Landon Donovan fought through a severe eye infection to lead the U.S. men’s soccer team to a 2-0 victory over Mexico, clinching a spot in the 2014 World Cup in the process.
Donovan played a crucial role in Team USA’s victory, assisting Eddie Johnson’s initial goal and eventually scoring a goal of his own. However, soccer fans watching ESPN’s national broadcast couldn’t help but notice that something was seriously wrong with the 31-year-old’s eye.
The midfielder’s right eye looked swollen and discolored throughout the broadcast, leading some fans to speculate that he had been struck in the eye during Tuesday night’s qualifying match. In truth, Donovan was suffering from an eye infection so severe that he decided to avoid U.S. media outlets in the hours leading up to the match, Roger Bennet of ESPN reports.
“Landon Donovan hides behind Omar Gonzalez to evade US press in mixed zone. Mexican media been told eye infection caused him to avoid cameras,” Bennet tweeted on Monday.
As the USA vs. Mexico match wore on, Donovan’s eye infection became a trending topic on Twitter, the Huffington Post notes. Several fans shared photos of the injury, and the eye infection even earned its own Twitter account, aptly named “@LandonsEye.”
“Could use some [eye] drops. Gotta cross it!” the account’s first tweet said. Meanwhile, US Youth Soccer tweeted a picture of Donovan’s eye, comparing the disfiguration to a certain action movie villain. “Anyone see Landon Donovan’s eye? Turns out he’s a cyborg from the Terminator. Lookout! Go USA!” the caption read.
We’ve included a photo of Landon Donovan’s eye injury below. Additional pictures of the eye injury are on the Huffington Post.