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Donovan gets one more game with U.S. national team in East Hartford

Landon Donovan will play his final game with the U.S. men's national team on Friday, Oct. 10 in East Hartford.

Landon Donovan will play his final game with the U.S. men’s national team on Friday, Oct. 10 in East Hartford. (Photo courtesy U.S. Soccer)

Landon Donovan will play one more game with the U.S. men’s soccer national team – in East Hartford. Donovan will make his final appearance with the Americans on Friday night, October 10, at Rentschler Field in East Hartford when the U.S. hosts Ecuador at 7 p.m. It will be broadcast live on ESPN.

The decision by national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann to leave Donovan, 32, off the U.S. team that played in the World Cup earlier this summer in Brazil was tremendously disappointing to Donovan and his supporters across the country. But his fans will get one last chance to cheer Donovan in his 157th international appearance.

Donovan announced in August that he would retire from soccer at the end of the Major League Soccer season. He holds several records for the U.S. national team, including most goals (57) and assists (58). He scored one of the most iconic goals in U.S. soccer history in the 2010 World Cup with his goal in the final seconds against Algeria to give the Americans a 1-0 victory and their first Group title since 1930. Donovan popped in a rebound of a shot by teammate Clint Dempsey.

Donovan played on three World Cup teams for the U.S. in 2002, 2006 and 2010. 

“For 15 years, Landon has thrilled us with his amazing abilities on the field and impressed us with his gracious approach off the field,” said U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati. “We are looking forward to celebrating his legacy during our next home national team match and allowing fans the opportunity to thank him for all the memories he’s provided over the years.”

“Playing for the U.S. national team has been a huge part of my career and I’m ecstatic to have the opportunity to play for my country one last time,” said Donovan. “I’m so grateful to all the fans that have supported me and this game will give me the chance to say thank you to all of them. I look forward to a great evening and I’m thankful to U.S. Soccer for making this happen.”

Donovan is a four-time winner of the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award. He starred on the 2002 U.S. World Cup team that reached the quarterfinals and scored three goals in the 2010 World Cup tournament. In MLS, he has scored 140 goals and played on five championship teams including winning three titles with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

“It’s an unbelievable legacy. I have a hard time thinking that there’s another American player that’s accomplished as much as Landon has,” Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “He’s been a champion at the club level, he’s been a force in the National Team programs, and he’s been really the focal point of this game in our country for so many years. He’s accomplished everything an American player can accomplish at this point in time. That’s quite a legacy.”

Klinsmann praised Donovan earlier this month after Donovan announced he would retire. “Congratulations to Landon Donovan on an absolutely amazing career. He consistently raised the bar for himself these last 15 years, and he set a fantastic example for so many other American players to follow,” he said. “As one of the best players in U.S. soccer history, Landon should be proud of everything he has accomplished.”

The U.S., now 5-3-2 on the year, returns to the field on Sept. 3 with a match against the Czech Republic in Prague. The game in East Hartford will be the first appearance by the Americans on native soil since the World Cup. The U.S. went 1-1-1 in pool play to reach the round of 16 at the World Cup, finishing behind eventual tournament champion Germany.

Tickets are on sale through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-877-522-8499 (8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET only) and at the XL Center ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 12-5 p.m.). Tickets will be available at Rentschler Field except only on the day of the event.

Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290. Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages that include a premium ticket, a custom-made official U.S. National Team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits) are also available exclusively through ussoccer.com.

Rentschler Field has hosted several big-time matches for the U.S. men’s team, including a World Cup qualifier, two send-off series games and a CONCACAF Gold Cup group match.

Brian McBride scored the game-winner in the 1-0 win on Aug. 17, 2005 , against Trinidad & Tobago in final round qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, then Brek Shea made his first international goal count as the USA defeated Costa Rica 1-0 and won its group on the way to capturing the 2013 Gold Cup title. Overall, the United States holds a 3-1 record in East Hartford.

Material from U.S. Soccer used to prepare this report.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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