The U.S. men's national team opened World Cup qualifying with a 3-1 victory over Antigua and Barbuda in rainy conditions in Tampa, Fla., and while the performance was not as dominant as most may have expected, the Americans will take the three points and look forward as the road to Brazil continues. Here are player ratings from the match (as always, based on a scaled of 0-10):
My three thoughts ahead of the U.S.'s opening World Cup qualifier against Antigua and Barbuda in Tampa on Friday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN, Galavision, ESPN3.com):
There are ideal ways to kick off a five-game stretch, and then there is what the U.S. men's national team was able to accomplish in its 5-1 thumping of Scotland Saturday night. Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones led the way, which is reflected in the U.S. player ratings from the match:
Three thoughts after the U.S.'s 5-1 victory against Scotland on Saturday in Jacksonville:
My three thoughts heading into Saturday's U.S.-Scotland friendly in Jacksonville, Fla. (8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, Galavisión):
ORLANDO, Fla. -- It hit me for the first time listening to Landon Donovan on Wednesday: the U.S.'s all-time leading scorer may be closer to the end of his soccer career than any of us thought. Donovan turned 30 in March, and he's back with the national team here for the first time in eight months ahead of the U.S.'s five games between May 26 and June 12.
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- You could call it Fantastic Friday for fans of U.S. Soccer: two games, one men's and one women's, separated by thousands of miles, that for different reasons carry a great deal of significance.
These days, Everton needs Landon Donovan a lot more than the Los Angeles Galaxy captain needs the Premier League club.
CARSON, Calif. -- The symmetry of it all was simply outstanding, almost too storybook to believe it could occur by happenstance.
Know your Major League Soccer -- Five things we learned from Week 26:
From Landon Donovan's standout performance to Teal Bunbury's slump-busting goal, here are five thoughts from Saturday's early MLS games:
U.S. player ratings vs. Mexico (scale of 1-10).
If we hatch predictions based solely on recent form or on the talismanic presence of a certain, burgeoning Mexican scoring sensation, Saturday's Gold Cup final really should be no contest.
HOUSTON -- They are the three most famous players in U.S. men's soccer -- Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Freddy Adu -- and on a night when their team needed them most, they combined on a goal that helped each player overcome a personal challenge in addition to the one from a pesky Panama team in a hard-fought Gold Cup semifinal.
HOUSTON -- Three thoughts after the U.S.' 1-0 victory against Panama put the Yanks into Saturday's Gold Cup final:
HOUSTON -- U.S. player ratings in its 1-0 win over Panama (scale of 1-10).
HOUSTON -- Things are lining up brilliantly for a U.S. soccer team still looking to put things right after some unappealing results. In the Twitter universe, you'd hashtag this one #WeekOfRedemption.
It happens like clockwork. Every year, Landon Donovan's name is linked with some European soccer team.
Five things you should know about Week 9 in MLS:
Five things you should know about Week 8 in MLS:
Some random thoughts coming off the weekend action around the world:
From Landon Donovan's double to Benny Feilhaber's New England debut, here are five thoughts from Saturday's MLS action ...
Rating the U.S. team's performance against Argentina:
The final days of 2010 are upon us, so it's natural to look back on the year in sports -- or, in my case, the year of soccer. It was a memorable year if you're a fútbol fan, and it was for me too. Here are some of my stories behind the stories, my memories of chasing the game in 2010:
The national team just capped a busy 2010, but Bob Bradley's boys return to the field next week. The young ones, at least. Major League Soccer just decided its championship, but the teeny break closes quickly; the combine, draft and training camps are just around the corner.
"We remain the closest of friends and will always be important parts of each other's lives," the former couple say
ZURICH -- Still holding his chopsticks toward the end of a sushi lunch at the Hotel Metropol on Tuesday, Landon Donovan pondered the significance of what it means to be performing for the U.S. in a new way here this week. On Wednesday, Donovan will be part of a four-man team (including former President Bill Clinton and the actor Morgan Freeman) in the U.S.' formal bid presentation in front of the FIFA Executive Committee for the right to host the 2022 World Cup.
Know your Major League Soccer -- Five things we learned from Week 25:
HOUSTON -- A sellout crowd of some 70,000 is expected for the MLS All-Stars vs. Manchester United here at Reliant Stadium on Wednesday (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2, Galavisión). It's only an exhibition game, of course, but it's also a chance to generate some buzz for soccer after the World Cup for MLS and for United -- which may send out Mexican star Javier (Chicharito) Hernández for his first action with the club.
"I will not be a dad any time soon, which is good news for me," the American soccer star says
Vote for your favorite futbol star who's leaping from the pitch to fatherhood
And which ones don't? Take our poll before you move to Canada!
Fresh from playing in the World Cup in South Africa, U.S. soccer player Landon Donovan made an appearance this week at the MTV and TeenNick's "It's Up to Us! 2010 NCVS Youth Forum."
"She's meant to this whole process," says the soccer star of his estranged wife
The soccer star, who may have fathered a child with a British woman, returns to the U.S. to tape Letterman
Plus, a source tells PEOPLE, "he didn't do anything wrong; he did not cheat"
The U.S. soccer star, who is separated from his actress wife, says he will provide support if the claim is true
CNN's Alex Thomas talks to U.S. World Cup hero Landon Donovan and coach Bob Bradley after their win against Algeria.
The two shared an emotional phone call after he scored Wednesday's game-winning goal
Landon Donovan talks with CNN's American Morning about his World Cup winning goal against Algeria.
He's played with Beckham, married an actress and helped keep Team USA alive in the 2010 World cup!
Did we just become a soccer nation?
When an excerpt from Grant Wahl's book, The Beckham Experiment, appeared in Sports Illustrated last year, it exposed a rift between David Beckham and Los Angeles Galaxy teammate Landon Donovan. In a new afterword for the paperback edition of the book, Wahl examines how Beckham and Donovan moved past the controversy.
After two months at SI.com, I think I'm just about due a Mailbag column. The first thing to tackle is the mountain of mail I received after picking my Premier League Team of the Season, particularly on the absence of one man: Cesc Fabregas.
Three months is a long time in soccer. Long enough to wreck a reputation or two, certainly long enough to resurrect it. Landon Donovan has crammed all of that into a couple of short-loan spells at Bayern Munich (January-March 2009) and Everton (January-March 2010) in the space of a year, when the U.S. midfielder's two excursions into European football resulted in wildly differing outcomes.
Know your Major League Soccer -- Five things to take away from Week 8:
Everyone can now exhale and breathe a moment after this Charlie Davies decision and the residual unpleasantness. But that doesn't mean tough choices aren't ahead.
U.S. soccer star Landon Donovan has tested positive for the H1N1 flu virus, Donovan told SI.com on Thursday night.
There will be thousands of guesses but only one man truly knows.
With a week left on the Premier League clock, thoughts are starting to turn to the wheeling and dealing that the coming months will bring. Fernando Torres' scowl from the stands at Anfield on Sunday, as he watched his teammates surrender to Chelsea's endeavor, suggested his agent's phone would be buzzing before the weekend was up. The order in which the top six or seven teams finish -- not to mention the World Cup -- will help shape this summer's wish lists, so for now let's consider how the last year's signings have made an impact -- or not.
Struggling Hull City kept its Premiership hopes alive with a crucial 2-0 win over Fulham on Saturday. Of interest to U.S. fans is that striker Jozy Altidore continues to play a big part in the Tigers' recent revival, drawing a penalty after Fulham's Chris Smalling was forced to rugby tackle him to prevent a sure goal. On loan from Villarreal, Altidore's grown immensely as a player this season, particularly as he continues to acclimatize to the Premiership. His hold-up play is far better, his tactical awareness and movement has improved, and his ability to draw fouls is becoming top-notch. Combine that with his inherent physical power and he's been giving veteran Premiership defenders all they can handle lately.
LIVERPOOL, England -- It was, I have to say, one of the cooler goose-bump moments I have witnessed in a long time. As Landon Donovan took what was probably a goodbye lap after Everton's 5-1 win over Hull City on Sunday, the home fans at Goodison Park stood and cheered the 28-year-old American who came here a European washout and stands ready to depart, just 10 weeks later, as a beloved figure in this soccer-mad town.
Before both sides of Major League Soccer's labor dispute went public recently with their gripes and disclosed some of the main issues at stake, the veil of silence over negotiations allowed many to hope that things behind the curtain weren't all that bad. They optimistically imagined that the two sides were conferring in a civilized manner and that appropriate compromises would be made for the greater good of a game that is still looking to grow in this region.
U.S. star midfielder Landon Donovan has another big English Premier League game for Everton on Saturday against Manchester United (7:45 a.m. ET, ESPN2), which means that it will be one more chance for Donovan to continue his statement-making form during a 10-week offseason loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy.
I doubt Oliver Wendell Holmes was a soccer fan, but in thinking about this week's column, I recalled a great quote of his: "The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving."
Every team at this summer's World Cup has key players on which it depends. But some squads have players who influence the game so much that their team simply isn't the same without them. These are the "untouchables" -- the guys for whom coaches, fans and even teammates at times say little prayers in hopes they'll stay healthy. Here are some of those players whose teams need them to be at their very best.
By nearly all accounts, Landon Donovan was a hit in his English Premier League debut last weekend. The all-time U.S. national team's scoring leader played 68 solid minutes for Everton and served up the corner kick that lead to the Toffees' first goal in their 2-2 draw with Arsenal.
Landon Donovan's proposed loan move to Everton isn't official yet, but it does seem clear the Los Angeles Galaxy star is headed back to Europe somewhere to keep in form during the MLS offseason.
MLS and LA Galaxy footballer Landon Donovan discusses his views on the teams competing in next year's World Cup.
During MLS Cup week in Seattle, much off-field buzz swirled about a possible Landon Donovan move to Europe, as if the Los Angeles Galaxy captain heading overseas in January during the next European transfer window was not only a foregone conclusion, but the best thing he could do at this point in his career.
SEATTLE -- Still dubious David Beckham is making an impact in this country? More than 40,000 tickets have been sold for Sunday's MLS Cup final between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Real Salt Lake at Qwest Field (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, Galavisión), with another 2,000 made available late in the week. That would mark the biggest crowd for MLS' season-capper in seven years and the third-biggest ever for a game not featuring the local team.
SEATTLE -- As the reborn Los Angeles Galaxy prepare to take on Real Salt Lake in the MLS Cup final on Sunday (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, Galavisión), I can't help but think back to a scene in Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium on Sept. 13, 2008.
SANDY, Utah -- So who has been the standout for U.S. Soccer this past year? That's the question I need to answer, as my ballot arrived just this past week for the Honda Player of Year, voted on annually by the American soccer media.
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad -- It's tough to feel a sense of urgency when you're sitting in a luxury hotel overlooking the Caribbean Sea on a glorious late-summer afternoon. But it's still possible, especially if you're Tim Howard, the goalkeeper whose U.S. national team needs a victory in Wednesday's World Cup qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago (7 p.m. ET, ESPN Classic, TeleFutura) to feel good about its chances of reaching South Africa 2010.
Our weekly dose of Major League Soccer quick takes, plotlines to watch and Power Rankings.
MEXICO CITY -- As fate would have it, Landon Donovan scored his first international goal against Mexico, in a 2-0 friendly win in 2000. Unsurprisingly, he's been reviled down here ever since.
The day was Oct. 23, 2008. Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan was sitting across from me as we ate lunch at Petros, a yuppified Greek restaurant in Manhattan Beach, Calif. With the cold-blooded confidence of a man who knew exactly what he was saying, Donovan was in the midst of calmly eviscerating his teammate, David Beckham, for what Donovan saw as Beckham's lack of leadership and commitment at the end of the 2008 MLS season.
The Rules of Engagement actress and her husband are separated after two years of marriage
Monday was the first day David Beckham trained with the Los Angeles Galaxy since leaving on his self-created, long-term loan deal to AC Milan, and already he's playing the victim.
This article appears in the July 6, 2009, issue of Sports Illustrated magazine.
Landon Donovan is back in Major League Soccer, and he had a message on Sunday for anyone who thinks that he failed in Germany for a third time: There will be no Euro hangover this year. He picked up where he left off last season, scoring two goals against D.C. United and making it clear that he intends to shake off any disappointment from not getting a contract offer from Bayern Munich, where he was on loan for three months.
CARSON, Calif. -- It's MLS preseason here in Southern California, and there are several things to report:
Landon Donovan has gone overseas to try his luck in Germany three times over the course of his professional career. And for a third time, he may be heading back home in disappointment. Bayern Munich's recent struggles have made it almost certain that Donovan again will return to Major League Soccer rather than stay on with a Bundesliga club.
Like his Galaxy teammate David Beckham, Landon Donovan says he wants to stay in Europe permanently after his loan deal expires. The question: Should MLS and the Galaxy fulfill his wish? The answer: Not just yet.
The men's national team embarks on a very busy 2009 with a lot of players in contention for spots on the 2010 World Cup roster. There's a full slate of games on tap, but something less than a full plate of players.
1. The U.S. will win in the Estadio Azteca for the first time. History is actually on Bob Bradley's side when the U.S. plays at Mexico in 2010 World Cup qualifying on Aug. 12. The last two times an American coach took a team down to its personal hell of a venue for the first time were the last two times the U.S. had a real shot at a result. Steve Sampson guided the team to its only point at the Azteca in 1997 with a 0-0 draw, and Bruce Arena's best and only real shot of a win there came two years later in his first trip to Mexico City, as Mexico won 1-0 in extra time of a Confederations Cup '99 semifinal. Bradley will prepare his team well, the Americans will extend their dominance over El Tri onto Mexican soil and Landon Donovan will become an even greater villain by scoring the game-winning goal.
For a few weeks, at least, Bayern Munich and MLS have been discussing what might be done with Landon Donovan: a short-term loan, a longer-term loan, an outright transfer, a transfer with a loan-back clause, etc.
It was pushing midnight on Saturday when U.S. forward Landon Donovan and I arrived at Cuban Revolution, a kitschy hipster hangout in downtown Providence, R.I., with huge pop-art murals on the walls -- Castro, JFK, Che -- and the lefty singer Manu Chao blasting on the stereo.
Not too long ago, the U.S. hung a big number on Guatemala, but by all indications it won't happen Wednesday in Guatemala City when the nations kick off the semifinal round of CONCACAF 2010 World Cup qualifying (10 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and Galavision). The U.S. has won only once in nine trips to the Central American nation of 13 million people, and that lone 1-0 victory came 20 years ago on a goal by Jeff Agoos, a rarity indeed. It tied 0-0 three years ago and 1-1 in 2000 on its last two qualifying visits.
U.S. national-team coach Bob Bradley, in the wake of his team's 2-0 loss to England, has named a 24-man roster for the June 4 friendly in Spain that includes all 17 European-based players who were on the roster for the England game.
Three years ago, during preparations for a match against England, U.S. striker Eddie Johnson suffered an ankle injury from which he, and the national team, have yet to recover.
Of the 18 players named to the U.S. roster to face Poland Wednesday in Krakow (3:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel), perhaps the most obvious selection is the one who should have been omitted: Landon Donovan.
CARSON, Calif. -- It was an inaugural SuperLiga final that had just about everything. A surreal last-second bicycle-kick equalizer. A goalkeeper (to say nothing of the re-injured David Beckham) fighting back post-game tears. A money penalty-taker failing to convert the trophy-winning spot kick. And, not least, a press conference carpeted by F-bombs from (who else?) a mild-mannered Canadian.
Poor Mexico. The most soccer-crazed country in North America is blessed with a thriving league, a rich talent base and such passionate national-team fans that they turn NFL stadiums into sold-out green-and-white fiestas. But no matter how often the Mexicans claim style-point superiority, they just can't beat the U.S. north of the border. Nine times this decade the teams have squared off on Uncle Sam's soil. Not once has El Tri prevailed. "This time I thought we had them," muttered Mexican forward Jared Borgetti after his team squandered the lead and lost 2-1 in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final at Chicago's Soldier Field on Sunday. "I thought we had them."
OK, all you pessimistic doomsdayers out there (I'm looking at you, Jonah Freedman), you can settle down now and go back to your games of D&D. Or your oenology studies. Or whatever it is you do when you're not complaining about the U.S. national team's failure to run up the score on some CONCACAF midget.
If Major League Soccer were to pinpoint the moment it hit its target audience, it would be around 12:45 a.m. EST on Jan. 17.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The strangest thing happened in the U.S.'s 2-0 win over Mexico: An interim coach (U.S. manager Bob Bradley) acted like he had already won the job, while a supposedly secure coach (Mexico's Hugo Sánchez) acted like ... an interim coach.