The U.S. Men’s National Team named a 22-player roster heading into Friday’s match against Ecuador, with many young and some new faces working their way into the mix.
However, the one name that jumps off the page above all others is Landon Donovan, the U.S. soccer legend who will make his final appearance with the U.S. MNT at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut.
The USA’s all-time leader in goals (57) and assists (58) will don the USA colors one last time to cap off a brilliant 15-year career with the National Team. With this finale on the horizon, players are pinpointing some of the brilliance and iconic moments that set Donovan apart.
Striker Jozy Altidore says Donovan’s biggest asset was how much he made everyone around him better.
“That’s a sign of a truly great player,” Altidore said. “Whenever I was in a good position or he felt you were in a good spot, the ball was coming. That’s something we’re all going to miss, him playing those right passes and making everyone around him better. It was the greatest element of Landon’s game to me.”
Midfielder Mix Diskerud, who played a pivotal role in the buildup toward Donovan’s goal in World Cup qualifying on Sept. 10, 2013, against Mexico, said that Donovan has had a “sixth sense” when creating scoring opportunities.
“Landon leaves us with an abundance of examples to replicate or follow up on,” Diskerud said. “He is the kind of guy who has always led by example, and I am honored to have experienced and created combinations with him.”
Donovan is coming off another milestone moment in Major League Soccer play. Donovan recorded his 136th assist during the LA Galaxy’s 3-0 win against Toronto FC on Saturday to break the all-time record held by Steve Ralston. Earlier in the year, Donovan’s brace against the Philadelphia Union (goals 135 and 136) catapulted him past Jeff Cunningham for the league’s all-time goals record.
“He pushed soccer in ways that maybe no other American player will,” Altidore said. “For him to propel the game in our country and propel the status of the league says a lot about him as a player. It has been an absolute privilege to be a part of his career.”