It’s the summer of Landon Donovan! A new, more playful version, apparently


What a summer this is turning into for once-and-again U.S national team golden boy game-changer Landon Donovan.

He’s scoring goals, arranging more of them for appreciative teammates, making general mayhem for Gold Cup opposition … and showing some personality along the way, too!

It’s not like Donovan has been some shrinking violet in terms of public persona; he’s been the absolute face of U.S. Soccer for more than a decade, generally willing to participate in media sessions, ad and marketing campaigns, public service announcements, etc.

But the Galaxy and national team all-time leading scorer generally handles his public business with a business-like delivery. He’s a serious sort, almost a bit brooding, even. That may sound a bit like a criticism, but it really isn’t. After all, the guy has always been squeaky clean, and isn’t that saying a lot in a time when guys named Armstrong, Braun, Rodriguez and Hernandez are doing everything they can prove what kind of detestable figures big-time athletes can be?

In other words, if Donovan leans a bit to the serious side, that doesn’t even rate as misdemeanor in the court of public opinion.

(MORE: Man of the Match vs. El Salvador, Landon Donovan)

So it’s nice to see Donovan folding a bit more “personality” into his personal mix, demonstrating a bit of a playful side. We haven’t seen much of that since the very young and blindingly blonde Donovan tore off his shirt to reveal a sports bra a dozen years ago in a famous MLS All-Star shenanigan.

Yes, he did  that. There is photographic evidence and everything right here.

Sunday, I personally enjoyed the “Shawshank-Andy Dufresne” goal celebration. (If you don’t get the reference, ask any male over 30, who has seen that movie at least 15 times, I guarantee.)

LA Galaxy blogger Adam Serrano seemed to prefer Donovan’s playful sideline bit with the projectile sunglasses thrown toward him in Baltimore. The referee’s assistant, however, clearly did not find as much humor in the moment.

See it and read about it all here.


VIDEO: Marco Verratti plays a brilliant pass to Eder for Italy goal

PALERMO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06:  Marco Verratti of Italy in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Italy and Bulgaria on September 6, 2015 in Palermo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
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Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.

The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.

The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.

Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.


Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.

Agent: Liverpool contacted Klopp only after Rodgers firing

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09:  Jurgen Klopp arrives to be unveiled as the new manager of Liverpool FC at a press conference at Anfield on October 9, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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As soon as Brendan Rodgers was dismissed by Liverpool on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp’s name was tossed around as the likely successor to the then-vacant Liverpool managerial position.

However, according to Klopp’s representatve Marc Kosicke, Liverpool did not make contact with the German until after Rodgers had been officially let go.

“The first call from Liverpool came after the dismissal as coach of Rodgers,” Kosicke told Bild. “Before Liverpool there were naturally quite a few inquiries. But Jurgen always asked me not to take it any further.”

Club management was less committal than Klopp’s rep, but did say they had their eye on the German for some time. “We have learned to keep certain matters confidential. We had a meeting recently with Jurgen that he has talked about and I don’t want to talk too much about these conversations. But we have thought about him for a long time and everyone who knows football knows he is an outstanding manager.”

It’s relatively hard to believe Liverpool would have canned Rodgers without knowing for sure that a top-level target such as Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti were on board to replace him. It also would mean discussions of the contract terms and logistics would have moved at lightning speed, with just four days between the Rodgers dismissal and Klopp’s official unveiling.