On This Day 12 Years Ago: Landon Donovan And The USMNT’s Most Remarkable Moment

‘You could not write a script like this.’

The USMNT has had some iconic moments. From dos a cero to the John Brooks game to Tim Howard’s 16-save masterclass, USMNT fans have several moments they can look back on remembering exactly where they were, who they were with and what it felt like to watch the unbelievable unfold before their eyes. Yes, American soccer history is rich with brave performances, but one stands out above the rest. On June 23, 2010, 12 years ago to the day, we got the Landon Donovan Algeria goal heard ‘round the world. 

The Iconic Landon Donovan Algeria Goal

In its final group-stage game at the 2010 FIFA World Cup (my favorite World Cup for several reasons), the USMNT needed a win against Algeria to move onto the knockout stages. After 90 minutes of valiant effort to no avail, the Yanks found themselves on the brink of elimination. Cue Donovan. 

Last-gasp goals have been scored before, and this won’t be the last. Looking back at the play, however, you see just how desperate the players were to score. Then you bask in the celebration after, when you can see just how much it meant to the players. Even 12 years on, you just cannot help but get goosebumps. 

“When I look back at that play, it's commitment from a group of players who said, 'This isn't it for us,'" Maurice Edu told ESPN years later

“It's so difficult to advance out of your group at a World Cup, and when you put in so much time and effort, it's hard not to celebrate. It really is. Life is short,” Donovan said of the post-game celebrations, which included a visit from former President Bill Clinton.

For a young generation of USMNT fans, the game was also proof the U.S. belonged on the world stage. Donovan’s goal was proof that as a country we were capable of producing the iconic soccer moments that up until then young fans had only heard about. 

Also, shoutout to Ian Darke for some iconic commentary. “Go, go, USA!” will live on in history.

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