In a locker room full of wonderings about the future, San Jose Earthquakes star Landon Donovan likely had the most running through his mind after his club's exit from the MLS playoffs in a 3-2 aggregate goal loss to the Kansas City Wizards.
"I give them credit. They brought it and we didn't," Donovan said. "It wasn't really that they pummeled us, it was more that they had a few chances and they scored. We had a few chances too, and we didn't. That's the way it goes."
Donovan had a few opportunities himself in what may be his last appearance in Major League Soccer and possibly more likely, his last as a member of the San Jose Earthquakes.
When asked if the shocking loss was his last in MLS, Donovan gave a mixed message laden with sentiment for his side.
"It's the case that being with this team for the last four years, it's kind of sad because I hope it's not, but it might be," Donovan said. "That would be sad if we went out this way."
When asked if he would return to MLS after likely returning to Germany to play for his contracted club Bayer Leverkusen, Donovan held out hope for such a scenario.
"I would hope so, if that happens. I don't want to be in Europe for 10 years, that's for sure," he said.
One positive to Donovan playing in Germany might be that the country will host the 2006 World Cup, and that in theory there could be no better way to prepare for the most prestigious tournament in the world. Donovan says the fact does not factor into any decision left to him.
"No, I never really thought about it," he said. "What does weigh in is that if I do go there's going to be a lot of travel back and forth next year, and my body doesn't do so well with travel. But at the same time, it's not a huge problem."
The 22-year-old California native will have plenty to contemplate in the coming weeks as his future is shaped. However, the U.S. soccer sensation seems ready to face what may come including any criticism that unknowing people might throw his way.
"My focus now is to just get everything sorted out," Donovan said. "People can say what they want, but it gets tough when you're worried about your team, your immediate future, [and] what's going to happen with you. Even if I do end up staying here, it's going to be: 'Is the team going to be here? Am I going to be sent somewhere else?' My goal is to get that all sorted out so I don't have to worry about it anymore."
Robert Rusert is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval from Major League Soccer or its clubs.