Yesterday marked not only the end of 2014 MLS season, but also the end of an era in American soccer. It’s been known since the All-Star break that this would be Donovan’s last season in professional football, but what wasn’t known was how he would cap his illustrious career. And as it turns out, he capped it with the most perfect of narratives: a sixth MLS Cup championship. (For those about to scroll to the comments section to tell me “It’s FIVE championships!”, LD has won six titles: four with LA and two with San Jose.)
I’ve written before about the bittersweet feelings I would feel upon the capitulation of the “Donovan Era”, and it admittedly still feels a little weird thinking about him being done. He’s my age after all, and it feels weird that anyone should be allowed to retire at 32. But make no bones about it: Landon Donovan is the best player this country has ever produced. While he’s been the subject of lots of recent scrutiny — for taking a break, for not loving the game anymore, not appreciating his privilege, etc. — he’s more than earned the curtain call he was given yesterday afternoon. While those criticisms may or may not be fair, I think the picture chosen for the latest Pic of the Week does an excellent job of capturing the joy of a man going out on top.
And for that, I’m very happy for him.