After US hat trick, Donovan sets the record straight
After his comments about a waning passion for the game earlier in the week, the LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan seemed to have something to prove on Saturday night.
And prove something he did, namely, that regardless of how strong his desire for playing is, he is still incredibly effective. A dominating performance that included a hat trick, an assist, and a second assist — if they documented such things in international soccer — led the US national team to a resounding 5-1 win over the Scots at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.
WATCH: USA-Scotland highlights
"I don't want to be mistaken for not caring," Donovan said after the match. "I care, and I like being a part of this team. I'm a professional, and I know how to do my job."
On Saturday night, however, Donovan didn't appear to be doing a job. He looked like he was playing a children's game and having fun.
“We put on a really good performance tonight,” Donovan told the NBC Sports Network after the match. “It’s been a tough 10 days of training for most of these guys, seven days for some of us. We wanted to come out and put on a really good show.”
The show’s obvious star was Donovan, who notched his third career hat trick. His last one came in a friendly against Ecuador in Tampa back on March 25, 2007.
“[Florida] is a good state for me,” he said.
The Scotland match marked Donovan’s first cap since last September and just his third appearance for Donovan since Jurgen Klinsmann took over as head coach last summer. His manager was obviously pleased to have the USMNT’s all-time leading scorer back in the fold.
"Now, we have Landon back and he gave us the goals," Klinsmann said after the match. "We can't complain tonight."
Donovan, in particular, had nothing to complain about.
“The three guys in the midfield did a really good job of moving and passing the ball quickly,” he said. “It really made it easy for Jose [Francisco Torres] and myself out wide. We had tons of space. Any attacking player gets that kind of space, we’re going to score eventually.
"It was really a fun night to be a part of."