CARSON, Calif. – Before facing the LA Galaxy in the playoffs, the Vancouver Whitecaps posted a series of jibes at the opposition team on their official Twitter account. The most controversial one read: "Landon Donovan has been talking about retiring - perhaps we can hasten his decision tonight."
Well, not only is Donovan still playing, he's still enjoying it too. His penalty stood up as the winner in a 2-1 result for the reigning MLS Cup champions, moving the side on to the conference semifinals and Vancouver into the offseason.
Donovan has spoken frequently recently about the possibility of retirement before the next World Cup. But after the cathartic win, he maintained that he still enjoys playing soccer.
"Contrary to popular belief, I do still enjoy playing this game," Donovan said. "There may be a point where I don't. But right now, especially this time of year, in the playoffs when the games mean more, this is what I love doing. I hope to be doing it at least for a few more games."
Donovan's earlier comments naturally caused a furor. When the highest-profile American player, who has a job that makes millions envious, admits he struggles with motivation in that job, it invites a flurry of opinions. Have any been crudely wide of the mark?
"There's no misconceptions, really," Donovan said. "Sometimes I'm a little too honest and too candid, but I try to give people insight into how I'm feeling. But at the end of the day I'm very fortunate to get to do this for a living, and I want to keep it going at least a little bit longer."
Jurgen Klinsmann talked about his star attacker – Donovan has the record for U.S. goals scored – during a conference call a few hours before the match. The German mentioned that he will reach out to Donovan after the playoffs for a discussion.
Klinsmann is currently working on a roster for a Nov. 14 friendly in Russia. Any players still participating in the MLS postseason would skip that match.
"I hope I'm still in the playoffs," Donovan said when asked about a potential callup.
If he is, he'll likely be enjoying it. The 30-year-old spoke before the match of his "excitement" heading into the playoffs. It's clear he relishes the tension of the crucial games. Next up is a grudge match with his old club, the San Jose Earthquakes.
"This time of year is more fun," Donovan said. "The games are more fun. This is as good as it gets in this league. I'm sure this is what everyone wants to see and it's what we want."