Landon Donovan has the scene set for a perfect end to his illustrious career.
The Los Angeles Galaxy star and arguable greatest player in the history of US soccer will suit up one final time for his club, and it’ll happen with a trophy on the line when Donovan and L.A. host the New England Revolution on Sunday at 3pm ET for the MLS Cup Final.
And there are two big questions to ask regarding the match, one that will be answered in moments and the other not until Sunday evening:
1) Are the Galaxy going to be favorites, or heavy favorites?
2) Will the retiring Donovan go out a champion?
The answer to the first question is approximately 2:1, a figure lighter than what Seattle was favored to do against L.A. in Sunday’s second leg (Win: achieved, objective? Not-so-much).
The second is far trickier than Vegas. Yes, the match is in Los Angeles, but New England has been as good as any team in MLS since acquiring Jermaine Jones (and even a bit before that).
While we’ll have plenty of time to debate all of that before Sunday, let’s hear what Donovan had to say Sunday after L.A. advanced to the final on aggregate.
“It seems perfect, yeah,” Donovan said. “But we’ve got to win it. That’s our challenge. We’re playing a team that I think is the best team in the league the last 10 or 12 games, so it’s going to be a challenge.”
At halftime at Century Link Field on Sunday, however, it was a moment that looked to be nothing more than a pipe dream. Trailing Seattle by two goals on the night and one goal on aggregate, Donovan sat in the LA locker room contemplating the fact that he may be about to go back out onto the pitch for his final 45 minutes as a professional.
“In the few minutes at halftime that I had time to ponder, I wanted to make sure that this wasn’t it,” Donovan said. “I wanted to make sure, regardless of the outcome that I put it all in and it worked out well.”
“I’m sort of just in this moment right now” Donovan said. “I just want to prepare myself for one last week and do everything I can to help this team win. I really want to go out a champion.”
So early week query: Will Donovan go out on top?