The Union hasn’t had much luck this year, and they had the foul fortune of playing the Galaxy, whose Landon Donovan was very pissed off by the fact that he was cut from the U. S. World Cup team.
By Mary Cunningham
Coming off in the 82nd minute after scoring his second of two goals Sunday that helped the Galaxy beat the Union, 4-1, Donovan walked off the field a new man. He was the all-time top scorer in Major League Soccer.
The journey for the record had stretched eight months, since he tied Jeff Cunningham’s record of 134 in October.
But setting the record had even more meaning after Donovan endured probably the most difficult week of his career.
On Thursday, Coach Juergen Klinsmann cut Donovan, who has been the face of U.S. soccer for the last 12 years, from the U.S. World Cup team.
Donovan, a three-time World Cup veteran, said he was surprised and disappointed by the decision.
He thought he was fit. He thought he had performed better than other players at camp. He thought he could even compete for a starting position.
“I’m sad,” he said then. “I wanted to go, I really wanted to go.”
“It has been a long week,” he said. “It is hard not to make it about me. I don’t necessarily want it to be that way, but I’ve sacrificed a lot to be in the position I am in. I was very happy for myself. I’ve dedicated a lot to this and I think I deserve what happened today.
“It is incredible. You have no idea how many messages I have received, literally thousands of messages from people around the country and around the world.
“I want to get back to enjoying football because this week I had moments where I fell out of love with it.”
And on Sunday, he put any doubt about his ability to rest.
It took Donovan, 32, less than two minutes to put his stamp on the game, setting up Leonardo’s header for a 1-0 lead.
But the highlight came in the 49th minute, when Donovan tapped in a pass from Robbie Keane.
The stadium erupted. Donovan fell to his knees as the crowd of 21,000, which included his parents and sister, burst into chants of “USA! USA!”
“It’s been a long week,” Donovan said. “It’s been a week where I had moments where I fell out of love with [soccer] a little bit and I want to make sure I keep enjoying it.”
In the 64th minute, Keane took advantage when Sheanon Williams mishandled the ball in Philadelphia territory and scored to put the Galaxy ahead, 3-0.
But Donovan wasn’t done. In the 81st minute, he took a pass from Keane on a counterattack and scored.
Maurice Edu, who was also cut from the World Cup team Thursday, scored for the Union on a penalty kick in the 88th minute.
“All day today my mind was wandering and thinking where else I could be today, but I kept coming back to being present and enjoy this game,” Donovan said.