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.
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.
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.
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)!