Year in Review: Landon Donovan's Season Went from Retirement Rumors to Record Books

By Phil Naegely
Landon Donovan
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

After winning the 2012 MLS Cup with the LA Galaxy, midfielder Landon Donovan mulled over retirement and finally decided against en route to a successful 2013 season with the Galaxy and the US Men’s National Team. Likewise, Donovan showed he made the right decision not retiring and that he still had a lot in the tank.

As mentioned, Donovan took time during the offseason and it looked like he was going to retire. He almost took too much time deciding and many people were saying he needed to choose already. His delayed decision prevented Donovan from being game fit to appear in the Galaxy’s season opener. On March 30, Donovan was subbed in and made his first appearance of the season.

From that first 2013 game action, his season took off from there. Donovan was left off USMNT’s 2014 World Cup qualifying due to his late return to the Galaxy and not being 100 percent game fit. However, Jurgen Klinsmann made a wise decision withholding Donovan’s call-up until the 2013 Gold Cup.

At the 2013 Gold Cup, USA dominated their way through the group stages and eventually defeated Panama in the final. Throughout the way, Donovan stole the show from responding classy to bitter El Salvador fans to winning 2013 Gold Cup MVP.

In between Gold Cup action and then being called up again in September, LA inked Donovan to a new contract to keep the star midfielder in MLS. Because of a stellar and dominating Gold Cup performance, Donovan was an obvious option for September USMNT call-ups. He had proved his worth and showed he could still contribute to USMNT’s success. Throughout qualifying USMNT shined overall and successfully qualified for the 2014 World Cup.

On the LA Galaxy and MLS side of things, Donovan kept tearing apart defenses and finding the net. With the season winding down, Donovan wrote himself into the record books. On Oct. 6 and in between qualifying stages, Donovan stepped up big in the Galaxy’s 5-0 win over Chivas USA. In the win, Donovan scored two goals tying Jeff Cunningham for the MLS scoring record with 144 goals. Between spending time with USMNT and Galaxy’s poor playoff effort, Donovan has yet to find goal 145. However, that should come in 2014 barring any major injury.

Overall Donovan added more accolades and trophies to his ever growing list. If 2013 was any indication, 2014 will be just as good, if not better. With USMNT preparing for Brazil and a tough group stage, Donovan’s efforts will be key come June.

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