Landon Donovan may have called time on international football on Friday night, but he still has much to play for in the final two months of his club career.
With Seattle Sounders FC's Cascadia slip-up at home to Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the LA Galaxy look set to claim Major League Soccer's Supporters' Shield, but personal glory is also on the line for Donovan.
A second time?
The former San Jose Earthquakes man claimed the division's Most Valuable Player award in 2009, and must surely be in the running to do so again this year.
Having been snubbed by Jurgen Klinsmann for the United States' World Cup squad, and without a goal in the opening seven matches of the 2014 season, few would have predicted such a turnaround for the seemingly waning star.
Donovan's form immediately improved upon his omission from the national team, but it was the announcement of his impending retirement that inspired the 32-year-old to produce a breathtaking streak that has led the Galaxy to the brink of silverware.
In his last 21 appearances, he has notched ten goals and provided 17 assists, breaking multiple records in the process.
Teammate Robbie Keane will also be in the running for MVP honours, along with the Sounders' Obafemi Martins and the New England Revolution's Lee Nguyen, but Donovan looks likely to be the man whose performances will decide the outcome of a frantic title race.
Different to Giggs
For a player of such calibre, a solitary success in the category is baffling, and this term now represents a final opportunity to double his tally.
Unlike Ryan Giggs' 2008/09 PFA Player of the Year accolade though, Donovan's nomination would be based on his recent displays, rather than nostalgia and a realisation that such a significant figure deserves more reward.
The Welshman enjoyed a trophy-littered career and was an immense talent, but he did little in that campaign to justify selection over Cristiano Ronaldo or Fernando Torres.
For the Galaxy man, however, he has at least proven himself worthy of inclusion in the discussion. This may be an award for seasonal showings, but in this instance the argument for Donovan must surely be given extra weight.
No man has done more for the sport in the States, and this prize would be a modest but rightful return.
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