Landon Donovan: America's Hottest Player
By Nick Webster
Momentum is everything in football and currently there is not a hotter team in the CONCACAF region than the United States.
Everything is blending superbly. Spirit, teamwork, unity, belief and a dynamic coach in the form of Jurgen Klinsmann, who has instilled the winning mentality he had as a player.
With Landon Donovan providing the fireworks yet again, it is obvious that Klinsmann has made a major impact on the way Donovan is playing the game.
From the self imposed sabbatical to striding the North American stage, Donovan is refreshed and looks like a world class player who is capable of putting the team on his shoulders and carry them to major titles.
One could be churlish and say that the likes of El Salvador and Honduras aren't exactly the stiffest tests however you play what's put in front of you and more importantly, not drop your level.
In the past that has been a problem but with Klinsmann at the helm that will no longer happen. The German has created an environment that is fun, competitive and demanding.
No member of the US squad can coast. All are there on merit. Names that once assumed that they would be automatic choices are now involved in serious battles for their spot on the squad.
What was once 23 places on the squad is now a dogfight involving close to 40 players who all believe that they have the ability to make that plane to Brazil next year.
Landon Donovan though has made a compelling case to be at the front of the plane should form, quality and experience be requirements.
The Gold Cup has been a 'coming back' party of sorts for LD and he has made the kind of impact that only world class players can make. The goals (5 in the 2013 Gold Cup) and assists (7) are flowing. He trusts his teammates and his teammates trust him.
The United States will now face either Mexico or Panama in Chicago on Sunday and the high powered US attack will enter the game as huge favorites.
Donovan and Klinsmann are flying, they're smiling and they have massive amounts of one of football's most wanted ingredients, momentum.
Landon has been on fire during the gold cup. Everyone who wrote him off when he was on his time of period to rethink the future were wrong. If all players take a break and come back and play like Landon has done, then they should do it.
I have to agree with with Nick, that the manager has changed something with the way Donovan is playing. He seems to be playing with a smile on his face again, and banging goals in for fun. He was an instrumental part in winning the gold cup. Right now the USA are on track for Brazil 2014 and the way Klinsmann has the players motivated and playing is fun to watch, and they are getting results.