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Oct. 13, 2014
Oct. 13, 2014

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Oct. 13, 2014

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A final Q&A with soccer's Mr. U.S.A.

LANDON DONOVAN is the country's best—and best known—soccer player. He holds the USMNT records for appearances (156) and goals (57). On the eve of his final cap with the national team (Oct. 10 versus Ecuador), Donovan answered rapid-fire questions from SI's Grant Wahl.

This is an article from the Oct. 13, 2014 issue Original Layout

SI:Most memorable goals?

LD: With the national team I have two: my first goal [ever], at the L.A. Coliseum against Mexico [in 2000] and the Algeria goal [to save the U.S. from elimination at World Cup 2010].

SI:Best opponent?

LD: [Lionel] Messi. With Messi, you felt like the guy is so much better than everyone else that if he wants to turn it on, you have no chance. There's moments when Cristiano [Ronaldo] is like that too, but Messi, when we played against them, I just got that feeling. There was one play when he dribbled through the middle and guys were trying to smash him, and he just bounced off and bounced off, kept the ball on his feet and kept going. At that point there's nothing you can do. You're trying your hardest, and there's nothing you can do.

SI:Toughest defender?

LD: L√∫cio, for Brazil. He just physically was so imposing, so if you had the ball and went near him, he was just so powerful and strong that if he wanted it, he'd get it.

SI:Toughest goalkeeper?

LD: Oliver Kahn in [World Cup] 2002. I had my chance. That's the best save I've ever had against me.

SI:Best teammate?

LD: Frankie Hejduk, just because he was so selfless. Kyle Beckerman, similar, just a great guy, a guy you wanted on your team. And Brian Ching. We just got along well. We understand the game the same way.

SI:Best advice you ever got?

LD: That's an easy one. My mom always said to make sure you're having fun playing, and if you're not having fun, then don't play. Simple as that.

Read the complete interview at SI.com/soccer

They Said It

"No, not really. I might have some Cheetos later."

Delmon Young

Orioles DH when asked if he had ice in his veins after delivering a game-winning pinch-hit double with the bases loaded against Detroit in Game 2 of the ALDS.

PHOTOKIRBY LEE/USA TODAY SPORTS (DONOVAN)PHOTOROB CARR/GETTY IMAGES (YOUNG)