Landon Donovan

Donovan may cement superhero status

Over the years, Galaxy forward Landon Donovan has been called many different names, some good, some not so good.

But Superman? To Galaxy coach Steve Sampson, Donovan might indeed be a Man of Steel.

"We hope that Landon finds his cape again this Sunday," Sampson said Friday.

But the New England Revolution, who play the Galaxy in MLS Cup 2005 at Pizza Hut Park, might be on to Donovan's strength.

"We have a hundred bucks for anyone who steals his cape," Revs forward Taylor Twellman said.

Perhaps the Revs would be willing to fork over more money for some good kryptonite, but regardless of how they approach it, Donovan will likely flex his muscle in MLS Cup.

The legend began not on Krypton but in Columbus, Ohio, site of MLS Cup 2001. Down 1-0 late in the first half, Donovan sent a rocket in the corner of the Galaxy's net and San Jose equalized. The goal helped send the game into extra time, where Dwayne De Rosario won it for the Earthquakes.

At the 2002 World Cup, Donovan scored the exclamation mark goal against Mexico, heading in a well-placed cross from the left to bury Mexico, 2-0, and help the U.S. reach the quarterfinals.

At MLS Cup 2003, Donovan again showed his might. He scored twice and was named the game's Most Valuable Player as the Earthquakes won 4-2.

Sunday, Donovan might again rise to his superhero status. He might indeed outrun a bullet. Or he could outmuscle a locomotive. He might even leap a nearby tall building with, of course, a single bound.

It's all part of his master plan to be remembered.

"People don't remember second-place finishers. Nobody cares. This is my third cup final. If I hadn't won the last two, nobody would remember," Donovan said.

Donovan might be alone in an elite class of MLS superheroes. Galaxy players rave at their super teammate and point to him as the key to the attack.

"I don't think there's anyone like him in the league that you'd rather have to go up there and get a goal for you," Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant said.

The Revolution will be the latest team to try and corral the Metropolis Marvel. How they attempt it remains to be seen.

"It's going to be interesting how they handle him; whether they have one player who stays with him all the time or whether they stay in their zone with their back three," Sampson said. "Either way, you can see against San Jose and Colorado, he's a handful for even two players."

Unless they are armed with kryptonite, perhaps.

Luis Bueno is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.