The Last Stride

Noah Davis, writing for Grantland, on Landon Donovan’s final appearance as a player with the USMNT:

Donovan was not the star we wanted, but he was the star we deserved. He carried the game as far as he could. He was the best, most visible player the U.S. had, as the program moved from half-empty stadiums to soccer-specific venues, multimillion-dollar contracts for American stars, and a domestic league that averages higher attendance per game than the NBA and NHL. Donovan didn’t make that happen on his own, but his stardom helped facilitate it. A reluctant star can still be vital, as long as he keeps showing up.

I still can’t believe or fully understand why it ended the way it did, but I’m glad he got his final game. Such an incredible career.