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7 Greatest Moments in Landon Donovan's USMNT Career

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2014

7 Greatest Moments in Landon Donovan's USMNT Career

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    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    In 14 years as a United States international, Landon Donovan has gone from a bleach-blonde new kid on the block to a veteran leader. 

    In his 155 appearances for the Stars and Stripes, Donovan has delivered plenty of memorable moments during his time on the pitch.

    Continue reading to see which of Donovan's best seven moments make this list. 

October 25, 2000: Debut Goal Against El Tri

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    Nick Wilson/Getty Images

    Back in October of 2000, an 18-year-old kid with bleach-blonde hair made his United States debut against Mexico.

    Little did we know that the kid who scored his first international goal on October 25, 2000 would turn out to be the most successful scorer in national team history. 

    Donovan scored in the 50th minute of the Yanks' 2-0 win over Mexico at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in a time before the U.S. ruled the rivalry with El Tri. 

    Other starters for the United States that day included Tony Meola in goal as well as seven other debutants in a match captained by defender Jeff Agoos. 

June 17, 2002: Success Against Mexico at World Cup

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    The legacy of "Dos A Cero" began back in 2002 when the United States upset the Mexican national team, 2-0, in the round of 16 at the World Cup in Jeonju, South Korea. 

    While the Americans did win by the same result during World Cup qualifying in 2001 in Columbus, the more notable result in the two-year span came during the United States' shocking run in the World Cup. 

    Donovan scored the second goal in the round of 16 match against Mexico to propel the Yanks into a quarterfinal against Germany, a match in which they almost won. 

    The midfielder went on to score six goals in 2002, a year in which he made his most appearances for the United States with 20. 

June 8, 2008: 100th Appearance

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    Donovan's 100th career appearance came on June 8, 2008 in a match where the United States entered as underdogs against Argentina. 

    The match held at Giants Stadium saw the Yanks hold the visitors to a surprising 0-0 draw. 

    Donovan captained the American team on that night against an Argentinian side that featured Sergio Aguero, Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano. 

    The result may not have seemed significant at the time, but it helped propel the Yanks into the start of World Cup qualifying a week later. 

    In their first match of qualifying, the United States thrashed Barbados, 8-0. 

2007: Blistering Form in Gold Cup Year

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    In the year after a massive disappointment at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Donovan was in blistering form as he led the Americans to the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup title. 

    Donovan scored nine goals that year, but more importantly he recorded 14 assists in 925 minutes on the pitch. 

    During the Gold Cup championship run, Donovan scored four times from the penalty spot. 

    The most important goal for Donovan in the tournament came in the final, when he scored in the 62nd minute to equalize Mexico.

    Donovan's equalizer set up the opportunity for Benny Feilhaber to go down in American soccer lore with his match-winning goal 11 minutes later. 

2013: Return from Sabbatical and Gold Cup Run

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    In 2013, Donovan's absence from the national team at the beginning of the year was a controversial one as he took a self-imposed sabbatical to Cambodia during the MLS offseason. 

    When Donovan finally made nice with manager Jurgen Klinsmann, he came back with a vengeance that summer. 

    Donovan scored five goals in the 2013 Gold Cup that saw the U.S. defeat Panama in the final in Chicago. 

    The midfield veteran's role in the team was in question all throughout his leave, but he answered all of his critics with his dominant showing in the tournament.

    After the Gold Cup was won, Donovan returned to his spot in the first team for the final World Cup qualifiers in September and October. 

July 9, 2013: Donovan Enters the 50/50 Club

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    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    No statistic defines Donovan's international dominance better than his spot in the 50 goals and 50 assists club.

    Donovan became the only American in that club on July 9, 2013 when he helped the Yanks defeat Belize, 6-1, in the Group C opener at the Gold Cup.

    The star of the national team recorded his 50th assist on a 58th-minute goal by Stuart Holden, when the game was already over with. 

    To cap his history-making performance in Portland, Donovan scored from the spot in the 76th minute, a strike that was his 52nd-career national team goal.  

June 23, 2010: The Goal vs. Algeria

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    No matter what Donovan does for the remainder of his career, he will always be remembered for the magical moment in the 90th minute against Algeria in Pretoria, South Africa.

    With the United States' knockout round hopes on the line, Donovan tapped in a rebound off of a Clint Dempsey shot to create one of the best moments in the history of U.S. Soccer. 

    The goal by Donovan earned the first group title at the World Cup since 1930 for the Americans, who bowed out of the tournament in the round of 16 to Ghana.

     

    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

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