Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By RYAN TOLMICH
For as long as many can remember, Landon Donovan has been synonymous with the U.S. Men’s National Team. From his goal in the now famous “Dos a Cero” game in 2002 to his life-saving finish against Algeria in 2010, the LA Galaxy forward has been a part of the country’s best moments on the game’s biggest stage.
On Thursday, U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann announced the 23 men he would bring to Brazil and, for the first time since 2002, Donovan’s name was absent.
Replacing Donovan are promising youngsters such as Julian Green and DeAndre Yedlin, the next generation who’s blistering speed and youthful skill will be looked at as a difference maker on the biggest stage.
In 2002, there was no Yedlin or Green. There was Donovan, the 20-year-old San Jose Earthquakes midfielder looking to make a name. He did, and the U.S. went on arguably the best run in the team’s history through Portugal, Mexico and into the quarterfinals.
Donovan scored twice in the USMNT’s five games in South Korea and Japan. His first came as a late goal in a 3-1 defeat to Poland, but his second goal was the clincher in the first of many “Dos-A-Cero’s” when the USA beat Mexico, 2-0.
The southern California native led the way once again in Germany in 2006, despite a poorer-than-expected performance from the team. A terrible group stage exit was all the team could muster, with Donovan turning in the most disappointing of his three World Cup performances.
Donovan’s forgettable showing in Germany in 2006 is overshadowed now by the heroics of 2010 in South Africa. He scored what has become the goal most associated with U.S. Soccer. His finish against Algeria in second half stoppage time sent the USMNT into the knockout stages on top of the group, while giving fans the signature moment of a generation.
Now, 154 international games and 57 goals later, the all-time leading goalscorer for the U.S. Men’s National Team has been left off of the 2014 World Cup roster, and it feels like we might have seen the last of Donovan in a U.S. uniform.
With four Gold Cup wins, three World Cup appearances and countless big goals, Landon Donovan has delivered more big moments for the United States than any American before him. Unfortunately, there won’t be anymore of those moments this summer in Brazil.
What was your favorite Donovan World Cup moment (aside from the Algeria goal)? Still holding out hope he winds up playing in Brazil?
Share your thoughts below.