WASHINGTON, May 28, 2012 — For a moment, there was a slight whiff in the soccer airwaves that Landon Donovan was fading. America’s golden boy of soccer was having at poor season at the struggling Los Angeles Galaxy. Clint Dempsey appeared to be eclipsing him as America’s best player after scoring a ton of goals with Fulham FC, and Donovan had not been in U.S. team lineup for eight months due to injuries and club team commitments.
The 30-year-old was also recently suggesting that he was not enjoying the game as much as he used to.
However, Donovan proved his skeptics dead wrong in an emphatic way on Saturday night in Jacksonville, Fla., where he earned a hat trick and an assist as he helped the Americans down Scotland 5-1. It was Donovan third hat trick for the U.S. team and a stunning display.
“I’m trying to be present. I want to be in the moment,” he told the press after the Scotland game. “I’ve been very candid and let people know how I feel, but the reality is that I still enjoy it. I still want to contribute to this team. I still care. I don’t want people to get the wrong idea. I still enjoy being part of this, and if I didn’t I wouldn’t be here. I want to contribute in the right way.”
America’s all-time goals and assist leader, has now notched 49 goals in 139 games along with 48 assists. There are not too many players in the game who have scored that many goals in their national team jersey. Donovan will no doubt be looking for his 50th goal when the Americans play five-time World Cup champions Brazil on Wednesday, May 30, in Landover, Md.
Donovan is still likely to be around for a few more years with the U.S. team and no doubt hoping to have an impact at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil should the U.S. team qualify.
Germany’s Miroslav Klose, who has scored 63 goals in 115 games for Germany, was just named to the German team for the European Championship. Donovan still has a chance to reach such numbers.
For over 20 years John Haydon wrote a weekly soccer column for The Washington Times. He has covered two World Cups and written about Major League Soccer from the league’s inception in 1996.
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