Donovan answers world’s questions

In NYC for an event, LA star chills in the limelight

Landon Donovan breezed through Manhattan on Wednesday, dressed to
the nines and a few thousand miles from where his Galaxy teammates were
prepping for their biggest game of the young 2010 season.

Donovan’s
mission? It wasn’t exactly clear. He was either promoting a new
Gillette razor or satisfying the wishes of a few jittery FIFA 10 savants,
who evidently got the chance to wallop on their hero in a virtual
soccer world while Donovan’s mind was fittingly planted elsewhere.

But
the grinning, glamorous soccer spokesman is Donovan’s role in the
waning days before the World Cup, and one he seems to be embracing with
delight. He’s been media-savvy for years, but the public’s gaze is
decidedly as strong now as it’s ever been.

Everton. The World
Cup. Sticking to the bromantic-comedy script about teammate
David Beckham. He’s already perhaps the most relevant American player
outside of the insular and inclusive world of soccer fans, and it’s
only going to steamroll as the Americans near their World Cup opener on
June 12.

The Galaxy captain has been at ground zero for some of
the biggest moments in American soccer history over the last eight
years. And somehow, the media exposure he’s gained over that time makes
him able to brush off the most curious questions in the business time
and time again.

On Wednesday he was back at that finely
rehearsed gig, calmly fielding a slew of interviews [WATCH: Weekender
chats to Donovan
] in the basement of a posh Manhattan club and
time and again explaining the importance, the significance and even the
format of the World Cup.

Wayne Gretzky was sipping drinks at the
event, too, and Derek Jeter strolled in fresh off a 2-for-4 day
against the Angels at Yankee Stadium (No Minka Kelly sightings,
unfortunately). Think anyone asked The Great One to explain what a
best-of-seven series was, or if Jeter could please expound on what
winning the World Series means to George Steinbrenner?

No matter.
Nothing seems to make a dent in Donovan these days. He and his Galaxy
teammates are playing perhaps the best soccer in MLS this season, and
all eyes will certainly be on the Home Depot Center for Saturday
night’s match with Real Salt Lake, easily the most enticing game on this
weekend’s card.

The Galaxy’s comments all week have been
predictably bent towards revenge. A bad taste in their mouths. Wiping
the slate clean. Erasing the memories from 2009, when RSL crashed the
league’s prom and stole the tiaras from Donovan and Beckham just before
the coronation ceremony.

Players and coaches hate the idea of a
statement game, but this truly is the first one of the 2010 season. If
Donovan & Co. can win this one, they’ll clear the first four weeks
of the year unblemished and vault eight points ahead of the suddenly
struggling reigning champs.

And Edson Buddle? Donovan’s calling
him the best forward in the league, thanks to a red-hot start that’s
seen him already match his scoring totals from an injury-plagued 2009.

So many questions. Can Buddle continue his torrid pace? Can the
Galaxy overcome their 2009 disappointment? How about that new Gillette
Fusion razor? What is the World Cup, anyway?

Landon, you’re
wanted on the set.

We’re Watching: Manchester
City vs. Manchester United

The Manchester Derby is easily the
most intriguing game of the weekend abroad. The hype and the heat
belong to Carlos Tévez, who scored three goals over two Carling Cup
matches against his former Red Devils mates earlier this season. Was
Sir Alex Ferguson right to let him go? Watch for Tévez to sink or swim
with all eyes in England fixed on this one.

At the
Theater:
Kick-Ass

Times are tough at the box
office if we’re talking about a teen superhero caper film that first
caught a buzz at last year’s Comic Con Festival. But it’s April, and
we’re still three weeks away from Iron Man 2. For now, Nicolas
Cage pilots a relatively young cast that includes Christopher
Mint-Plasse (Superbad, Role Models) while comic-book geeks
harness the power of awkward teenage anxieties to battle evil-doers.

Listen Up: Foreign Born, Person to Person

In honor of the Galaxy’s big game on the West coast, try this 2009
release from a curiously named LA band doing an admirable job to sound
anything like an LA band. The sense of Afro-pop here is inescapable,
with a touch of glam and fuzzy vocals from lead singer Matt Popieluch
that has critics comparing them to The Walkmen or a favorable likening
to White Rabbits. The best track is “Early Warnings,” a fitting theme
song for Galaxy fans to blare at the HDC if Donovan & Co. can stay
on course.

Nick Firchau is a new media editor for
MLSsoccer.com. “The Weekender” runs every Friday.