it was definitely a tough group, but a fun and challenging test.

On the night of the draw, former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward and current Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo won the UEFA Best Player Award ahead of Bayern’s duo Arjen Robben and Manuel Neuer.

Of their group clash with Liverpool, CR7 said it was going to be a nice match though he had never traveled to Anfield with Real. Cristiano also noted that the English side were a difficult team in the group but was hoping for a win in front of the Anfield faithful.

Liverpool came close to winning the Barclays Premier League last season but crumbled in the last few games, finishing just two points behind champions City.

TSG Fantasy EPL August Winner

whoareya

EPL fantasy is off and running, and this international break has left many hungry for more. If you aren’t in Oh to have hair like Geoff Cameron, you should be. Mainly because there are prizes. And because there are prizes.

Speaking of which, we have our first winner as the month of August is up. Congratulations to Undisputed Attitude, managed by Sverre Ramberg who has 199 points currently. You’ve won a shirt of your choice from Who Are Ya (the lovely fellows who are sponsoring the league) and you can check out their selection when you click on the image at the top of this post. Shoot us an email at biggerstaff @ theshinguardian dot com or send a message via the TSG Facebook page by 9/16 so we can work out the details of getting you your selection. If you didn’t win, no worries, plenty more months to do so, and some random draw prizes coming too. So get in the league ASAP so you can win too.

eplendaug

Funny, my team didn’t make this list?

 

USA-Czech Republic: Live Commentary

"Luke, I am your father."

‘You need to Czech yourself before you wreck yourself young man.’

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to World Cup 2018 we go. The long road starts today. The youth are here to handle some business. Speaking of handling your business, you can get one of those fresh USMNT home kits for $67 right now, fully customized. Time to handle that business.

Who do you want to see out there in the red, white, and blue today? Green? Hyndman? Brek Shea to see if he is still alive?

Starting line-ups once they come out.

US Roster Announced for Friendly vs Czech Republic 9/3

Jurgen has gone with the youth movement for the USMNT’s friendly against the Czech Republic on Sept. 3 in Prague. Some big opportunities for guys like Garza, Hyndman, Gyau, and Rubin to make moves on a Gold Cup spot next summer.

usacze

The full roster:

GOALKEEPERS (3) : Cody Cropper (Southampton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (7) : John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Greg Garza (Club Tijuana), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Puebla), Tim Ream (Bolton)
MIDFIELDERS (7) : Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Brek Shea (Stoke City)
FORWARDS (5) : Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Joe Gyau (Borussia Dortmund II), Jordan Morris (Stanford), Rubio Rubin (Utrecht), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich)

The back line is particularly of interest with Cameron likely out with an injury. Could we see a 4-3-3 perhaps with some winger action from the likes of Green, Gyau, and Rubin?

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