Landon Donovan will make one last appearance for the United States. The 32-year-old, who announced that he would retire from the sport after the MLS season, will play for the Stars and Stripes on October 10 against Ecuador in a final farewell for the country's all-time leading scorer and assist man.
The match, at Rentschler Field in Hartford, CT, will be the Americans' first home match since the World Cup and first home match since Donovan said he would be calling it quits. That the contest is right down the street from ESPN's Bristol headquarters is probably not a coincidence either, as the Worldwide Leader will get to televise Donovan's going away party with all the pomp and circumstance he deserves.
Donovan, of course, was left off of the Americans' World Cup roster. It was a controversial decision and brought up questions about his relationship with manager Jurgen Klinsmann. That presumed rift led some to speculate that Donovan would not get one final match with the U.S., but he will get it and, if Klinsmann's tweet was any indication, he fully supports the move.
Donovan doesn't just lead the U.S. in goals and assists -- he was the face of the team for a decade. No one has ever been as linked to American soccer as Donovan, nor has anyone been lauded for its success, as well as blamed for its failures, as him.
American soccer has come a long way in the last 20 years, but Donovan was its first true star. He's the first player to really deserve a big sendoff, from a quality, importance and fan adoration standpoint. That the U.S. finally has a player who should have a testimonial is a big step for this country, and it's only right that Donovan gets it.
Fans around the country will be looking up flights and tickets to get to Hartford and bid adieu to Landon. It's been amazing run, and he, as well as the fans, will get a proper goodbye.