Though Landon Donovan's success against the Crew has been limited (three goals in 16 regular-season appearances) throughout his career, Crew Stadium has served as the stage for a plethora of memorable moments for Major League Soccer and U.S. Men's National Team all-time leading goalscorer's career. The playmaker won his first MLS Cup in Columbus with the San Jose Earthquakes and helped the U.S. defeat Mexico on three occasions in FIFA World Cup Qualifying.
Ahead of his final trip to Columbus before retiring at the end of the 2014 season, Donovan was asked about his most memorable moments in Crew Stadium.
"I have a lot of incredible memories with Crew Stadium," Donovan told media ahead of the Galaxy's trip to Columbus."For people that are too young to remember, Crew Stadium was the first soccer-specific stadium in the country. Because of that, we had a lot of opportunities to play big games there. I played with the [United States] Under-17 National Team against El Salvador to go to our World Cup, which was a huge game -- a successful game. Just off the top of my head, I remember playing Paraguay there, I remember playing Grenada there in a [FIFA World Cup] Qualifier and obviously all the games against Mexico.
"Crew Stadium will always hold a special place in my heart."
Among his all-time favorite memories in the Arch City, Donovan lists his first and last "Dos a Cero" appearances against Mexico.
"My two favorites [memories] are my first [World Cup Qualifier vs. Mexico], which I didn't actually play in the game, but being on the bench and watching Josh Wolff [and Earnie Stewart] score," Donovan reflected. "Winning 2-0 for the first time there and just realizing what a special atmosphere it was. Some of us had played in big games around the world and experienced that, but we'd never experienced that at home. So to have that was really incredible. Then my last experience [at Crew Stadium], playing Mexico and winning 2-0, was special. To score a goal there in what ended being my last game against Mexico was really special."
Before the Crew welcomes Donovan one last time on Saturday, here is a look at Donovan's top moments at Crew Stadium.
MLS Cup 2001 | Earthquakes 2 - Galaxy 1
In his first season in MLS, Donovan scored the equalizer just before halftime to help the San Jose Earthquakes to their first-ever MLS Cup in front of 21,626 fans at Crew Stadium. Dwayne De Rosario would add the winner in the second half and claim MLS Cup Most Valuable Player honors, but many fans and pundits view Donovan's first MLS Cup as his emergence into the American soccer spotlight. Also of note, Donovan netted a brace in Columbus to eliminate the Crew from the MLS Cup Playoffs in a 3-1 win for the 'Quakes at Crew Stadium.
International Friendly | USA 2 - Paraguay 0
Mexico isn't the only country to fall victim to the United States at Crew Stadium via a "Dos a Cero" scoreline. The Yanks welcomed Paraguay for a friendly in Columbus on July 6, 2003. Donovan and Earnie Stewart scored to claim the win for the Stars and Stripes.
2005 MLS All-Star Game | MLS All-Stars 4 - Fulham FC 1
In Major League Soccer's first All-Star game against a foreign club, Donovan didn't score but assisted on Taylor Twellman's opening goal in the 23rd minute to help lift the League to victory over its English competitors.
2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifier | USA 2 - Mexico 0
Though Donovan started in the 2005 and 2009 installments of USA-Mexico at Crew Stadium, his most recent appearance was one for the ages. Following Eddie Johnson's 49th-minute tally, Donovan cemented the Dos a Cero scoreline by pounding Mix Diskerud's cross into the roof of the net to help the U.S. qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. With retirement imminent, his 57th nation-leading tally may go down as his final goal in Red, White and Blue.