Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Landon Donovan's Goal
puts U.S. into Second Round

I'm sorry Landon.

I'm sorry for crapping all over you not so long ago. I doubted you. I doubted your ability to lead the United States men's national team. I doubted your ability as a finisher on the field. I doubted your ability as a playmaker. I doubted your heart. I doubted you'd get it done.

What do I know?

Not much apparently. So I'm manning up and apologizing.

I'm sorry.

You are a soccer stud, the leader of this team and the rightful face of American soccer. You should be SI's Sportsman of the Year. You should be captain for life.

You've grown so much since the 2006 World Cup. You started to win me over before the Confederations Cup, you put David Beckham in his place, you made a huge impact at Everton and now this. Today's goal. 92nd minute. USA in the second round of the World Cup; not just in the second round of the World Cup, but for the first time, group winners. Hopefully we've avoided Spain by doing so and maybe, just maybe, opened up a clear lane to the semifinals.

I sure didn't expect this two weeks ago. I expected the US to get out of the group, but not like this. Not after being screwed by an incompetent ref. Not after playing so-so against England and needing an all-time gaffe to earn a tie there. Not after going toe-to-toe with a hungry Algeria team for 90-plus minutes.

You were at the center of all that was great today about the United States and it's so fitting you scored the game-winner. Cry those tears of joy son, because we know you can refocus. We know you can lead us to victory against Serbia--maybe even Spain if need be.

I apologize for all the crap I personally heaved upon you. I'm sorry; it won't happen again. I won't ever have to say I'm sorry to Landon Donovan.

Just "thank you."

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