The MLS Cup Aftermath: Where Will the Haters Go?

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Nobody knows what’s going on with the LA Galaxy. Well, a few facts have crystallized. Bruce Arena is the team’s coach. They play home games at the Home Depot Center. They will be playing in the MLS Cup final. They will face the Houston Dynamo. In a tear-jerking riches-to-riches plot line, Robbie Keane has scored key goals during the playoffs for the club he dreamed of playing for since he was a 30-something old boy.

However, big questions remain. For example, just what will happen to Landon Donovan and David Beckham? And, more importantly, if they leave – where will the haters flock next?

I planned on using some extended solar system motif for this post with universes expanding but like dark matter messing up stuff while humans travel to the 4th dimension but aren’t so impressed. However, 5,000 words in, I realized I’d just written a spec script for a TNG reunion remake, so I saved it in my ever expanding document folder of “Spec Script –> TV Series –>1990′s–>TNG–>Episode–>Q is Really Picard or Some Shit.” I started over and realized that this post must be as raw, dark, and edgy as the soul of America’s troubled anti-hero who was never a hero: Landon Donovan.

I won’t recap the career of Landon Donovan. You know it. You also know that Donovan, despite being the USMNT’s all time leading scorer, has plenty of haters. These folks, generally competitive Americans who view European leagues as far superior to MLS, view his decision to stay stateside with suspicion. After all, if you had to choose between a winter in Munich or driving a Porsche down Highway One in Malibu, you’d opt for lederhosen and the sun setting at 3:30pm. Who wouldn’t?

Donovan drew the haters. So did David Beckham. Despite serving a mean cross and stroking a sweet free-kick, some folks just don’t respect male underwear models. Jealousy? Probably. The result of the combination of Donovan and Becks at one time? Those who regularly sip from a chalice of hatorade turned their ire at LA. Unlike the laughable New York Red Bulls, the Galaxy boasted a big payroll and actually won, and thus could provoke Yankees-esque disgust. Now, though, the empire threatens to collapse.

David Beckham signed a contract extension with LA last winter, which, of course means he will head somewhere in England or the Pacific after MLS Cup. Becks loves to stroke uncertainty for all its worth (publicity, buzz, etc). After all, facts bore the tabloid readers in shopping aisles and folks who Google “MLS Rumors” hoping to find a resurrected site. So, Becks is leaving. Adios Golden Balls.

More importantly, Donovan’s cryptic “I’m tired” messages have hit a high note. At 30, he has some tread left on the tires, but his head is a mess. I, of course, am hoping for a fusion Ricky Williams/Bobby Fischer quasi-retirement in which Donovan travels to a small Baltic Republic, instigates some insurrection movement and diplomatic crises, blows his money on herbal “medicines,” and then realizes in a small Tibetan village at 37 that he really really likes to play soccer and attempts a comeback.

And when Donovan attempts that return, full beard and all, I’ll be waiting. I’ll be salivating. I’ll be elated. Why? Because I’m a hater. If and when Donovan goes, then the haters like me will have to find a new MLS team to dislike. Forever in my mind, he will be that precociously talented boy with the amazing fullet (full-length mullet). Or the teenager who sips seductively from water fountains with a virility I never have nor will possess. I have loved hating Landon Donovan.

And I wish him the best.

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