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Throwback Thursday: Landon Donovan goes Hat Trick Rick on Ecuador

His 2007 hat trick was the difference in Tampa.

Ecuador v United States Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

It’s Throwback Thursday, and this week we go back in time to March 25, 2007, when the United States Men’s National Team took on Ecuador in Tampa, Florida. The team was in preparation for that summer’s Copa America, where they were one of two invitees to participate in the CONMEBOL tournament in Venezuela.

But, this sunny day was conquered by one man: Landon Donovan. Donovan would assert himself early and often against Ecaudor. It started just 35 seconds into the match, when Donovan took a failed clearance attempt from just outside the box and smoked a ball into the net past the Ecuadorean goalkeeper.

Ecuador would equalize in the 11th minute with a goal of their own, and the 1-1 score would carry into the 2nd half. There, Landon Donovan took over in 2 glorious minutes. In the 66th minute, Brian Ching fed Donovan with a pass at midfield to break free of the defender. It was a race to the 18, where Donovan calmly juked the goalkeeper and slotted the shot home for his second on the day.

Finally, soon after the restart, Donovan was fed a great ball by DaMarcus Beasley. He took that and blasted a shot into the upper corner from just outside the box. Boom, hat trick. It was a rousing end to the scoring, and the USMNT would go on to win 3-1.

Landon Donovan’s day in Tampa was one of the more memorable performances in U.S. Soccer history. For arguably the greatest player in USMNT history, it was a day where he took over against a tough team and showed that he had the tools to be one of the legends of U.S. Soccer.

Start your day with some highlights from Landon Donovan’s terrific day against Ecuador!