Sometimes, absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder, in the case of Landon Donovan, being away from soccer may have been the best thing to happen to him.
In a international friendly against Guatemala in San Diego, Donovan would make his return in dramatic fashion in scoring his 50th in the United States Men’s National Team’s (USMNT) warm-up for the Gold Cup in a 6-0 clean sheet over Guatemala.
Donovan’s 50th goal, would come off a penalty kick at the 55th minute after being pushed down by Guatemala’s Carlos Castrillo. Donovan would net his 51st international goal coming off a chip from midfielder Stuart Holden at the 74th minute.
In scoring his 50th and 51st goals, Donovan is now one of four players in CONCACAF history to reach 50 international goals.
After taking nearly five months off from soccer and was not included in the roster for the June World Cup Qualifiers, many people began to question if Donovan should be included in the World Cup roster for next summer.
His impressive performance last night showed that Donovan is needed for the USMNT to perform at their very best.
The leadership and experience Donovan gained by playing in three World Cups will greatly help a young inexperienced USMNT in Brazil. This writer sees Donovan coming off the bench in a super sub role when the United States needs a calming presence on the field or an important goal.
His performance against Guatemala showed exactly why the USMNT need him in Brazil in 2014.