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Must-See Hat-Trick: Landon Donovan

Donovan Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports


  1. Awesome performance by LD (and the whole team). Yep, left footed, right footed and header. So, so, glad my son and I were there. Great game!

    P.S. Meeting The Great Conradinho was cool too.

  2. I watched the Spurs (NBA) game the other night and thought, “Can Gregg Popovich learn soccer and coach our team?”

    Seriously, though, imagine Gregg Popovich going into the NBA finals and benching Duncan because “Timmy hasn’t showed me enough in practice lately…”

    As a world-class coach, you need to know who has the tools to shine in the big moments. LD could have been included for no other reason than taking penalties. I’m hoping that JK can develop that seemingly obvious trait, but I have my doubts…

    • A better analogy would have been if Timmy refused to play in the semifinals (citing burn out from basketball), went to Cambodia, played pick up basketball with the locals and then came back expecting that Popovich would cut one of the players who played in the brutal semifinal series. But, sorry, I just can’t picture Timmy doing something like this. Having said that, if the talent was the sole consideration, I would have taken Donovan over Wondo or Davis in a heartbeat.

      • No, the better analogy is if Duncan refused to play in the month of January and February, went to Cambodia, blah blah blah… LD took his leave from December 2012 to March 2013, a full 15 months before the WC started. Were those first 3 WQC games important? of course. Did he work his butt off to regain his roster spot? I think his performance at the 2013 Gold Cup answer that question.

      • Right, please remind me what was Donovan’s form immediately prior to the WC against MLS level competition not 15 months before? Was he tearing up MLS level defenses?

      • Aside from the fact that equating the NBA conference finals and World Cup qualifiers is INSANE, you’re totally missing my point…

        Popovich understands he has thirty-somethings on his team that need to be rested and he rests them without being asked. He knows the abilities of his veterans without having to have those veterans prove their standing on a weekly basis. Imagine if he went into a press conference saying, “Duncan’s had a great career, of course, but he better watch out for young Tiago Splitter.”

        As TheFrenchOne points out below, Donovan came back 15 months before the WC and tore up the Gold Cup. You know what Julian Green was doing a year before the WC? He was playing for Germany…

      • Dieter, I agree regarding the need to rest 30 something players, but that responsibility rests with the club (Bruce Arena), and not with the national team coach during the critical qualification games. Just ask Mexico’s fans if the Hexagonal qualification stage is meaningless and whether it is time to rest the best players. The USMNT needed Donovan and he was not there for the critical games. Jermaine Jones on the other hand, battled against Costa Rica in the snowstorm game with an injury. And as for Julian Green, he was not the player who took Donovan’s spot – Julian went as a young promising player for development purposes (similar to Brooks and Yedlin) and he contributed big time in his sole appearance on the field. He would have made the team with or without Donovan.

  3. LD is clutch! He seems to always raise his level of play for big moments. For me, that was the big disappointment of him being left of the WC roster. Even if at the time his actual level of play was borderline, you have to bet on the guy that knows how to elevate his play in big games.

  4. Nguyen is my choice for MVP but Landon has put in some amazing performances this year. This is Messi like (different league ya ya) wish Ray Hudson was doing the commentary!

  5. We all know what an amazing talent Donovan is & I so wish that Klinsman would have been able to put his ego aside in order to motivate Donovan to do these things at the World Cup. He absolutely still has what it takes to change a game and we needed that.

    A paid professional needs to be able to motivate themselves but a great coach supports & inspires a great player when they need it most & that certainly did not happen. Bruce Arena: respect.

  6. We all know that Donovan has the talent to have changed things for the US in Brazil but did Klinsman know how to motivate him? No. It looks like he did the opposite.

    As a professional you have to be able to motivate yourself but in this case, it’s just a crime that we didn’t have a coach in place that was capable of motivating this extremely talented weapon when he needed inspiration from his coach.

    Such a waste.

  7. I’m going to be telling my kids about LD rounding the keeper. I actually jumped off my couch when he did that. Classic Donovan.

  8. “Never regret yesterday. Life is in you today and you make your tomorrow”…….well unless you are Klinsmann lol. Imagine going to war and having a very dangerous weapon in your arsenal that you willfully left behind only to realize that you (and the nation) needed it more than ever….to make it worst that weapon is putting on a dramatic display for the whole nation to see. Broke the all time scoring record, is the all time leader in assists…….Still performing at the highest level, this late in his career, this late in the season is a testament to a great/legendary player……Respect Donovan.

    • Tony Beltran on Donovan:
      “He battered me. He was on another level. He is an incredible player and he had so much desire tonight. He is class he is going to finish his chances. He is going to punish you and that is what he did.”
      Nick Rimando on Donovan:
      “He is great he has got some fire in his belly for sure. He is a player that is special and has been special for quite some time and tonight you can see that he wants it bad.”

      The complement carries more weight coming from the Opposition……Wow

    • Just fixing up a few things for you: all time mls* goal scoring leader, all time mls* leader in assists, great/legendary mls* player.

      If he was playing this well when selections are made I would have said, completely personal, but he gave Klinsmann either a reason or an excuse to leave him off depending on your point of view.

      About the hat trick, which is the discussion point, It was a brilliant performance from Landon, the hat trick showed predatory instincts, composure to take it around the keeper, touch on the one time shot, the perfect timing on those two runs from midfield, it was a wide variety of the skills that defined his career (which isn’t even counting his ability as a passer or his workrate).

      Also header left foot right foot hat trick, which i didn’t even notice until I went back to see if I missed anything.

      It’s clear he’s got more in the tank in terms of time playing but he’s deciding to hang it up on his own terms, which is how he’s always done it.

      • For starters we’re talking about where Donovan plays/where he got the hat-trick, so if I have to spell it out for you that its MLS then maybe you don’t follow the league……if you doubt his form for a minute especially the level of his game since the time of selection/his omission then maybe you haven’t been following US soccer but I can agree with you though that he does have more in the tank

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