If he stays true to his word, Landon Donovan has a maximum of three matches left in his storied career.
The Los Angeles Galaxy are in the last four of the MLS Playoffs, after a 5-nil drubbing of Real Salt Lake in the second leg of the Western Conference semifinals on November 9. After a scoreless draw in Salt Lake City, Donovan led the Galaxy charge with a resounding hat trick and an assist.
Landon Donovan was not good enough for the US World Cup team? Yeah right. Watch this great@MLS playoff hat-trick. http://t.co/tPZES7gKNN
— Tim Steller (@senyorreporter) November 12, 2014
Donovan scored on a header, a breakaway and a volley and threaded a lovely square ball in the area for Robbie Keane to finish. This is not the footwork of a burnt out player past his prime, this is Lionel Messi/Cristiano Ronaldo stuff, or better yet, vintage Donovan.
Granted, this is MLS and not top-flight European football, but that doesn’t take any luster off what promises to be a grandstand finish to the 32-year old attacking midfielder’s career. Donovan will have at least two matches left with the first of two legs against the Seattle Sounders on November 23.
The Galaxy have to be the favorite in their tie against Seattle and should be able to get past either New York or New England in the MLS Cup Final. While storybook endings don’t always happen, if Donovan remains in form, he will most likely leave the game a champion.
So while he never played in a World Cup final or Champions League final, Donovan helped a fledgling domestic league become rather popular in a country with many soccer detractors. Donovan could claim his sixth MLS Cup if things shake out according to plan. In addition to being the league’s all-time leader in goals (144) and assists (136), Donovan also has 25 career playoff goals (and counting) and 13 assists.
As reported by USA Today, no one is ready to say goodbye to Donovan just yet, but the man is stepping away from the game on his terms anyway.
After the summer of embarrassment Donovan endured being left off the USMNT’s World Cup squad, who could blame him for his decision. He’s been good to U.S. Soccer, both domestically and internationally, even when it’s been bad to him.
Here’s to hoping Donovan gets the sendoff he deserves: lifting a trophy one last time.
Featured image courtesy of USA Today’s For The Win