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Donovan suspended for final match vs. Earthquakes

LandonDonovanMontreal (USA Today)

Photo by Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports


Many clubs and fanbases around MLS have had a chance to say a proper farewell to Landon Donovan before seeing him play in person one last time.

His former team, the San Jose Earthquakes, will not be one of them.

The retiring Donovan was down to having seven regular season games left in his MLS career, but that number dropped to six after he was shown a controversial yellow card for dissent by referee Hilario Grejeda during the first half of Wednesday night’s 2-2 draw against the Montreal Impact.

The yellow card triggered a one-game suspension due to accumulation, which means Donovan will miss the Galaxy’s game at Buck Shaw Stadium this Sunday.

The 32-year-old MLS legend played his first four seasons for the Earthquakes, winning the MLS Cup with the franchise in 2001 and 2003.

Donovan accumulated 78 goals and 32 assists during his tenure in San Jose, but left after the 2004 season to give the German Bundesliga another try.

Donovan returned to MLS in 2005, but the Earthquakes no longer held his rights and he instead ended up joining the LA Galaxy.

The Galaxy and Earthquakes have already played twice this season.

Barring a reversal of the yellow card or an improbable run into the Western Conference playoffs by the Earthquakes, Donovan’s final game in the San Jose area will be a 1-0 Galaxy win on June 28, which came before his retirement announcement. That game took place in front of a reported sellout of over 50,000 at nearby Stanford Stadium.

Donovan’s final Cali Clasico will have been a 2-2 draw at the StubHub Center on Aug. 8, which was one day after Donovan made his plans to retire known.

There was some confusion over whether Donovan was even the player Grejeda meant to book, which led to a pool reporter query into the referee’s decision. But Grejada confirmed that he issued the card to Donovan, adding that he cautioned Donovan for disagreeing with a call “by words and gesture.”

MLS has not published video relating to Donovan’s yellow card.

What do you think about Donovan missing his final Cali Clasico? What was your reaction to the yellow card given to him Wednesday night?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Donovan wasn’t assigned. He wanted to play in LA because that’s where he grew up. I remember that the fans were not happy when Donovan showed up in a Galaxy uniform. There was a lot of negative response for him abandoning the San Jose team. He was kind of considered a traitor. That has changed somewhat over the last few years. But I still remember how much the fans loved him when he first played at Spartan stadium with his then died blond hair.

  2. I hear you about the Houston connection, but as a long time Quakes fan I can tell you that he is most certainly a Quake…which is why it was painful when he left, went to Germany, and returned to be assigned to LA. That sting has receded over the years, but to the fans in San Jose he remains part of the historical fabric. Don’t forget that he was instrumental in the greatest playoff comeback where we erased a 4-0 aggregate to beat the Galaxy at Spartan in extra time.

    I love the Quakes, but am actually more of a Nats fan…I was in the stands in Suwon and Jeonju in 2002 and Pretoria in 2010…so I was certainly looking forward to seeing him live one more time.

    Love the idea of a testimonial with a 1/2 each for the Galaxy and Quakes…hope the idea has some legs.

  3. How about do a testimonial match like they did with Deco between Barca and Porto? Like Deco, Donovan would play in a San Jose uniform in the first half and a Galaxy uniform in the second half. SJ would field some of the 2003 champions including Donovan, DeRo, Brian Mullan, and some current Quake players to fill spots; LA would field Keane, Omar, and others from the 2011-2012 squads. Do it after the MLS Cup or maybe a few days before. That would be absolutely incredible. Who’s with me?!!?!?!

  4. I hope LD gives the Quakes fans something to remember anyway… Maybe dial it back to the 2001 All-Star game and bleach the hair, throw on the on the Brandi Chastain sports bra, and sit at the end of the bench like nothing is weird at all.

    • In an interview Donovan said, “[I] should have known better” so it sounds like he did deserve it. I find it funny MLS is not releasing a video. Maybe that’s SOP since every random yellow card is not normally not included in the highlights.

    • It was off camera. Apparently it was for dissent. There was a Montreal handball in LA’s box. Clearly ball-to-hand, so I get why the ref didn’t call it, but the Montreal counter-attack ultimately led to a goal. Donovan was understandably chaffed.

  5. Good to hear. No time for sentimentality when there are playoff positions at stake. So if your a fan of another western conference team you should be happy to hear that LA is doesn’t have LD. San Jose has a better chance of taking the points.

  6. But this indulges the mythical Quake history. The team he played for went to Houston. It still has at least one player (Davis) and coach (Kinnear) from that era. He never played for the Quakes V.2 that is now there.

      • It is Imperative that he brings this up.

        The Houston game is the game then I guess, although I am not really sure why…..

        Is it ok for me to think I have been rooting for the Sounders for 30+ years ? no probably not the fans don’t matter….but wait Schmetzer was on ALL of those teams.

      • Seattle has a more honest claim to a lengthy history, 74-83 then 94-present. The team wasn’t moved to another city. I’m fine with treating a minor-major promotion as continuity. Ditto the other A-League/ USL teams. Most of those teams have been rolling in the same city for 20-something years.

        SJ is different, Quakes, then nothing, not even A League, then the Clash, Quakes, then moved to Houston intact as the Dynamo. Nothing for a few years, then we call it the Quakes. But pretty much anyone who played for the Quakes 2.0 has nothing to do with the new team. The Houston people have been here so long they’re really ours. Landon never played there.

  7. So there I was, my finger wavering over the enter key… Yes, I wanted to see Donovan one last time…But did I want to spend $300 to bring my family to Buck Shaw? Only expensive seats were left. And did I want to pile into the car immediately after my son’s club game and race 60 miles only to navigate the maze of parking lots behind office buildings and corporate parks that are part of the dubious charm of Buck Shaw? I have followed Donovan since he was 16, bought Quakes season tickets while he was here, spent money and time going to Nats games in part to see him play… did I want to see him one last time?

    I sighed, cursed that it wasn’t a night game and decided not to spend.

    Thank God for that…


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