Landon Donovan has been called many things in his mostly storied career. After netting a game-winning goal in the World Cup last summer, some labeled him an American hero. Following a heated match last weekend, one MLS rival referred to him as a “prick.”
But call the L.A. Galaxy forward whatever you want. The fact remains that he’s one of the best soccer players in the world. And Donovan, the all-time leader in goals and assists for the U.S. men’s national team, will showcase his talents tonight at PPL Park in Chester.
The Galaxy, standing atop the Western Conference standings at 4-2-4, defeated the Union 1-0 on April 2 in L.A. The last time the Galaxy visited Philadelphia was in 2010, when they defeated the expansion Union, 1-0.
“We enjoyed it a lot last year. Obviously, winning helps that,” said Donovan yesterday. “For us that have played in this league for a long time, to play in a stadium that’s soccer-specific and then play in front of real crowds, in what we call real games, makes a big difference for us as players.”
The 11-year MLS veteran knows about the city’s harsh sports reputation, but praised the fans for supporting their team.
“Growing up you always hear about Philly sports fans with the Eagles, Flyers … and the Phillies obviously, and I think we all kind of expected the same, and they haven’t disappointed,” Donovan said. “I played with a number of guys from Philly and they have that same passion and enthusiasm for Philly sports. It’s been good for us to have a team like that in our league. We need more passion like that.”
But sorry ladies, no Beckham
There will no gawking at a shirtless David Beckham this time. The L.A. Galaxy star midfielder didn’t even make the trip to Philadelphia.
“We are resting David right now. We have three games in a week, and we’ve decided to rest him,” L.A. manager Bruce Arena said. “It’s always difficult. It’s the nature of things on how scheduling goes … it is what it is.”