As the MLS season approaches, MLSsoccer.com marks each passing day with a different statistic, observation or talking point, setting the stage for March 2.
13 – Seasons played by Landon Donovan in MLS
The LA Galaxy made it official on Sunday: The best American player of all-time, Landon Donovan, will be back for his 13th MLS season.
Some still use it against him, but one day we'll likely look back at the 13 years (and possibly more) of service and really take stock of the commitment Donovan made to help a league which was in a delicate place when he made his sensational move from Bayer Leverkusen to the San Jose Earthquakes back in 2001.
And Donovan has put in the work over more than a decade in MLS, many believing that it has led to the motivational questions which resulted in an extended leave of absence during this offseason. We're not just talking promotional tours and TV shoots: Donovan never played fewer than 20 MLS games every season and he has always scored at least six goals. All that while juggling USMNT duty.
His brush with retirement may make fans truly appreciate his 13th season in MLS more than any other he's spent stateside. It could very well be Donovan's last one – his MLS contract reportedly expires at the end of this year – and this could be the last chance for MLS fans to show him a sign of their gratitude for his contributions.
And what could make 2013 even more memorable is that he could set the record for most MLS Cup titles (six) by a player with another league championship and he is also a mere 11 goals away from becoming the all-time goalscoring king in MLS.
Donovan gave us his best years – he turns 31 in March – but he may be saving the most magical moments for last.