Twitter was awash with praise for LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan on Sunday night, as the soon-to-retire MLS legend netted a hat-trick to help his side thrash Real Salt Lake 5-0 in their Western Conference semi-final decider.
After a 0-0 stalemate in the first-leg, a defeat or score draw at the StubHub Center would have ended LA’s quest for a third MLS Cup title in four seasons and brought the curtain down on Donovan’s spectacular career.
The league’s all-time leader in both goals and assists ensured there was no danger of that, however, scoring three times and setting up a Robbie Keane strike to send Bruce Arena’s team through to the Championship series in emphatic fashion.
Having announced in August that he will hang up his boots at the end of the 2014 campaign, Donovan has been in remarkable form during his farewell tour, recording seven goals and 15 assists over the second-half of the regular-season to help ease the pain of his controversial World Cup omission.
Aged 32, the former Everton loanee is now bidding to claim a record-breaking sixth MLS Cup title to go out on but, judging from the reaction, a fair number of people seem to think he still has several good seasons left in his ageing legs.
LD on— Maurice Edu (@MauriceEdu) November 10, 2014
Landon Donavan— Eddie Johnson (@eddie_johnson7) November 10, 2014
LA is on another level tonight. Dangerous on every play— Taylor Kemp (@Tkemp02) November 10, 2014
LegenD.— Sean Franklin (@SFranklin5) November 10, 2014
I might be going out on a limb here so correct me if I'm wrong but I really think we should consider this Donovan guy for the National Team.— Jimmy Conrad (@JimmyConrad) November 10, 2014
That's a Landon Donovan goal I've seen a thousand times… And I'm not exaggerating by much #LegenD— Tally Hall (@tallyhallGK) November 10, 2014
It appears Landon didn't want this to be his last game #MLSPlayoffs— John Berner (@JohnnyB_12_) November 10, 2014
Hey @landondonovan .. Stop thinking about retirement bro..you know you really don't want to do this. You're too good to stop now. -Everyone— Jamie Watson (@jamiewatson77) November 10, 2014
Remember that time Landon Donovan scored a hat trick in the playoffs and Twitter debated his World Cup absence...again?— Jason Davis (@davisjsn) November 10, 2014
Man...with Landon Donovan, it's great to go out on top, but it's a shame to leave knowing you have a lot more to give.— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) November 10, 2014
Landon Donovan always steps up in the big moments. Year after year, and again now in the final weeks of his career.— Paul Tenorio (@PaulTenorio) November 10, 2014
Still in awe over that game last night. 5-0 domination. Donovan with a hat trick and assist. AMAZING.— Kiel Maddox (@KielMaddox) November 10, 2014
Donovan should have kept balling in England and not come back here. Always thought that. But he did amazing regardless.— Bangarang (@WHSKeeper08) November 10, 2014
My wife just said Landon Donovan shouldn't retire. I see no reason for him to either, honestly. Going out in amazing style. #ThanksLD— Chris (@DrJ_EFC_FAN) November 10, 2014