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.