Crew provide fitting tribute to Donovan’s career at Crew Stadium

LandonDonovanHonoredCrewGalaxy (USATodaySportsImages)

Photo by USA Today Sports Images

By DAN KARELL

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Landon Donovan played his final game at Crew Stadium on Saturday evening, 15 years, two months, and 25 days after his first appearance in the United States’ first soccer-specific stadium.

Prior to the match, which finished 4-1 in favor of the Columbus Crew, the hosts honored Donovan with a video tribute and a gift that included a piece of the net from a prior appearance in central Ohio. That day came last September when he scored the second goal in another U.S. Men’s National Team Dos a Cero victory over Mexico to earn qualification to the 2014 World Cup.

An emotional Donovan was joined on the field for the tribute by Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter and club ambassador Frankie Hejduk, both former teammates with the LA Galaxy and the national team. When the montage wrapped up, Donovan was given a standing ovation from the Crew fans.

“It was incredible,” Donovan said of his reception at Crew Stadium. “I don’t know how many of you were here when the stadium was first built but this became the home of soccer for many, many years, being the first soccer-specific stadium.

“I have memories here with the Under-17 National Team, many games with the national team, many games with the (San Jose) Earthquakes and the Galaxy here against the Crew, and I can’t imagine there’s another stadium I’ve played in more throughout the league. A lot of very, very good memories here.”

In between his first appearance in 1999 and last appearance at Crew Stadium, Donovan appeared in no less than 20 games for both club and country as well as an MLS All-Star Game appearance in 2005.

Crew Stadium’s opening in 1999 coincided with the start of Donovan’s illustrious career, and both the player and venue will forever be intertwined in American soccer history. On May 22, 1999, Donovan started and scored the final goal in a 4-0 hammering of El Salvador by the Under-17 U.S. Men’s National Team.

In between then and now, Donovan appeared for both the Galaxy and Earthquakes in Columbus many times. He has lots of great memories there, scoring in the 2001 MLS Cup final for the Earthquakes, beating Fulham in the 2005 MLS All-Star Game and, of course, defeating Mexico with the U.S. on three occasions in World Cup qualifying by the all-too-familiar 2-0 scoreline.

“Landon’s had a great career and to be recognized in these markets we go to is tremendous,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “It was a tremendous gesture on behalf of the Crew and we’re very grateful for that.”

While his final game in Columbus ended in disappointment, Donovan will always hold on to the memory of how the Crew and their fans treated him one final time.

“I was very appreciative of them doing (the ceremony),” Donovan said. “They certainly didn’t have to, and I give them a lot of credit and a lot of respect to Gregg and the whole organization.”

This entry was posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Columbus Crew, MLS- LA Galaxy. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Crew provide fitting tribute to Donovan’s career at Crew Stadium

  1. wood chip zip says:

    Well Berhalter is a classy guy but the Crew organization – not so much. Hopefully he and the new owners are changing that, but their classless fans had a huge banner saying “1014 New Heros” with a picture of Klinsmann’s goofy head. They should have just said “HHHHHHHAAAAAAAHHHHHHAAAA” but then I guess that would have reminded everyone of another sort of classlessness regarding this situation.

    • Crew is poo says:

      Yeah that part was not such a fitting tribute. Really sad they bring out that banner for the last guy to give us a dos a cero in Columbus. Cant stop shaking my head.

    • Hejduk4President says:

      Not really disagreeing with you, but when you type “1014″ instead of “2014″ you lose all credibility.

    • Crew Fan says:

      I’m a Crew fan and sit in the supporter’s section and I completely agree with you. I thought it was a really classless move. The guy who organizes our tifos has a vendetta against Landon and must have decided it was cool to make it seem like all Crew fans do, too.

      What’s almost worse is that Michael Parkhurst, our captain, was somewhat surprisingly cut from the 23 man roster. At the time he said he was gutted by the decision. So reusing this tifo from last year was a great way of humiliating him, too.

      I didn’t like it at the time and it has gotten worse the more I’ve thought about it since then.

      • John says:

        Seriously just not even understanding that would be insulting to Parkhurst as well is pretty bad. I guess the hero Klinsmann thought it was important to reward Timmy Chandler with the spot, considering all he did for the team in 2013.

        • Crew fan with a brain says:

          Wasn’t trying to blame OSU really. I was a young OSU student who attended OSU at one point. Just the general area surrounding the stadium and OSU attracts young hooligan types who attend Crew games and join supporters groups more for the social aspect and to be able to get drunk and be anti-establishment. The same group of supporters has to protest everything the front office does it seems.

  2. Matt says:

    Has anyone found a video of this? Couldn’t find one on MLS’s website (or the Crew’s for that matter), which is a shame. This is all I got:

    link to youtube.com

  3. Crew supporter with a brain says:

    As a Crew fan, I’m embarrassed and I know many others are as well. Being so close to a college campus in an urban setting we have a lot of young rebellious supporters who don’t understand what class is and how to display it. Unfortunately it only takes 10-15 like minded idiots to paint a TIFO and raise it up as a representation of an entire fan base and organization. The stadium was full of applause otherwise. I’m just glad I was standing underneath it so I didn’t have to witness the embarrassment that it was.

    • Ross says:

      I agree whole heartedly with your comment, minus the second sentence. Are you really going to blame OSU for this? I dont believe the guy who had this idea attends the university and there are alot of MLS teams based in an urban setting, but I dont think most would have supporters do something as stupid as this.

      Glad to see the Crew organization put this together and the rest of Columbus come out and support the team.

  4. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    And then the Crew fans lifted up a tifo that said “Jurgen Klinsmann New American Hero.”