This is part 2 of a six-part documentary on retiring LA Galaxy playmaker Landon Donovan leading up to his final home regular season Major League Soccer game Sunday against the Seattle Sounders in Carson.
A six-part documentary series documenting Landon Donovan’s career will be released daily through Sunday’s showdown with the Seattle Sounders by MLS and Copper Pot Pictures (makers of “Kei,” the documentary about Sierra Leone refugee Kei Kamara who moved to Lawndale) as told by the likes of Bruce Arena, Tim Cahill, Todd Dunivant, John Ellinger, Julie Foudy, Chris Klein, David Moyes, Richard Motzkin, Paul Pabst, Rob Stone, Taylor Twellman and Grant Wahl.
He knows his stats, whether it’s soccer around the world or Major League Soccer. Players, teams, goals, assists, standings, win streaks, he’s pretty tuned in with all of it.
When it comes to his own growing file of numbers, he will promptly change the subject to doing anything to help his team win. One of his favorite go-to answers is, paraphrasing, “I’d rather not score and win than score and lose.”
He’ll still put that out there in the coming weeks as the Galaxy continue their mad dash for a fifth MLS Cup, one that will signify the send-off for Donovan and his brilliant career.
But a couple of informal chats with Donovan revealed that he still has eyes on some numbers, and might have become just a little more interested in some of those he was not aware of.
“That would make a good story,” Donovan said with a twinkle in his eye.
Of course, publicly he’ll take the “When all is said and done” approach.
Heading into Wednesday’s game, Donovan has 143 MLS goals (No. 1 all-time) and 131 assists (No. 2 behind Steve Ralston’s 135). He was asked if he was aware of any other MLS player who had a career double-triple (more than 100 goals and assists) and he came up with a couple of names, but he was certain of Jaime Moreno.
Sure enough, Moreno is the only other MLS player to hit that milestone with 133 goals and 102 assists.
With his penalty-kick goal against Colorado Friday, Donovan passed Jeff Cunningham for most career game-winning goals (41). He looked a little resigned to that mark not lasting long, since San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski has 34. Curiously, though, Wondo has none this season.
An obscure stat that not even Donovan was aware of is game-winning assists, and Donovan is on the verge of knocking that one out of Ralston’s hands. With four this year, Donovan has 40 in his career, one behind Ralston.
“I should have passed the ball on the PK,” Donovan joked about his goal against Colorado.
But closing in is Houston’s Brad Davis, who has 36. Davis has three this season, but he is older than Donovan and isn’t passing to Robbie Keane or Gyasi Zardes, so we’ll see.
— Chivas USA (@cdchivasusa) September 4, 2014
Veteran defender Carlos Bocanegra, 35, an Upland native who has made 30 appearances for Chivas USA over the last two seasons, has announced his retirement effective at the end of the MLS season.
Bocanegra has missed the half dozen MLS games because of concussion.
“I’m still hungry for the game and I want to play, but unfortunately you can’t play forever,” he said in a statement released by the club. “I was thinking about this in the offseason, and it took me about six months to come to a final decision.
“The timing is right for me,”added the UCLA product. “I’ve known for a little while now in my mind and in my heart. I’m happy with it, and I’m looking forward to the new challenges.”
Bocanegra did not say what those plans are, but will talk to reporters Friday morning.
A former MLS Rookie of the Year with Chicago in 2000, Bocanegra spent the bulk of his career in Europe playing for Fulham in the EPL before moving to France for four years and then onto Glasgow Rangers.
He played in two World Cups for the U.S., making a total of 110 international appearances, before he was discarded midway through the last World Cup qualifying campaign.
Read more about his career in the link embedded in the Tweet above, read what Bocanegra has to say about it in his own words here or just watch this:
Galaxy beat writer Phil Collin has more here.
Sister newspaper the San Jose Mercury News checked in with Southern Californian Maurice Edu at the U.S. Men’s National Team camp in the Bay Area.
In other World Cup related news:
- Striker Clint Dempsey is likely to be the pivotal American player in Brazil, not least because it has been a long time since an actual U.S. striker scored an actual World Cup goal.
- Tournament organizers held “stress tests” at still-incomplete World Cup venues Sunday. Guess what? They passed. The real test is next month, however.
- Maybe the best place to watch the action is closer to home at local viewing parties, perhaps at the Port of Los Angeles?
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, still seeking a wide player capable of running at opposing back lines, has called time on Bell Gardens native Hector Jimenez turning into that player.
The 25-year-old midfielder, drafted by the Galaxy in 2011, was shipped to the Columbus Crew today in exchange for the 23rd overall pick in Thursday’s SuperDraft as well as allocation money.
Jimenez scored four goals in 43 Galaxy appearances including three goals in 14 starts last year. The lightweight, 140-pound Jimenez struggled to become the consistent attacking threat Arena was looking for — much like fellow winger Robbie Rogers, frankly — and apparently former Galaxy assistant coach Gregg Berhalter found Jimenez more convincing than Arena did now that he has returned to MLS with the Crew.
“Hector is an exciting young player and we are pleased to welcome him to our club,” Berhalter said in a statement. “He is a player that possesses several strong attacking attributes and will help our squad immediately.”
The trade means the Galaxy have no first round draft pick for the first time since 2007, an indication that Arena is not impressed with the quality of available players. The Galaxy also have a fourth round pick (72nd overall) acquired in a July 2012 trade with the New York Red Bulls.
Instead I wrote a front page story about Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers, the Galaxy midfielder who has had a life-changing 2013.
This isn’t necessarily a story about homophobia, gay soccer players, Christmas or family.
Or it’s a story about all those things wrapped up in a plea for simple human dignity and equality.
Take your pick.
But let’s move Beyond It.
The column will resume in 2014.
At least for one day, so the former Cal State Dominguez Hills and UCLA goalkeeper who grew up on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and spent a decade as a fixture between the posts in LA can retire as a Galaxy player.
The petition is here.
I’m sure the idea is a long shot, but as far as public relations go it’s a worthy effort to honor the only MLS player who made in excess of 400 appearances in the league and won two MLS Cups with the Galaxy before moving to Kansas City.
The mere fact the LA Riot Squad would float the idea shows how well regarded Kevin Hartman, who officially retired Thursday as a member of Red Bull New York, was regarded by fans in Southern California.
“It has been an honor and thrill to play in Major League Soccer over the last 17 years and I first want to thank my family and friends for their unbelievable support. In addition, I also want to recognize my former coaches, teammates, clubs and most importantly, the fans for being a huge part of this ride,” Hartman said. “It was a privilege to have this dream job and watch soccer and the League grow by leaps and bounds since I began my career. I am truly looking forward to the next stage of my life and am very thankful for the many memories and relationships I have made along the way.”
Hartman, who also made five appearances for the U.S., was affectionately known as El Gato, although I always thought his positioning owed as much if not more to his success as his agility.
Hartman made around 250 appearances for the Galaxy and was also an articulate spokesman off the field in a locker room full of quotable, perceptive players that included Chris Albright, who also retired this season with NYRB.
I still remember sitting with him in the then Home Depot Center stands before the stadium officially opened in mid-2003 with Hartman a little in awe of the stunning soccer-specific stadium he would be playing in before friends and family.
Hartman was always like that: genuine, approachable and a pleasure to watch and talk to.
Whether he retires as a Galaxy player or not, Hartman will always occupy a special place in franchise history.
But General Manager Chris Klein could make himself and the club look good in the eyes of fans by re-signing Hartman, however briefly.
“Kevin deserves to be remembered as one of the all-time greats in Major League Soccer,” said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke. “Having the opportunity to both compete against him as a player and coach him this season, it is clear to me that Kevin is the ultimate competitor and professional and it was an honor to work with him.”