COLUMBUS, Ohio – Landon Donovan is hanging up his boots at season’s end, but the long time U.S. international knows that MLS is in safe hands because of players like Colorado Rapids youngster Dillon Serna.
A favorite in youth soccer circles, Serna has enjoyed a strong first full season in MLS with three goals and three assists in 20 appearances for the Rapids. Serna's finest strike came in last Sunday’s 4-2 defeat to D.C. United when the 20-year-old launched a 35-yard volley that sailed into the back of the United net.
Even though the U.S. Under-20 midfielder may not be old enough to drink, he has a fan in Donovan.
“He’s done well. It’s exciting for this league to have all sorts of young Homegrown Players do well,” Donovan told LA Galaxy Insider. “That’s the future of this league in my opinion and to see another one like him do well is very good. It’s very early for him and he still has a lot to prove, but he has done well.”
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Landon Donovan may have been displeased with his team's performance in the LA Galaxy's 4-1 loss to the Columbus Crew, but he was all smiles about the Crew's ceremony honoring the attacker prior to the match.
Flanked by Crew owner Andrew Percourt as well as former teammates Frankie Hejduk and Gregg Berhalter, Donovan appeared noticeably moved by the ceremony that included a video highlight reel of all of his goals at Crew Stadium and the presentation of a framed piece of the north net where the Galaxy midfielder scored the second goal in the USMNT's 2-0 victory over Mexico last September.
Despite a frustrating showing by the Galaxy, Donovan was moved by the honor.
"It was incredible. I don't know how many of you [reporters] were here when [Crew Stadium] was first built, but this became the home of soccer [in America] for many years. I have memories here for the U-17 national team, many games with the national teams as well as with the Quakes and the Galaxy against the Crew. I can't imagine another stadium that I've played in more throughout the league.
"I have a lot of very good memories here and I was very appreciative of them doing that. They certainly didn't have to and I certainly have a lot of respect for the Gregg [Berhalter] and the Crew organization."
But for all the kind words from Donovan, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena provided one of his trademark deadpan answers when asked if the ceremony was a distraction for the Galaxy.
"I would blame the entire game on the pregame ceremonies," Arena joked before going on.
"I think it is very nice. Landon has had a great career and to be recognized in these markets we go into, it is tremendous," he added. "Hopefully, the results don’t all end up like they did tonight, but It was a tremendous gesture on behalf of the Crew. We are very grateful for that."
The ceremony honoring Donovan can be viewed in its entirety is below.
Landon Donovan will play at Columbus Crew Stadium for the final time on Saturday as he prepares to retire at the end of the season.
Donovan has enjoyed plenty of memories at the stadium for both club and country and because of his sterling career, he'll be honored prior to Saturday's match. In a video for TheCrew.com, Donovan discusses his memories of Columbus and his excitement to play in the venerable stadium one last time.
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will be up against an old friend and an unfamiliar foe when they take on the Columbus Crew on Saturday at Crew Stadium.
LA will be facing a Crew team that currently finds itself in the thick of the postseason chance with 27 points which is good enough for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Leading the Crew is former Galaxy center back and assistant coach Gregg Berhalter, who took the top job with Columbus in the offseason.
“They started off pretty strong, but they hit a little bit of a lull and have come back as of late and have played better,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “They’re a certainly a team that goes forward and attacks. As you look at them, you can see that their attacking scheme is built around [Fredrico Higuian] and rightfully so because he’s a terrific player and a great play maker.”
While Arena focused on the specific strengths that Columbus boast, Galaxy attacker Landon Donovan made a broader claim about the difficulties of facing Eastern Conference competition.
“The east games present a different challenge [because] stylistically [because the team’s play is different and we have to make sure that we are well prepared which we will be for Saturday,” said Donovan. “I think inn the west, teams put more emphasis on possession while the teams in the east are more direct.
“When I watch the [Eastern Conference] games, there’s not the same flow to the games as there is in the Western Conference games, it’s different, but we have to adjust.”
LA must use the match against Columbus as a chance to adapt to a different style of play as the club will play five of their last 14 games of the season against Eastern Conference opponents. As Arena’s side seeks to challenge for the Supporters’ Shield, the Galaxy boss believes that taking full points from their Eastern Conference is vital.
“It’s important that we take advantage of those kinds of games,” said Arena. “Because it’s likely that most of our opponents in the west are not getting three points. That’s just probability.
Such recognition ceremonies are common place in the MLB and NBA, but Donovan will be the first retiring MLS player to be honored by an opposing team. Donovan’s honor comes as no surprise as the forward has enjoyed plenty of success at Columbus Crew Stadium with the U.S. National Team, the Galaxy and the MLS All-Stars.
Although Donovan doesn’t expect tributes prior to each match like retiring New York Yankee great Derek Jeter, he is honored by the gesture.
“It’s very respectful and it’s not necessarily my personality to want that stuff, but it still feels good. It’s nice as a human being. I’m very grateful that they’re going to do that,” said Donovan. “I just think that when teams around the World do it for their own players, it’s nice and it’s respectful.
“I think that we live in a society where we’re always so quick to move onto the next and we forget about what people have done so that to me is a big statement and I appreciate it. They certainly aren’t obligated to do so and it’s a nice gesture. I certainly hope that it is a trend that continues. When guys spend their career here and grow the league then they deserve it, there are guys that deserved it before I came into the league and I’m sure there will be guys who will deserve it after.”
Foot Locker has tried to make viral gold with their new "Short Memory" series featuring NBA star James Harden and in their latest episode, they feature LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan.
In the video, Donovan doesn't remember the fact that he was omitted from the U.S. National Team for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and repeatedly refers to himself as the team's captain. It's worth mentioning that Donovan has never been the captain for the USMNT over a prolonged period of time.
CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan is hanging up his boots at the end of the season.
The LA Galaxy midfielder announced via his personal Facebook page on Thursday morning that he’ll be retiring from the sport of soccer at the end of the 2014 MLS season. The all-time leading goal scorer for MLS and the U.S. National Team, Donovan has four goals and seven assists this season.
Donovan is expected to speak at a press conference at StubHub Center on Thursday.
Landon Donovan proved to be the hero of MLS yet again on Wednesday evening.
In a brief cameo, Donovan scored the game-winning goal in the 70th minute as the MLS All-Stars defeated the reigning German champions FC Bayern Munich 2-1 at Providence Park in Portland. For his strike, Donovan was awarded the MLS All-Star Game MVP award. Bradley Wright-Phillips added the first goal for the All-Stars while Robert Lewandowski scored the lone goal for the Germans.
With the score tied at one goal apiece, Donovan broke the deadlock in the 70th minute with stellar finish past Germany World Cup champion goalkeeper Manuel Neuer for the game-winning strike after a pass from Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri. After scoring the eventual game winner, Donovan was promptly pulled from the match after his brief 26 minute appearance.
Omar Gonzalez was not available for the match, but the Galaxy defender was present for the match as he was honored after the game along with the rest of the MLS and Bayern Munich members of the U.S. World Cup squad.
With the MLS All-Stars taking on Bayern Munich tomorrow at Portland's Providence Park, it's important to take a moment to reflect on some great moments of MLS All-Star lore.
In 2001, 19-year-old Landon Donovan was awarded the game's MVP award after scoring four goals to help lead the Western Conference to an exciting 6-6 draw against the Eastern Conference in the 2001 edition of the midseason spectacle. The highlight of the match, however, wasn't any of Donovan's goals, but rather his celebration on his fourth and final strike when he stripped off his jersey to reveal an sports bra that he donned as an homage to U.S. women's soccer great Brandi Chastain, who famously removed her kit to celebrate the USWNT's win over China at the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Now in his 14th All-Star Game, Donovan has seen the game evolve from an event where such levity was common-place to a match with meaningful implications.
"I've seen it go from a very casual, very friendly game to a very exciting, very meaningful, very real game," Donovan told reporters on Tuesday. "For us, it's better because if you're just going to go through the motions, you might as well stay home.
"We understand that it's not a game where we just go out and mess around and don't prepare well," he added. "I think we've learned over the years that the times that we do things right and we work hard and we defend and we play the game like a real game, we get good results and when we don't then we can get beat."
CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez may not be taking part in Wednesday's MLS All-Star Game, but there will be an LA Galaxy player available when the All-Stars take on Bayern Munich at Portland's Providence Park -- Landon Donovan.
The Galaxy announced late last week that Keane and Gonzalez would miss out on the event due to the team's clash with their archrival San Jose Earthquakes on Friday, but Donovan -- who went 90 minutes in LA's 3-1 win over the Portland Timbers on Saturday -- remained on the squad. Although Donovan will be available for the match against his former club, he expects to see limited minutes for the All-Stars.
"In the end, I don't get to make that decision [about staying behind]. I'm happy to go and I'm excited to go. I've already spoken with [MLS All-Star head coach Caleb Porter] and I won't be playing a lot, and that's okay. I understand because there has been other All-Star Games where I haven't been able to play. It's good for [our] guys to rest and it'll be fine because I'll be ready for Friday."
While Donovan will see, at least, some time in the league's showpiece event, Keane and Gonzalez will remain behind in Southern California and prepare for Friday's match against the Earthquakes. While missing out on the All-Star Game was a tad frustrating for the Galaxy's Irish captain, he sent well wishes to the league's best as they prepare to take on Bayern.
"I'm happy that I was selected, but first and foremost my priority is the Galaxy and we have an important game on Friday," said Keane. "I wish the All-Stars well and I'm sorry that I couldn't be there, but I'll be watching on TV."