Donovan accepts hatred, relishes challenge ahead of next match in Mexico

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

MORELIA, Mexico — To say that Landon Donovan is Public Enemy No. 1 when he faces Mexican opposition may be a bit of an understatement. 

Ahead of Tuesday's CONCACAF Champions League match with Morelia, the perception that Mexicans have of the Los Angeles Galaxy captain is that of a vile man, who people in a local marketplace label a "racist" and someone who undoubtedly "hates Mexicans." Away from the marketplace, the perception is no different at the training ground high above the Estadio Morelos on Monday, where a fan shouted his own expletive filled rant at Donovan, "Donovan! [Blank] you [blank]. Your ass is mine [blank]!"

The message from the Mexican public seems clear: Many of the Morelia fans will be attending the match for their own chance to tell off one of the biggest villains in Mexico. In the intimate Estadio Morelos, Donovan will be able to hear every chant directed his way. Despite all the harsh words and false accusations, all Donovan can do is brush off the hatred. 

"There's nothing I can do about that, it's beyond my control," Donovan said. "I grew up with a lot of Latin Americans and I got friends that are from all parts of Central America and Mexico. It is ignorant, because there is no knowledge beyond it, but it is what it is." 

The story of Donovan's villain status in Mexico is not a new one. Much of it stems from his success against the Mexican national team, against whom he has scored five goals while playing for the U.S. national team, including one in this past summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup final.

The dislike also emanates from Donovan's famed urinating incident at Guadalajara's Estadio Jalisco in 2004 while playing with the U.S. Under-23 national team, an episode that Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena says has been greatly "distorted." 

The stigma from the incident as well as his goals have created a perfect storm of hatred around Donovan, who always receives added attention when he lines up against Mexican opposition, whether it be at the club or international level. When questioned about the perception and accusations that surrounded Donovan from members of the public, one member of the Galaxy admitted that it's simply part of the game. 

"It's something that he's had to deal with in these countries," said defender Todd Dunivant. "Because players who are that good and have played that many games against Mexico in high-level competitions -– thinking back to '02 and the World Cup on down to the qualifiers and the friendlies every year -– there's no wonder there's a little ill will there and they’re going to invent things in their mind." 

On Tuesday, Donovan will not line up against El Tri, but against Morelia, who are eager to pull ahead of the Galaxy for supremacy in Group A. Currently the Galaxy are perched on top of the group with six points in two matches while Morelia sits in third in the group with three points.

Without David Beckham or Juninho to lighten his load in the midfield, Donovan will need a big game against Monarcas if the Galaxy are to join FC Dallas and the Seattle Sounders on the growing list of MLS teams that have earned victories in Mexico. Donovan relishes the challenge that comes with attempting to join that prestigious list. 

"[I enjoy it] mainly because they're good teams and they're challenging to play against," said Donovan. "Their [Morelia] games are on TV here at night, and I got to watch one of their games and the game against Cruz Azul, the other day, but they're just a good team and they’re going to be challenging in a lot of different ways."

Regardless of the outcome on Tuesday, Donovan's status among the Mexican public will likely not change, but there is a glimmer of hope. While many will travel to Estadio Morelos eager to hoot and holler at Donovan, the mood is quite different when members of the public come in contact with the Galaxy midfielder.

Following the Galaxy's training on Monday, Donovan was a popular target of autograph hounds and many others seeking to pose for a picture with the Galaxy midfielder. Although many of these fans may be among the potentially 30,000 cursing his name on Tuesday night, it is this balance between hatred on the field and kindness off of it that Donovan truly enjoys. 

"What I realize is that, when you're on the field, they all yell at you and support their team, but when you see them on the street, everyone is respectful and nice," said Donovan. "That's how it should be." 

This entry was posted in CONCACAF Champions League, Mexican Soccer, MLS- LA Galaxy. Bookmark the permalink.

75 Responses to Donovan accepts hatred, relishes challenge ahead of next match in Mexico

  1. Mo-One says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing Morelia knocking LA out. Donovan will just be a bonus.

  2. Landy says:

    Seems odd to start the article with hyperbole. Call it an understatement. And then mitigate it by the end of the article with the “glimmer of hope.” Just saying – kind of a roller coaster. Meanwhile, Mexico’s true public enemey No. 1 vacillates between Hector Beltran Levya and obesity, according to whom you ask. Donovan might come in at No. 3 though.

  3. Adrian says:

    Of course he should accept the hatred, he’s a punk who peed on their field. They are ignorant? You peed on their field. Let me repeat that, you peed on their field.

    When will people around here start seeing Donovan for what he really is, a punk with a complex who disappears for major portions of matches. He cheap shots players and whines with the best of them.

  4. jb says:

    “What I realize is that, when you’re on the field, they all yell at you and support their team, but when you see them on the street, everyone is respectful and nice,” said Donovan. “That’s how it should be.”

    Smart thing to say, not sure I can agree. Don’t envy Donovan the experience, but I definitely give him credit for wanting to rise to the challenge. Good luck Galaxy.

  5. Kevin_Amold says:

    “He cheap shots players…” Examples please?

    Perhaps he gave the studs to the back of a player while headbutting him at the same time in a world cup.

    Perhaps he gave his studs to the knee of a keeper while challenging for an aerial ball in a hex match.

    Perhaps he slide tackled a player from behind who was running to the corner to celebrate a goal in a meaningless friendly in Glendale.

    Perhaps he put his hands around the throat of an opposing player while hosting a hex match in August of 2009 after an opposing player came to challenge you and your buddies for surrounding an injured player and trying to haul him to his feet.

    I mean, these would be disgusting examples of cheap shots. But, I’m sure Landon has done something much worse. I just would like an example.

  6. Good Jeremy says:

    I’m sorry that the gaLAxy continually beat your team and do well in all competitions.

  7. Good Jeremy says:

    If we showed up early and yelled those things at a Mexican team during practice, would it still be considered acceptable and just a part of our sporting culture?

  8. OmarVizquel says:

    Sunil would send a stern email to us all.

  9. Brian says:

    Whatever…just as many of those mexicunts are there asking for his autograph.

  10. Matador says:

    Easy there Fella, take it easy, what’s going on? Don’t forget to take your pills buddy. Donovan peed on their field because the bathrooms were closed. I don;t think I have to explain that. Whether you like it or not, Landon Donovan is one of the most accomplished players and there is a good change that he will go down in history as one of the best soccer player America has ever produced.

    Not trying to exaggerate but I guess your comments were uncalled for.

  11. Brent McD. says:

    Stay classy Morelia! I love that the Mexicans don’t like him. Hope he continues to score goals against their team(s)

  12. Jeff Awesome says:

    Donovan is still my favorite player. I think it is possible to criticize his career. Maybe he has taken the easy road by playing in MLS his entire career, but some games he is clearly the best American player ever.

  13. Brian says:

    Soccer players pee on fields all over the world. Get over it. Jens Lehmann, Damarcus Beasley, Paul Gothard, etc. Hell, Gary Lineker shat himself at the 1990 World Cup. Estadio Jalisco ain’t that special.

  14. abc says:

    “He cheap shots players”

    I think you are thinking of the Mexican national team.

  15. Marvin says:

    Hes a great player. He has made some mexicans cry. Who cares if they hate him. I have enjoyed each of his goals against the green vomit

  16. john says:

    Man nobody bothers hearing out the US players on the peeing fiasco? He wasnt the only one peeing on the field. DMB also did it and many others due to the fact that the janitor of the stadium didn’t bother unlocking the doors to the bathroom

  17. Good Jeremy says:

    stay classy.

  18. DirtyLeeds says:

    He peed on the Dude’s rug!

  19. Jack says:

    Or what if we threw things at opposing players taking corner kicks?

    Oh, wait. It’s ~culture~.

  20. Edwin in LA says:

    How cool is it that America’s rivalry with Guadalajara runs soooooo deep that REALLY wanted this guy.

    I mean according to Donovan, he was really close to signing with America, but then the Everton opportunity came from I gather, I personally was like “OH HELL NO! lol I don’t buy it for one second! I’d buy ice inside and igloo before I buy that!” lol

    But man when I started hearing from friends who were vacationing in Mexico City tell me it was true? I was impressed, Club America knows how to be the Evil Empire of the FMF EVERYONE hates them lol

  21. Jess says:

    Bottom line is that anyone here, including the haters would give up their nuts to experience some of the things that Landon has over his career around the globe. So before you go spouting off about him being a punk, just think about how jealous you are of him.

  22. steve-o says:

    let go of the “he peed on their field.” Do you even know what happened? he didn’t pull his d**k out and go all over the center circle or the mexican flag. he went to the side boards, kneeled down and tried to go indiscreetly, and it was caught on video. there was no disrespect intended there. if I had a dollar for every time someone of latin descent peed on my neighborhood field where i play i could retire. Oh my gosh call the National Guard, police, IRS, INS, call em all because they are peeing on American soil. Give me a break!!

    Was LD wrong? sure, but only because we should use toilets whenever possible, but everyone saying he disrespected Mexico by peeing on their soil should just shut the hell up.

  23. Good Jeremy says:

    The world probably watches Philadelphia fans and thinks the whole US is like that lol.

  24. chris says:

    Cant wait for a donovan hat trick

  25. BigProfMan says:

    sounds about right. bathrooms in mexico actually have closing hours. i’m not sure why, but i think its something about catholicism paranoia that homo stuff goes on in public bathrooms after certain hours….or maybe those priest want them closed for their own purposes. anyway, so quit your lying, we all know mexicans love donovan when he speaks spanish to them

  26. JSmiley says:

    Peeing on the field: filthy, horrendous and worthy of never-ending scorn.

    Peeing in a bag and throwing it at players: fine.

    Go figure.

  27. Joe from Philly says:

    Hey, I resemble that remark! Is your real name Santa Claus? Are you still bitter about that one day? Geesh, throw a few snowballs at a cherished icon and the whole world hates you.

  28. Ted in MN says:

    In all fairness, Chicago Cubs and Bears fans aren’t any better then Philadelphia. Or for that matter Yankees fans (great job throwing crap at Cliff Lee’s wife so much that he decided to return to the team that traded him away)

  29. Ted in MN says:

    Doesn’t matter if you win and end up playing American competition.

  30. giggsylou says:

    it really tied the room together

  31. Mo'Galaxy says:

    prepare to cry

  32. Shane says:

    +1,000

  33. Man says:

    Yeah Donovan is disrespectful and racist to the Mexicans. That’s why he bothered to become fluent in their language.

  34. Eurosnob says:

    Dude, this is a group game, the teams are not at the knock out stage.

  35. Jack sparrow says:

    Let’s not forget when some mexicans threw urine and vomit at Landon.

  36. Eurosnob says:

    Mexico’s fans should not complain about urine on their soccer fields, particularly given their fine tradition of throwing plastic cups filled with urine at the visiting players.

  37. Edwin in LA says:

    Ehh unless you want kids, nuts are overrated if you’re offering the chance to A shock the HELL out of 110 million Mexico fans in the US AND Mexico in the round of 16 at the FIRST World Cup hosted outside of Europe and the Americas, and then nearly taking the head off the Slovenia goal keeper although he had a horrible somewhat nonexistent performance in Germany 06 that Cup still had some nerver racking minutes from leading Italy, were we leading I forget, to seeing Dempsey score that awesome low volley from Beasley hell it was an insane experience. Not to mention the last 3 years he’s had with the national team and then Everton.

    Yeah I’d give them up, I can always adopt too many beautiful children are left behind in this world! =D

  38. KL says:

    Landon Donovan: Best American player ever. Only good enough for MLS. hahahaha

  39. Edwin in LA says:

    Hahahaha +1,000,000,000

    Oh buddy if you’re ever in HDC territory for a big game, I’m buying your pint! lol Or Shot! lol

    I seriously can’t stop laughing at the irony but how funny this would be if you said it face to face to a Mexican Donovan hater lol
    Something Ari Gold would say or should be said in his voice tone lol

  40. Good Jeremy says:

    Let’s not forget my LA fans, who are completely disinterested in the game and don’t show up until it’s time to beat someone to death.

    So pretty much fans everywhere are scum, but in the US we discriminate arbitrarily against city of origin while doing everything possible not to arbitrarily discriminate against country of origin.

  41. camjam says:

    hahahahaha Troll fail hahahahahaha

  42. RK says:

    He is so hated that he does commercials for the Mexican lottery?

  43. Good Jeremy says:

    Also good enough for Everton, good enough to score in half his games for Bayern Munich playing out of position, good enough to star in two world cups, and good enough to torment Mexico over the last 10 years.

    Also, other Americans have starred for Rangers, ManU, Tottenham, and Liverpool this decade, which tops any other CONCACAF team.

  44. Goalscorer24 says:

    They just hate him because he has been a thorn in the Mexican national teams side, and has scored some goals that took the Mexican team down a notch. (ie.. The 2002 World Cup)

  45. T says:

    :D hahahahah, he shat!! hahahahhaha!!!

  46. Mo-One says:

    2 losses to Morelia should be enough to send LA home.

  47. ELAC says:

    I’ve been to Mexico plenty of times. North and South.

    Mexican fans generally hate his guts, but would LOVE to have him play for their team.

    Club America fans are very fond of Donovan

  48. solles says:

    hm.. racist, homophobic, AND anti-Catholic all in one post. Sort of impressive in a disturbing way.

  49. solles says:

    If LD didn’t keep scoring against them it wouldn’t be an issue. Mexicans are nothing if not very, very sore losers, particularly when it comes to the US.

  50. KL says:

    How ironic that American fans are talking about class since they are know worldwide as the most classless bunch that ever attended a stadium…..it’s not even close.

  51. solles says:

    Who starred at Liverpool this decade? And Spurs? Are you referring to Keller? He hardly “starred”. I’m picking up what you’re putting down but don’t get silly.

  52. solles says:

    You haven’t been to Italy have you?

  53. KL says:

    Not good enough to secure a contract with Everton.
    Not Good enough to secure a contract with Bayern (in three tries)
    Not good enough to help his team beat Mexico in the last four years.

    I think you meant “started” instead of “starred” Look them up. completely different meanings.

  54. Sean says:

    I think he should score, then run straight to the center circle and pee everywhere. Sportscenter Top Play for weeks.

  55. Poo says:

    pretty much sums it up

  56. Henry Alvarado says:

    Donovan is not Public Enemy #1,

    It’s Argentina!!!!

  57. Kejsare says:

    Everton balked at the price MLS and AEG wanted from Everton.

  58. John Velez says:

    LOL known worldwide?

    If Mexican fans are known worldwide it’s because they support their team well at every world cup.

    When Mexico and Italy played a friendly prior to the 2010 WC, the Italians disrespected the Mexican national anthem and threw crap at the fans and bench yet you don’t hear the Mexican media crying about it.

    When the US and Mexico played in 2009 in Columbus for a WCQ, the US fans near the sidelines pelted Pavel Pardo with crap every time he took a corner kick, it’s pretty convenient people like you choose to ignore this kind of behavior when it comes from your own fan base.

    American fans aren’t far behind. Some fans have even expressed concern at the way some American Outlaw fans have behaved in the last few friendlies, most notably against Mexico in Philly yet here you are…

    Before you even bring up the Gold Cup in June, I suggest you check out the running commentary from SBI and Sports Illustrated and explain to me how it is that a good chunk of the spectators at the game along with journalists covering the event LIVE didn’t notice the “massive booing” of the US national anthem????

    While you’re at it, if you can show me proof that any US player has EVER been hit by a bag of urine or vomit while in Mexico or the US it’ll do wonders for your credibility….I mean, the way some of you make it sound it’s so prevalent that surely somebody must’ve taken a picture or caught it on video at some point…..you know, since it happens so often according to folks like you…

    While you’re scrambling for that video/photo, can you tell me how you felt when a drunk US fan disrespected the moment of silence meant to commemorate the victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami earlier this year at the US-Argentina friendly at the new meadowlands???

  59. Judging Amy says:

    The best was that picture of a Mexican fan putting his fingers into his throat to make himself vomit into a plastic cup and then throwing it at US players during a corner. Or there was that Mexican fan that spilled his beer on a reporter’s laptop (Might’ve been Grant Wahl?).

  60. Judging Amy says:

    Voila:

    link to sports.yahoo.com

    Just out of curiosity, not trying to be rude at all, but where do you live? Are you an American? Are you Mexican? Are you a Mexican living in the US?

  61. Good Jeremy says:

    Friedel was at Liverpool. And Friedel is Spurs too. Before you insult my opinion, get the basic ideas that you are insulting right.

    I believe that Howard going in and unseating Barthez, during France’s reign and who was at the time considered to be a top-3 goalie in the world, and then be voted as the EPL’s top goalie qualifies as “starred,” but what do I know?

    Donovan didn’t have three tries at Bayern Munich, he had one. The others were Bayer Leverkusen. The devil is in the details.
    He could have easily secured a contract with Everton too, but LA was demanding an enormous transfer sum with him. Obviously with the Beckham money LA is spending and the salary cap, LA has no incentive to sell Donovan for money they already have and can’t use.

    As far as beating Mexico in the last four years, it happened twice in 2007, once in 2009, and we tied in 2009 and 2011. The only A-list loss Donovan played in was the Gold Cup final where he scored a goal. It’s hard to blame him for the debacle at LB and Bradley’s management. Maybe if Bradley managed differently, or Dolo didn’t go down injured, or half of Mexico’s initial roster didn’t come up positive for drugs it would have been different, but Donovan did his part.

  62. Good Jeremy says:

    I call shenanigans. Show multiple international articles or even messageboards claiming that the US fans are classless. Since it’s not even close, you won’t have any trouble finding any outside of Mexico.

    Let me know when we start booing national anthems, throwing bananas at black players (Poland), or any of the racist or general hooligan behaviour dominant in Europe that forces teams to play in empty stadiums for games. I guess a handful of fans throwing things at a player is bad and we are pretty guilty, but it is nowhere near institutionalized here like it is in many other countries. Politicians would have a field day if US fans treated the Mexican team like Mexican fans treat the US team- media reports non-stop, political conferences, USSF decrees to no longer play games at that location.

    Don’t even try to say we have any sort of reputation or behavior problem beyond a couple outliers in the cheap seats.

  63. Good Jeremy says:

    Miroslav Klose, 2nd in world cup scoring history, also couldn’t crack the Bayern Munich starting lineup often and couldn’t secure a contract with them this year.

  64. Neruda says:

    I read Judging Amy’s link and I don’t think this yahoo writer is just making this stuff up. He sprinkled in his opinion about the poor officiating but that’s evidence enough by a reputable website of the piss and vomit story.

    Of course there are extreme idiots from all countries who do stupid things. Mexico is more passionate on the whole since soccer is their national sport (most popular sport), it’s number five in the states. The US will be more passionate and have larger scores of fans as the sport grows.

  65. Harriet Tubman says:

    This comment made me smile.

  66. Harriet Tubman says:

    It really tied the room together.

  67. Harriet Tubman says:

    Good point.

  68. John Velez says:

    A Martin Rodgers article? That’s your proof?

    A guy who claims his “anonymous” sources told him it happened?

    I mean, I don’t have to major in journalism to know that he said/she said doesn’t hold much weight unless I provide some sort of proof.

    Again, if it is as prevalent as some US fans claim, surely somebody would have some photographic evidence and not from some third party account.

    Ok forget that, can you show me a link where any US player complains about this? If it happens as often as people claim, surely at least one player would’ve complained publicly about being hit with bags of urine or vomit don’t you think?

    I’m not even going to pretend something as disgusting as that wouldn’t happen but I’ve heard other American fans cry about it for so long that I figured I’d ask for some proof because in my travels to Mexico and South America I’ve never seen anyone do that and I’m not naive enough to believe something just because a guy wrote an article on a website about it.

    Back to my other point, there was one guy who moaned about being mistreated at the Gold Cup final a few months ago and most major news sources ran with it even thought there were MANY more American fans who went public with their positive experience and even called out fellow US fans for their drunken behavior and all people remember is what this one guy said.

    I was at the Jalisco stadium for the 04 Olympic qualifiers and the stuff that went down there is nothing like what most people believe….a few drunk fans started chanting Osama and were jeered by the rest of the crowd to the point where people wanted to fight them but instead they were removed by security yet all you hear nowadays is about the evil people of Guadalajara viciously chanting at the American team….I was there, I saw it happen and no matter how many times I try to tell people it didn’t go down like that, they choose to believe what they want to believe.

    Where I’m from is not relevant. I’m a fan of the game and support good football everywhere but just because I disagree with the notion of “evil mexicans” I’ll be branded a troll.

  69. roger says:

    its a way to show respect. believe it or not.

  70. Pez says:

    Didn’t Ives tweet at the Rosebowl the surprising amount of admiration/respect Mexican supporters have for Landon Donovan?

    Maybe Adam didn’t get that memo.

  71. Kenny_B says:

    He only went on loan with Bayern Munich once. He had a contract with Bayer Laverkusen and was on loan to MLS. So while I get what you are trying to say…it’s wrong. And the US has beat Mexico several times in the last four years.

  72. USA says:

    I find it funny how any criticism of Mexico is automatically labeled as “racist”.

    Mexicans are the most sensitive people.

  73. Wm. says:

    Best…post…ever.

  74. Arnold says:

    I think Mexicans should direct all that ire for the USA team at their corrupt, inept and unjust country.

    It bugs me so badly when I go to Pasadena and see all these Mexican fans who live here, make their living here, go to public school here, and send money to family in Mexico; basically owe everything they have in life to this country and yet there is nothing they hate more than the USA national team.

    The next time we play Mexico in LA, let’s tell people that there will be an immigration check at the gate and then let’s see how many people show up.