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U.S. Men's National Team

American Outlaws to honor Donovan with large tifo

Landon Donovan USMNT 10

Photo by Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports
 

By FRANCO PANIZO

Landon Donovan’s upcoming U.S. Men’s National Team farewell might be a treat for fans, but they also have a gift for him.

The American Outlaws, U.S. Soccer’s main supporters group, have prepared a large tifo for Donovan ahead of his final appearance for the U.S. in Friday’s friendly vs. Ecuador at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut.

The banner is 50 by 30 feet, and a large part of the design will focus on Donovan’s illustrious No. 10. The American Outlaws began creating the giant tifo in a backyard and then a small warehouse, but noticed rather quickly that they needed even more space to finish it and did so at an airport hanger.

Donovan, the U.S.’s all-time leader in goals and assists, will be playing one last game on the international stage before retiring at the end of the current MLS season. The 32-year-old legend was controversially left off the Americans’ World Cup roster by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, and he spoke out about the manager’s selection and subsequent tactics during the tournament, making it appear that his international career was over.

U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati found an opportunity for Donovan to be honored for all his contributions, however. It will surely be an emotional goodbye for Donovan, who has played in three World Cups and made 156 appearances for the U.S. dating back to 2000.

Donovan enters his international sending off in fine form. He just broke the all-time MLS assist record this weekend with the LA Galaxy, and has been lighting up opposing teams in league play.

The last time Donovan appeared for the U.S. was back in April. He came off the bench in the second half of a 2-2 draw vs. Mexico, and was then called into the pre-World Cup camp before being one of the final cuts and missing out on Brazil.

—–

What are you hoping the tifo looks like? Should there be any other tributes paid to Donovan during the match, like a special chant in the 10th minute? How emotional of a night do you expect it to be for both Donovan and the fans?

Share your thoughts below.

50 comments
  • Hipvictor

    Arrrrrrrrrgh. —sorry, just thinking back to the World Cup with out Donovan. LD has looked completely dominant in the latter part of his last season. But, hey, Brad Davis has … well … Wondo has … Nope. Should have been Donovan. Sorry to hijack the thread with old news. But it still kills me.

    We’ll miss you, Landon. Thanks for helping us build American soccer.

    Like

      • Jeremy Mikell

        To me it was always about locker room chemistry and if there was any slight beef between the two left, it would’ve had the potential to blow things up in Brazil. LD is/was too big of a personality in the USMNT to ignore or take a back seat and if he wasn’t every bit a cheerleader to Klinsmann or any of the starters (and I don’t think LD would’ve been a starter for every game if any), it would’ve shown and divided the locker room. And as JK was looking to get this team believing in themselves, he was going to require complete buy in from his entire group.

        Short term, it’d have been nice to have LD in some of the games, long term and eliminating the risk of dividing a locker room, I stand behind having left him at home.

        Just my theory.

        Like

      • Quit Whining About Soccer in the US

        At least you have a half way decent reason, not the Landon hate.

        I will take your step a bit further though. I think JK wants to be the man, the hero of US soccer, which would be hard to do with Landon Legend there.

        Listen to the way he talks to us. Constantly talking down to the fans. “This is what you want to see from your national team players”
        If I knew how to use Twitter I would thank him for enlightening me everytime he speaks and from saving US soccer from wallowing forever.

        Maybe a guy in the position needs to have a big ego, but he also has to be a leader and that means leading the man, not just guys trying to get there.

        Like

      • bnceo

        To be fair, Donovan only got hot AFTER he got cut from the World Cup squad. Before then, he was on a major drought. I think getting cut really pumped him up and he took it out on the Galaxy’s opponents.

        Like

    • ManicMessiah

      If Landon Donovan was playing this well before the selection process I don’t think JK would have been able to keep him off the roster. Citing his play now and saying he should have been on the roster then is revisionist history.

      Like

      • CorkSoccer

        and I sorta remember him playing pretty good in the Gold Cup…

        Like

      • Mason

        Gold Cup was 10 months before selection camp. It’s not extremely relevant. Donovan was playing poorly for LAG prior to selection camp. None of us have any idea how he was in camp. Quotes from teammates regarding LD’s play in in camp (or the play of any other player FWIW) don’t carry much weight with me. I view them through the filter of, “I’m just happy to be here. Hope I can help the ballclub.”

        Like

      • DGH

        He had that great goal against Mexico during the 2nd to last qualifying match–(the Dos in this year’s dos a cero) he was playing great then as well. I’ve deducted this situation so many times in my head and it always comes back to the 2009 loan where they apparently butted heads and never recovered. I still say F Klinsmann–hope he accomplishes what he was hired to do, but i’ll never be a fan of his for not bringing our best team for personal reasons.

        Like

      • Elber Galarga

        Yeah, but how did look against Mexico in the friendly before the selection plus his club form. He made it easy for Klismann not to include him.

        Like

      • James DiPalma

        10 days at camp; Klinsmann chose what drills to do, what tests to run, scrimmages, everything and came out of that camp saying Donovan was a step behind other players. He was wrong. Klinsmann is given full responsibility for our WC roster and should have made better choices at multiple positions.

        Goals and assists in a few games leading up to a pre-WC camp is a narrow set of statistics which cannot justify why Donovan was left off our WC roster because other players had worse runs of assist-goal production (Altidore, Johannson) or better production (Boyd).

        Like

  • H-Town

    It was petty simple really… Klinsmann doesn’t like him, and it is pretty obvious he doesn’t like Klinsmann. Why is this so hard to understand?!? Donovan was a better player than a multitude of guys in the roster, but Klinsmann didn’t want him there. Story over…

    Like

    • B - Indy

      Couldn’t agree more with this.

      Bottom line is they don’t like each other, case closed.

      The decision was personal, Klinsmann has the keys to the bus. Where he’s going with said bus is anyone’s guess.

      If I were Dempsey, Howard, Bradley, and a few others I would definitely be watching my back. But I guess this is what Klinsmann wants, no position is safe.

      Like

      • Old School

        No position should ever be safe.

        Both Dempsey and Howard have gone on record with the understanding that their places aren’t guaranteed now or in the future going towards Copa America and World Cup 2018.

        To be honest, I believe most professional athletes take the “watch their back” stance when it comes to their position. That’s within the equation of not taking their place for granted and continuing to perform at a high level in training, full practice/scrimmages, friendlies and matches.That’s a positive, not a negative.

        Dempsey and Howard have bought into JK’s mentality. Yes, “buying in” to the manager’s vision is also a prerequisite of being a professional or you may find yourself on the outside looking in.

        Like

    • Kevin

      You state it was “pretty simple” as though it is obvious that you are correct…and yet it isn’t. Not at all.

      1) Until and unless JK writes his memoirs none of us will really know what he was thinking.

      2) Absent any real evidence (and there is none, only speculation) I’m just going with JK didn’t think Donovan’s inclusion on the roster gave him the best chance to win. It doesn’t mean he was right. It just means his decision may have been that “simple.” Winning is his job. Even if JK doesn’t like him (and that is also just speculation) coaches uses players they don’t like all the freakin’ time.

      Like

      • B - Indy

        Kev, you’ve got to be pretty naive to think that. All of the evidence is out there. No one is saying that Klinsy doesn’t have the right to make his own decisions, its just that this one was personal.

        Like

      • Mason

        Your assumptions about what happened in the selection camp aren’t evidence.

        Like

      • B - Indy

        What happened at the camp is irrelevant, its the other “evidence” that’s out there that points to the fact that the two just don’t see eye to eye. The two haven’t even talked about the game Friday, I’d love to be a fly on the wall at training this week.

        Like

      • Manuel

        Oh Kevin….take the blinders off.

        It’s OK to support Jurgen Klinsmann and the USMNT while still acknowledging that the personal animosity that exists between JK and Donovan was the predominant reason that Donovan was not chosen for the WC.

        I was as upset as most, but the fact is that the 2 cannot coexist. Was it better for Klinsmann not to have to deal with the issue at the World Cup? Yes. Did it make the USMNT less effective at the WC? IMO, absolutely.

        The USMNT will go on. My hope is that Klinsmann will train and motivate the USMNT to perform at an all time best level. He has another 4 years so we will have to wait and see.

        Like

      • Kevin

        My view has nothing to do with supporting JK and the USMNT. All the evidence that I have seen about all this personal animosity is purely speculative. While it was obvious LD was very unhappy about being left home I have seen nothing remotely conclusive that would convince that JK simply doesn’t like LD.

        If you (or anyone) can provide a link to such evidence I’ll be glad to read it.

        (And by the way, I am also not saying that this supposed animosity from JK doesn’t exist, only that I’ve seen nothing but random online commentary with circumstantial evidence.)

        Like

      • Manuel

        Agree to disagree. I choose not to ignore the obvious.

        Klinsmann is no dummy. He will never come out and confirm the “chilly” relationship he has with Donovan. That is what you are waiting for and it will never happen.

        Klinsmann never confirmed why he “reassigned” Martin Vasquez (his right hand man for many years) right before the World Cup. But I’m sure that you think that relationship is all peachy because Klinsmann has never commented on it.

        In the end it doesn’t really matter. This argument will continue for as long as Klinsmann is the Head Coach. I just hope that Klinsmann’s personal relationships will no longer affect his professional obligation to US Soccer.

        I want to see Klinsmann take this team to a higher level than what Bradley was able. I want to see the attacking, free-flowing style that was promised by Klinsmann when hired. I love the fact that he is calling in many young players for the new World Cup cycle. He has put his stamp on the program. Now I hope that he pushes this team to the higher level than the coaches before him.

        Like

  • Old School

    [Landon Donovan should have played in the World Cup]
    [Landon Donovan should have played in the World Cup]
    [Landon Donovan is capable of curing cancer]
    [Landon Donovan should have played in the World Cup]
    [Jurgen Klinsmann is the worst human being in the history of human beings]
    [Landon Donovan should have played in the World Cup]
    [Landon Donovan should have played in the World Cup]
    [Let’s continue to shame a 17 year old and his decision to tweet]
    [Landon Donovan should have played in the World Cup]
    [Jurgen Klinsmann hates puppies and butterflies]
    [Landon Donovan should have played in the World Cup]
    [Landon Donovan should have played in the World Cup]
    [Jurgen Klinsmann cared more about hurting Landon Donovan than winning]
    [Landon Donovan should have played in the World Cup]
    [Landon Donovan should have played in the World Cup]

    Like

    • Old School

      Does that about cover it? It’s time to move on people.

      The only past we should be talking about is celebrating Landon’s wonderful career and appreciate the remaining matches we have of his.

      Like

      • Hipvictor

        Yeah, I know you’re right–and I’m working on moving through my stages of grief. I probably need to talk to a counselor. I’ll be at the LA–Dallas game, so I’ll try to let that be a wholly positive experience! Here’s to healing!

        Like

      • Quit Whining About Soccer in the US

        Do you think there will be a time when we talk about 2014 that this doesn’t come up ?

        If you say yes…don’t be dumb.

        And you are telling people not talk about in…….2014. Not gonna happen.

        Like

      • B - Indy

        Sorry bud, Donovan’s the best player to ever wear the US shirt, this story will never go away. Honestly, the amount of non-soccer fans that still bring this up to me occasionally is crazy. 4 years from now people will still be asking why.

        Like

      • beachbum

        stop telling people what to do as if you have the authority or insight worthy of such declarations.

        why don’t you stop rationalizing the BS decision and hold Klinsi accountable? I’ll stop then.

        Like

      • Old School

        For the record, you’re “telling me” to hold Klinsmann accountable. Can you please clarify what exactly I need to hold Klinsmann accountable for?

        His record with the Nats? Passing grade.
        His result in the World Cup? Passing grade.
        His record versus Mexico? Passing grade.
        Hurting my feelings with excluding Donovan? Incomplete.

        I don’t live within the realm of being a “Klinsmann fan” or “Donovan fan”. I’m a “USMNT fan” and I’m okay with the current regime and my feelings are not hurt.

        Like

      • beachbum

        I’m a USMNT fan too, which is why he needs to be held accountable for his decision to leave LD home and hurt the team for his personal reasons. Clear enough for you Old School? If you still think it was best for the team to go to Brazil without LD because Klinsi’s ego couldn’t handle him on the team, that’s on you, for the record.

        and was not best for the USMNT, although your acceptance of it is duly noted in your analysis and perspective

        Like

      • Mason

        Accountability goes both ways. That is, you can be held accountable for your successes as well as your failures.

        Since the team exceeded expectations, the manager succeeded.

        Now STFU about this accountability BS.

        Like

      • Old School

        “…hurt the team for his personal reasons.”

        Conjecture. With or without Donovan we exceeded most people’s (with rational views) objectives.

        “Clear enough for you Old School?”

        Far from it. I see a lot of emotion and very little substance from your post(s).

        Like

      • Mason

        Accountability? You’re misusing that word.

        This isn’t a Senate Hearing on some misappropriation of public funds, violation of public trust, or some other scandal-du-jour. It’s a national soccer team. It’s a team that has – contrary to expectations – achieved good results in its recent match. Accountability isn’t a complex matter here. The buck stops at the top. Since the results on the pitch have been good, then the man in charge is successful.

        The game’s fun. Fun goddamnit…

        Like

  • donaldo

    sure, you can have your opinion on when exactly it’s time to move on or what in the past should be discussed. however, the story of ‘hero forced into exile’ is one that has and will continue to capture peoples imaginations for thousands of years — like it or not. klinsman put himself on the wrong side of this storyline and now it is part of his legacy. he may be a great guy, great coach (i think so) but on this one, he miscalculated.

    Like

    • Quit Whining About Soccer in the US

      +1, ZERO doubt in my mind, he will be on the wrong side when we look back.

      I absolutely love Beasley, everyone does, but he was the four time guy and Landon no. It already doesn’t sound correct.

      Like

    • Jeremy Mikell

      As opposed to Landon putting himself into exile a couple years ago? Don’t think this was only one side that created this situation either. And he was invited to the camp, so I think exile might also be a bit extreme.

      And coaches are the ones who are almost always going to be on the wrong sides of these stories unless the player was going to break the law or something unethical, which he didn’t. This comes with the territory of benching players and for fans of that player, no matter how grand his image is in the US, they’ll always wonder what may have been.

      Personally, I still look back and am happy with the decision Klinsmann made because I truly feel LD’s personality was sooooooo big with the Nats, that if he even disagreed still at all with JK, there’d be turmoil in the locker room. Not saying that LD would’ve tried to make it into anything, but it’s hard to have two personalities of that size, that each grew with the USMNT picture at different times mostly, not butt heads. Our team needed to be on the same page 100% for any World Cup, let alone one with a group like that.

      And I like Landon and am very appreciative of everything he’s done for the USMNT. Still rock his old 21 jersey from time to time. I was torn when he wasn’t selected too, but now I’m glad he didn’t go to Brazil with us. Hate how this has been some weird polarizing topic for LD/JK and the US soccer community, but still stand by my views.

      Like

    • TomG

      ‘E’s not pinin’! ‘E’s passed on! This link is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig! ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-LINK!

      Like

  • Frantz Mathieu Fan

    My opinion has always been that JK’s dismissal of Landon was meant to send a message to the 2018 WC team. He wants guys playing in the toughest league they can get into. And for him, that is pretty much going to have to be Europe. Even though Jozy struggled at Sunderland, it impressed Klinsmann that he was battling through it. So, if he doesn’t think you’re challenging yourself to get into a Champions League caliber side, you may not make it to Moscow. I wonder what the means for guys like Bradley, Besler, and Zusi. They’ve tied their ships to MLS so we’ll see what that bodes for them.

    Like

    • bnceo

      I could see that. Let’s face it. Donovan settled for MLS. He played well in Everton after crashing in Germany. If he transfered to Everton and got quality minutes, LD would be on the roster. Instead, LD took it easy and wanted to be the big fish in the little pond. And I get the reasons (such as family). But if you want to excel in your sport and improve, you go to better leagues.

      Like

  • beto

    looking forward to it… and the end of the Klinnsman vs Donovan saga.

    so tired of this; i hope that the greatest American soccer player ever gets a great send off and both grow up for a weekend.

    Like

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  • Frank Z

    Much respect to Landon it’s been a pleasure to watch him for all of these years I think he deservedly goes down as one of the best usa strikers of all time he has been a great role model he’s been an incredibly hard-working athlete and I feel lucky that I get to be at that game tomorrow night.

    Like

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