Happy Friday to you. A few things on the mind this morning.
First up is a reaction to Brad Friedel's comments on Landon Donovan taking the easy road by staying in MLS. What a ridiculous thing to say. Friedel is an accomplished player, one who is certainly deserving of respect. But for him to criticize Donovan so publicly was extremely out of line. Landon Donovan has had an amazing career for both club and country. He burst onto the scene in 2001 as a young, charismatic player. Rather than succumb to the pressures of being a promising young prospect (as so many have) Donovan rose to the occasion and performed at a high level year in and year out from 2001 on.
Moreover, Donovan has performed at a world stage. He's performed well against top teams like Italy, Spain and England. Having scored in multiple World Cups and garnering fantastic awards along the way for both club and country, why worry about what Friedel has to say? It's likely that Donovan can brush off the aging veteran's comments, but it probably does sting a bit. They say the best response is to do well and be happy. Donovan knows he'll be happy in Major League Soccer and Europe was not for him. He's found a way to play under a great coach, play with great players and live in a place that is comfortable and he can be happy. I'd say Donovan has little to worry about.
I was especially pleased to see that a very reputable journalist made sure to defend Donovan rightfully.
In other topics, Robbie Keane has turned down offers to go on loan in Europe. The 31 year old came to the Galaxy over the summer and performed. Remarkable success lead to inquiries by more teams outside of MLS and he's turned them all down. Fantastic.
Keane has recognized that there is little benefit for him to go overseas and play soccer for a month or two in a different jersey, just to stay in shape or collect a paycheck. Many players across the league, particularly Americans have been out to train with other squads in the offseason. For better or worse, the benefits of that can be debated. At the end of the day, Keane realizing that the potential cost to benefit ratio was not in his favor is promising.
Lastly, the Generation Adidas is currently overseas training with and against Ajax. The young MLSers are gaining life experiences that they'll bring back to their respective teams. Of course they also get to take on a few European clubs, even reserves sides. The GA boys lost 4-2 to a reserves squad from Ajax. Results aside, it's always nice to see young MLSers gaining exposure in a way that avoids the pressures of a training stint or a loan. No real storyline there but it's just nice to see. Check out the highlights of their match.