Where Are They Now? Landon Donovan

Landon Timothy Donovan was one of the great midfielder/forwards of his generation.  He was born in Redlands, California in 1982, and began his professional career in 1999.  When he retired in 2014, he was the US national team's all-time leader goals scored, and was only eight caps short of the all-time record.  He is perhaps best-known for his game-winning goal against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup. 

Since retirement, Donovan has kept busy.  Now 32 years old, Donovan has a thriving endorsement sideline, for products such as ESPN and EA Sports.  He keeps in shape by playing for his local club team. 

....sorry.  If it makes you feel better, I had such high hopes for this joke before I started writing it.  I didn't realize it was going to be my worst idea since Major League Soccerotica.

It hasn't sunk in to me yet that this could be the actual final game we see Landon Donovan play - if he and the Galaxy go nipples north against Salt Lake this weekend.  There's no disgrace in losing to Salt Lake, or Seattle, or in MLS Cup, but there's a significant chance his career could end either in front of a disappointed home crowd or to the sneers of Seattle fans.  Losing to Seattle in the Western final is the only scenario where Donovan doesn't finish his career at the StubHub Center.  Well, barring injury.  Or him changing his mind.

Here's another thing that I had no idea of, and credit to photographer extraordinaire Andy Mead for pointing this tidbit out.  When Preki joined MLS in 1996, he was older than Landon Donovan is today.  Preki played in MLS for ten seasons and retired at age 42 after two scoring titles and two MVP awards.  And all that without a single trip to Cambodia.

Of course, if Landon did unretired, he'd have to give that sweet Goal King surfboard back to Chivas USA....oh, awkward.

I realize I should be talking about the playoffs.  Despite the Crew's best efforts, these are still some sweet matchups that will be as intense as the life of a repo man.  But there's LAFC, sitting there like a comedy honeypot.

For those of you who missed it, and didn't see the National Weather Service warning of a cloud of bewilderment emanating from Southern California last week, Don Garber's threat of a new ownership group in Los Angeles for what I assume will not be called "LAzarus FC" was carried out.  Said ownership group was rumored to be led by Vincent Tan, the biggest villain in Wales since Edward Longshanks.  MLS overdelivered on that score, including not only Tan, but what the old Benny Hill show would have called "a host of your favorite stars!"

The cachet of such names as Mia Hamm and Magic Johnson is so great that I, for one, considered that their cost of entry into this investment opportunity was the mere light of their countenances.  But then the names kept rolling out - it's not usual to see an ownership group outnumber the roster of the team it owns - and I, for one, began to wonder who was going to be convinced.  How many potential season ticket holders were watching that presentation and going "I dunno...I dunno...I dunno...ooh, Tony Robbins.  He wouldn't steer me wrong."

And how are future ownership groups supposed to compete?  You can't get that kind of star power anywhere else.  Unless the Butthole Surfers will buy into the San Antonio Scorpions MLS team when the time comes. 

Grant Wahl had an exclusive on the formation of LAFC, and, well, the story is as convoluted as you would expect herding upwards of twenty celebrity cats would be.  Henry Nguyen was sufficiently impressed with Don Garber's sales pitch, which consisted of...hello, what's this?

Nguyen asked them what they thought about pursuing an MLS team. "They were like, ‘Wait a second: First of all, there's no relegation? All right, you got me!'"

....as I was saying, LAFC is my new all-time favorite team ever.  Go Zombies!