If Landon Donovan's name wasn't Landon Donovan, he wouldn't be an MLS All-Star this season. He has barely appeared in half of his team's matches (13 of 22) and his three goals and six assists are good, but not exactly earth-shattering.
And you know what? I couldn't care less.
His name is Landon Donovan. He remains the greatest and most productive soccer player in United States history. He is fresh off a Gold Cup where he proved to the world—well, proved to the CONCACAF world, at least—that he is still very much in elite form. He could have spent the first half of the MLS season on the sideline watching Glee for all I care—he still would have deserved the MLS All-Star Game selection that he got.
(OK, maybe not Glee.)
That's not to say he hasn't been productive on the pitch.
According to WhoScored.com, Donovan has completed 40.8 passes (with a 75 percent completion percentage), 2.1 key passes, 1.8 crosses and 2.1 long balls per match.
The Los Angeles Galaxy have struggled a bit to find cohesiveness with Donovan in the lineup (seven losses in his 13 appearances), but he has been every bit the dynamic playmaker and conductor we know him to be.
Still, that's not why the 31-year-old is a deserving selection this year.
Think of it more as a lifetime achievement award.
The All-Star Game is about the fans. It's about entertainment and about putting on a show that recognizes the elite athletes of a certain sport.
As such, who would you choose to replace Robbie Keane? A third- or fourth-year player who has scored a few more goals or tallied a few more assists or won a few more games but is less known to the common fans?
Or Landon Donovan, the greatest player in United States history?
The answer is clear. Donovan is not only deserving because of his talent, but because he's an iconic figure who exemplifies what players in the sport should strive to be. He puts more butts in the seats, makes more people tune in at home and is the best representation of American soccer.
Besides, who doesn't want to see him face off against Roma's Michael Bradley—another face of United States soccer—in the midfield? Even those who are inherently against all-star games and point to the fact that they "don't matter" couldn't deny how tantalizing and alluring that individual matchup will be.
Don't worry, the younger players who got snubbed in lieu of Donovan will get their chance.
But for now, it's all about showcasing the most recognizable figure in the sport.
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