• Friday Jul 26, 2013

    Donovan’s Gold Cup legend continues to grow

    By Michael Lewis

     ARLINGTON, Texas -- The CONCACAF Gold Cup was supposed to be a proving ground for Landon Donovan in his attempt to get back on the United States’ roster radar for upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

    The competition has traditionally been good him from both personal and team perspectives.  He tops all-time scoring list with 18 goals and has lifted the trophy three times.

    Donovan, though, took a self-imposed three-month sabbatical from the sport earlier this year to recharge his physical and mental batteries. In his return to the national team this month, the 31-year-old has put on one of the most memorable performances in the Gold Cup’s 22-year history.

    His production through five matches has been staggering. Donovan has had a hand in 12 of the Americans' 19 goals -- five goals, which leaves him level with teammate Chris Wondolowski and Panama's Gabriel Torres for the tournament lead, and a competition-best seven assists.

    In a rematch of the 2005 final, the U.S. will play Panama for the crown at Soldier Field in Chicago Sunday.

    "You can tell he's playing with a lot of confidence," said midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, who set up both of Donovan's goals in a 3-1 semifinal win over Honduras. "And a goal-scorer when you're able to find your own spots in the box, you make your own luck, so to speak. He's finding those spots."

    Indeed, he is…plus, much more.

    "He's proving a point that he's hungry to come back into our picture," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "Every game he wants to prove it and show that, and he's doing very well."

    Whether the LA Galaxy star has regained a spot on the qualifying roster in his effort to play in a fourth World Cup, Klinsmann isn't telling -- at least not yet.

    "I told him in our conversations that my benchmark is the best Landon Donovan ever," Klinsmann said. "I'm not taking anything less than that."

    Donovan has been savoring every minute. In fact, he had played every minute of every game before Wondolowski replaced him in the 72nd minute of Wednesday’s semifinal.

    “I’m enjoying myself,” Donovan said, who is only the player to score at least one goal in six different Gold Cups. “I think it’s the most relaxed I’ve ever felt and the most enjoyable it’s felt in a long time. When that’s the case, I play well.”

    If that remains the case Sunday, Donovan will have proven yet another point...to himself and the soccer world.

  • Champions League

    Related News



RELATED NEWS YOU'LL LIKE

Mexico int’l Jonathan dos Santos joins LA Galaxy

The LA Galaxy announced Thursday the acquisition of Mexico international Jonathan dos Santos from Spain’s Villarreal.

CONCACAF Statement

In regards to the election of the French Guiana National Team to field player Florent Malouda in this evening's Gold Cup match against the Honduras National Team...

U.S. ready to meet familiar foe Panama once again

There will be no secrets when the United States faces Panama in the Group B opener for each in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Saturday at Nissan Stadium.

French Guiana’s Leon focuses on Gold Cup

As French Guiana makes final preparations for its first appearance at a Gold Cup, it’s easy to find similarities to the 2013 Martinique .

Gold Cup Rewind: Fabulous goal lifts U.S. over Mexico for 2007 title

The series continues Thursday with the 2007 final between the United States and Mexico.