While much of the international attention of the MLS Cup on Saturday surrounded the exit of English midfielder David Beckham from the American soccer league, another prominent player could have played his last game with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Landon Donovan, who has been a major force for the United States and Major League Soccer, is pondering his soccer future. The attacking midfielder has been vague about whether he will continue playing.
The 30-year-old has stated that he wants to spend time with family, and immediatly plans on going on vacation. The growing perception is that Donovan is burned out.
"Right now, my heart says to get away for a while," said Donovan.
While Donovan may be exhausted from the game, he remains an elite player in MLS, and one of the most important players in the American talent pool. He had two successful loan spells for Everton in the English Premier League. Donovan is known for his vision, and ball control, but most importantly his ability to score goals.
Though Donovan missed a golden opportunity to put the Galaxy on the board off a perfect feed from Robbie Keane against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, he remains a reliable finisher. Against Houston, Donovan was able to convert a penalty kick to give the Galaxy the lead. Over his career, Donovan has basically been automatic as a penalty striker, which is a valuable commodity.
It is possible that Donovan is seeking a break from the game, and not retirement. It is unclear how long he may want to be away from the game, and what that means for the Galaxy.
After winning the 2012 MLS Cup, it seems obvious that Donovan will focus his attention on Brazil 2014. Donovan was a key starter for the U.S. in 2002, 2006, and 2010, and is basically guaranteed a spot on the squad. He scored the winning goal against Algeria in 2010 to send the Americans to the knockout round.
Donovan, who has 144 appearances for the United States, has not been featured for his nation in quite some time. Qualifications for the 2014 World Cup begin in February, and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann may have to seek alternatives for Donovan, who might be the best goal scorer on the squad.
Should the U.S. be without Donovan, Klinsmann may have to turn to less experienced attacking players, such as Brek Shea, Juan Agudelo, and Terrence Boyd. Though the trio are perceived to have promising futures, they may be short of the quality level to take the U.S. to the quarterfinals or beyond.
The fate of the U.S. in World Cup 2014 may rest on Donovan's interest in soccer.