Former Blue (twice over) Landon Donovan will have an opportunity to represent his nation one last time as the United States take on Ecuador in an international friendly this Friday evening in Hartford Connecticut. US National Team coach, Jurgen Klinsmann is decided back number ten so he could have a proper send off after being left off of this summer's World Cup squad that reached the round of sixteen before falling to Romelu Lukaku's Belgium in in a heartbreaker. Being left off of the team should not mar the legacy of arguably one of the best players to come out of the United States.
Donovan had two stints in Merseyside, both coming on loans from his parent club, the Los Angeles Galaxy. Playing in the MLS allowed him the opportunity to take advantage of their offseason and hone his skills in Europe. His first taste of the premiership came when he arrived in January of the 2009-2010 campaign. He appeared in 13 matches and tallied two goals for the Toffees. He later returned to the club during the 2011-2012 season and appeared in nine matches between league and FA Cup ties. Though he did not notch any goals for himself the second time around, he was able to lend seven assists in the two months they he was with the club.
At the time of his first loan spell, Everton were interested in extending Donovan's loan. However, the Galaxy wanted none of that and refused an extension. From a business perspective, this was quite understandable for a club in the Galaxy's position - they had the most famous player in their country, the face of the sport if you will, on their team along with superstar David Beckham. There was no reason to give him an extended run in England when they could use him on the field and beyond themselves. You can't help but wonder though how things would have turned out had the player been allowed to stay.
There should be no disagreement that the Premier League is a step up from the MLS and that he would have been able to test his skills against many of the world's best athletes on a more consistent basis if he remained with Everton. The other side of that argument is that he was already a mature, developed footballer by the time that he arrived in Merseyside so he may not have had much to gain while he played out the last few years of his career. Either way, he did give Evertonians a very small taste of what he could offer. If you get a chance, take in his last international match and enjoy it. Even if he will only be playing for a short time.