Football

Donovan to captain USMNT in sendoff fixture against Ecuador

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Jurgen Klinsmann has named Landon Donovan as captain for the US national team's friendly against Ecuador in Hartford, Conn on Friday, US Soccer has announced.

Klinsmann also revealed that Donovan will start the game but only play 30 minutes

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Excellent Career coming to an end

Donovan will play in his final match for his country, meaning he will finish with 156 caps, second only to Cobi Jones (164). He also leads the list for all time scorers for the USA with 56 and all time assists with 58. 

Donovan also represented his country in three World Cups, scoring five goals in total, before being left out of the squad for this years tournament in Brazil. A decision which that the majority of the population disagreed with. 

The decision to play Donovan in the game against Ecuador on Friday is a great tribute to the USA's greatest ever player. However, it's doubtful that the decision was Klinsmann's considering Donovan revealed at the end of last week that he hasn't spoken to his manager about the send off. It is believed that US Soccer president Sunil Gulati is the man behind the gesture.

Poor relationship with Klinsmann

Donovan and Klinsmann reportedly have a frosty relationship - not helped by the decision of Klinsmann to leave his star player out of the World Cup squad, a decision which Donovan says, still hurts. He still very much believes that had he gone to the World Cup, the US team could have gone further:

“I think there was a very tangible way I could have helped that team,” he said. “I believe in my abilities.”

Donovan was so crushed by his exclusion that he admitted that he nearly opted out of the sendoff fixture, purely, one would presume, due to Klinsmann:

“I thought about it for a while,” Donovan said. “Obviously, this summer didn’t leave the best taste in my mouth with everything that happened. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized this was something that I think would be really special, not only for me to feel and receive, but also my opportunity to say thank you....I’ve met so many people here in LA that have said, ‘We’ve booked our flight, we got our tickets, we’re going to Hartford to say goodbye to you.' For me that makes it special.”

After the fixture Donovan will switch his focus back to the MLS, where the LA Galaxy have already qualified for the playoffs and Donovan will be desperate for him and his teammates to be crowned MLS Champions before he rides off into the sunset and turns his back on what has been a sensational career. 

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Landon Donovan
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MLS

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