Photo by ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
Landon Donovan has not yet played in his final match for the U.S. Men’s National Team, but now we know when that final match will be.
U.S. Soccer announced on Tuesday that Donovan will represent the U.S. one final time in the Oct. 10 friendly against Ecuador. The match at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn. is going to be Donovan’s first on U.S. soil since the World Cup and the last for the 32-year-old legend, who has announced he will retire from soccer at the end of the MLS season.
“Playing for the U.S. national team has been a huge part of my career and I’m ecstatic to have the opportunity to play for my country one last time,” said Donovan. “I’m so grateful to all the fans that have supported me and this game will give me the chance to say thank you to all of them. I look forward to a great evening and I’m thankful to U.S. Soccer for making this happen.”
U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann did not issue an official statement on the news of Donovan’s final national team match, but he did offer this message via Twitter:
Donovan is the U.S.’s all-time leader in goals (57) and assists (58) and is second in caps earned (156), but many thought his legendary international career was history after U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann left him off the World Cup roster in May.
The iconic attacker will, however, get one more chance to play with his American teammates in the U.S.’s first stateside friendly since finishing in the Round of 16 in Brazil.
Donovan is also no stranger to playing Ecuador. He enjoyed one of his best performances in a U.S. jersey back in 2007, when he scored a hat-trick that led the Americans to a 3-1 victory over the Ecuadorians.
The friendly is not a testimonial for Donovan, but will be a chance to honor a player widely regarded as the best in U.S. national team history.
“For 15 years, Landon has thrilled us with his amazing abilities on the field and impressed us with his gracious approach off the field,” said U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati in a statement released by U.S. Soccer. “We are looking forward to celebrating his legacy during our next home national team match and allowing fans the opportunity to thank him for all the memories he’s provided over the years.”
What do you think of Donovan getting a farewell USMNT match? How surprised are you by this announcement? Planning on trying to attend this game? Think he goes out with a strong performance?
Share your thoughts below.