Jurgen Klinsmann calls Landon Donovan into USMNT squad vs. Ecuador for final farewell
Landon Donovan is going to get his swan song with the United States national team after all.
USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann announced on Tuesday that he will call the US icon into the team’s international friendly against Ecuador in October, giving Donovan one last chance to don his country’s colors before he retires from the game at the end of the year.
“For 15 years, Landon has thrilled us with his amazing abilities on the field and impressed us with his gracious approach off the field,” said US Soccer president Sunil Gulati to USsoccer.com. “We are looking forward to celebrating his legacy during our next home National Team match and allowing fans the opportunity to thank him for all the memories he’s provided over the years.”
Donovan announced earlier this month that 2014 will be the last of his decorated 15-year career in soccer, but there were lingering questions about whether or not he would appear one last time for the US before his retirement.
That game will apparently come in the Americans’ final home game of 2014 on Oct. 10 in Hartford, Conn., and after an about-face from both Donovan and Klinsmann that seemed unlikely earlier this summer.
Donovan, 32, was famously left off the US roster for the World Cup this summer, and then spoke out candidly in the days and weeks following Klinsmann’s decision. Despite telling media that he would always accept a call for the US squad, Donovan said he was disappointed by the decision and insisted he was still capable of battling for a spot in the starting lineup for the team in Brazil.
Donovan was also vocal with his criticisms of the US team’s preparedness from his post as an analyst for ESPN during the tournament, and later said he didn’t think the team had been set up to succeed in Brazil.
And any previous issues between the two sides appear to be secondary to a proper sendoff for arguably the greatest player in US history. Donovan is the nation’s all-time leader in both goals (57) and assists (58), and his 156 career appearances are second all-time behind fellow LA Galaxy legend Cobi Jones (164).
"Playing for the US national team has been a huge part of my career and I'm ecstatic to have the opportunity to play for my country one last time,” Donovan said in US Soccer's release. “I'm so grateful to all the fans that have supported me and this game will give me the chance to say thank you to all of them. I look forward to a great evening and I'm thankful to US Soccer for making this happen."
— Jürgen Klinsmann (@J_Klinsmann) August 26, 2014
After a slow start to the 2014 MLS season – which may have been what cost him a spot with the World Cup team – Donovan has come alive since May, tallying six goals and adding six assists in his last 14 games. LA have climbed the Western Conference ladder in the process, and are second on points per game behind the Seattle Sounders.
Though the Ecuador match doesn’t directly conflict with the Galaxy’s schedule, Donovan will have short rest for what’s likely to be a crucial clash with fellow strivers FC Dallas on October 12.
Donovan’s most recent appearance with the US came as a second-half substitute during a 2-2 draw against Mexico in April in Glendale, Ariz., and he also started and tallied an assist in the team’s 2-0 win over South Korea in January.
The US will play the Czech Republic in Prague on Sept. 3. Klinsmann is expected to release the roster for that match later this week.