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Captain Landon’s Admission: ‘Significantly better with the armband’

Feb 5, 2014, 8:25 AM EDT

Kim Kee-Hee, Landon Donovan AP

As Landon Donovan strives to find his role in Jurgen Klinsmann’s World Cup plans, the United States all-time leading scorer is feeling good.

And even better with the captain’s armband, which he wore in Saturday’s 2-0 win over South Korea. The L.A. Galaxy midfielder has been comfortable sporting the band for his club and country, even claiming he thrives off the honor.

“I don’t know the statistics, but throughout my career, when I’m wearing the armband, I would guess that I play significantly better,” Donovan said in an MLSSoccer.com report. “And I take that role very seriously. I take it professionally and, again, someone can do the stats, but I think our team record is probably pretty good when that happens.”

The report does the math on his stats as US captain, where he’s 11W-4D-3L as skipper. But Donovan deferred to Carlos Bocanegra for a long time and has watched as Clint Dempsey has worn the ‘C’ for the majority of full resource matches under Jurgen Klinsmann.

And it can lead fans to wonder: what if Donovan hadn’t needed his time away from the game? Could the legend have assumed the band full-time?

Still, it doesn’t change the way Donovan — who is nine caps away from tying Cobi Jones record for senior appearances — feels about leading his country on the field.

“I really enjoyed it,” he said. “And I like being a part of this group a lot this month. A lot of eager, excited players, and I really think I took on the leadership in the right way, and I wanted to do that. And I was very honored to have the armband.”

If his career ended today, Donovan’s career would go down as one of the most fascinating in American history… and there’s still could be plenty left to write come summer in Brazil and beyond. But do you lend any imagination to him as a captain… or has that ship sailed for good?

  1. dfstell - Feb 5, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    I’m not really sure what the point of having Dempsey as Captain is. He isn’t particularly vocal on the field. He might be a leader in the locker room, but he doesn’t look like a rally-the-troops guy on the field. He also isn’t playing very well right now.

  2. dmaster82 - Feb 6, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    Maybe the reason Donovan is not the captain is because he shouldn’t even find himself in the starting eleven for the US. His entire game was based on speed and he is no longer fast. In the game vs Korea he got tracked down by someone like he was a little boy playing with men.

    I have never understood why American media and some people think Donovan is so good. He never played in Europe for extended periods because he is not good enough. At a point in our history he was one of our best players but that time has come and gone. Dempsey or Bradley should have the armband this summer.

    • Sgc - Feb 6, 2014 at 7:23 PM

      Yet somehow he set up both goals. Lollz for trollz.

  3. dmaster82 - Feb 6, 2014 at 9:09 PM

    Not sure how he set up the first goal considering he didn’t cross it or get the first touch in the box but ok. The second goal looked like a lucky bad first touch for Wondo. Zusi was the best player on the field that day and should start over Donovan.

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