This Sunday, while millions of fans were tuned into the World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands, Team USA star Landon Donovan was throwing out the first pitch at the Los Angeles Dodgers – Chicago Cubs game in L.A. Instead of watching the finals, Donovan spent the day at Dodger Stadium, hanging out with fans and being a pure spectator. And for him, being a Dodger fan, it was an exciting day as his team went on to beat the Cubs 7-0 and Vicente Padilla, the Dodgers’ pitcher, went eight innings without giving up a hit.
Donovan, who plays for the L.A. Galaxy in the regular soccer season, helped Team USA win the group round for the first time in 80 years by scoring the only goal in their game against Slovenia. Despite the team’s best efforts, they were eliminated in the next round by Ghana. He told PopEater, “You’re immersed in it for so long, you want to get away from it. Besides, you know you can beat all of these teams.”
That’s the right frame of mind to have, though Team USA will have to fight just a little harder if they want to win big in 2014. Soccer is one arena where the United States is an underdog. The popularity of the World Cup seemed to explode this year in the States, and soccer stars here are going to have to work hard to keep that momentum going. Personally, before this World Cup I was definitely one of those people who didn’t know a thing about soccer! Now I know a little bit and it’s intrigued me enough to keep watching, but Team USA still has a long road ahead to make it to the finals.
Ironically, the Dodgers players and reports did watch the final minutes of the World Cup finals, according to MLB.com. Although Donovan said it was too hard for him to watch, I wonder if any of the Dodgers got a chance to talk to him about it. That could have made for some interesting locker room talk.
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