Is This Landon Donovan's Final Mexico Match?
Because tonight's match could be Donovan's final game against El Tri, we put together a photo (and video) tribute to the greatest-ever American player, and his greatest-ever rival.
BY Blake Thomsen PostedIT'S QUITE POSSIBLE that tonight’s game will be Landon Donovan’s last ever against Mexico. And what a run it’s been, spanning 14 years and producing six goals, some of extraordinary quality. Here at ASN, we think the U.S. legend deserves a tribute for the incredible work he’s put in against Mexico over the years. With plenty of photos and videos, here’s a look back at Donovan’s greatest exploits against the United States' bitter rivals. Considering Donovan would ultimately torment Mexico for well over a decade, it was fitting that his first-ever cap would come against Mexico. It was even more fitting that a then 18-year-old Donovan scored the opening goal in the friendly win back in October 2000. Donovan’s next appearance against Mexico came in the 2002 World Cup, where he famously scored the Americans' second goal in the legendary dos a cero triumph. In that match, Donovan stooped to head home Eddie Lewis’s perfect cross, clinching the U.S.’s first trip to the quarterfinals since 1930. The youthful exuberance comes across clearly in his once-trademark shirt off celebration. Donovan starred in a September 2005 dos a cero qualifying win in Columbus which sealed the U.S.’s World Cup qualification for the 2006 tournament. This photo from the match demonstrates a frequent occurrence against Mexico over the years, with Donovan emerging just in front of his defenders. Donovan’s satisfaction with that victory was evident as he took a flag-laden victory lap around Columbus Crew stadium. Four-and-a-half years after his World Cup goal in South Korea, Donovan scored perhaps his best-ever goal in the rivalry series. Donovan raced onto a loose ball and cut the Mexican backline to pieces before rounding a furious Oswaldo Sanchez to seal a—shocker alert!—2-0 win in Phoenix. The goal showcased several of Donovan’s best attributes: clever dribbling, searing pace, and composure in front of goal. The only thing Landon Donovan likes more than scoring against Mexico is scoring in tournament knockout games against Mexico. He celebrated his equalizer in the 2007 Gold Cup final alongside an equally ecstatic DaMarcus Beasley. The Yanks would go onto win 2-1. Two years later, Donovan helped guide the U.S. to yet another dos a cero qualifying win in Columbus. Here, he glided past the challenge of U.S. arch nemesis Rafael Marquez. On the field after the match, Donovan reminded the American Outlaws of the standard final score, in case they’d forgotten. In the 2011 Gold Cup final at the Rose Bowl, Donovan put the exclamation point on a wonderful team goal to put the Americans up 2-0. He gleefully celebrated the golazo with Clint Dempsey and Jonathan Bornstein. This past September, Donovan’s opportunistic goal sealed the fourth straight dos a cero over Mexico in Columbus. As the U.S. fans cheered behind him, Donovan wheeled away to strike a pose that has become all too familiar to Mexican players and fans. The win clinched qualification for the 2014 World Cup, and Donovan waved a flag for the delighted Outlaws. Knowing Donovan, he’s probably got a moment or two of magic left for tonight’s contest against Mexico. What’s your favorite Donovan-against-Mexico memory? Let us know in the comments section below. Blake Thomsen is a frequent ASN contributor. Senior management thinks you should follow him on Twitter.
April 02, 2014
April 02, 2014