Hector Jimenez has had a firsthand look at Landon Donovan's career, as the Crew midfielder played with Donovan from 2011-2013 with the LA Galaxy. Not only that, but Jimenez, a Huntington Park, California native, was a fan of the Galaxy growing up. When he got to LA as a rookie in 2011, Jimenez said that it was an honor to play alongside Donovan.
"It was special just to be around him ... Being in the stands and being able to see him play and then being able to win two MLS Cups with him, like I said, it was something really special that I'll cherish forever."
Jimenez added that his favorite Donovan memory also involved a personal connection to the MLS and United States National Team great.
"My first assist was to one of his goals, so I think I'll remember that one forever for sure."
When Landon Donovan was asked about his favorite memories at Crew Stadium, one thing he specifically mentioned was watching Josh Wolff score in the very first "Dos a Cero" match, all the way back in 2001. Wolff, who played with Donovan at the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups, spoke about how Donovan was as a teammate:
"He held himself to a different standard. With that, it creates that competition and realness to training. As a forward, and being an older forward, you look down and he's certainly right there doing the work, doing everything he could to be a starter all the time. Even though he was 20 years old, he was competing for it. You had to appreciate his work ethic every day. Certainly as he got older, his understanding of the game started to elevate. His quality on the field, we always saw, but the mental aspect that he brought to it each and every day was always recognizable."
Ahead of his final trip to Columbus, Landon Donovan took the time to reflect on his favorite memories from his matches here, which included multiple appearances for the United States National Team, the 2001 MLS Cup Final and the 2005 MLS All-Star Game.
When push came to shove, however, Donovan went with two specific "Dos a Cero" memories as his favorites.
"My two favorites [memories] are my first [World Cup Qualifier vs. Mexico], which I didn't actually play in the game, but being on the bench and watching Josh Wolff [and Earnie Stewart] score," said Donovan. "Winning 2-0 for the first time there and just realizing what a special atmosphere it was. Some of us had played in big games around the world and experienced that, but we'd never experienced that at home. So to have that was really incredible. Then my last experience [at Crew Stadium], playing Mexico and winning 2-0, was special. To score a goal there in what ended being my last game against Mexico was really special."
What do you think, Crew fans? Do you agree with Donovan? Vote on your favorite memory of Landon's career at Crew Stadium and let your voice be heard.
Fans in Columbus have been treated to many memorable Landon Donovan moments in this city over the years. With the American soccer legend set to retire following the season, Saturday's match figures to be the final time Donovan will ever appear on the Crew Stadium pitch. His coach, Bruce Arena, reflected on that from Los Angeles:
"Landon's had a lot of good moments in Columbus," said Arena, who also has ties to the Crew through his coaching career alongside Gregg Berhalter. "Obviously with the National Team, the number of victories, especially over Mexico … I think he won an MLS Cup in Columbus as well.
"Obviously there are a lot of big moments with the National Team and with his club teams in Columbus. It'll be sad to see it as the last time around on Saturday, but having said that, I think he's had nothing but great experiences there."
The jumbled nature of the Eastern Conference standings means that the Crew's 3-2 defeat to Toronto FC still left it in the heart of MLS Cup Playoff contention, and the club's placement in the Power Rankings reflected that, with little-to-no movement over the weekend.
See below for the Black & Gold's rank in each of the major polls, with last week's rank indicated:
MLSsoccer.com: 14 (14)
ESPNFC: 14 (13)
SI.com: 16 (15)
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images
On paper, it was a tough weekend for the Dayton Dutch Lions, with two road matches in the span of two nights. However, the Crew's USL-PRO affiliate played fantastic soccer and emerged with four points from the possible six.
The doubleheader began on Friday, August 8 with a trip to Charleston to face the Battery in a clash that ended 2-2. Crew loanees Ross Friedman and Matt Walker each started the contest, with Matt Wiet coming in as a late-match substitute.
From there, Dayton traveled to Wilmington to meet the Hammerheads on the very next night, winning by a 2-1 final. Again, both Friedman and Walker started, with Wiet entering as a second-half replacement.
In an odd twist, on-loan goalkeeper Brad Stuver made his debut for Wilmington in the contest, starting and playing the duration for the home side.
Friedman went the full 180 minutes over the two matches, with Walker playing 162 minutes over the span.
Photo Credit: Jeremi Blurton