Landon Donovan's strong game against Spain in the semifinals of the 2009 Confederations Cup not only helped give the USA an historic 2-0 win, it earned the Los Angeles Galaxy star rare respect for an American player among the elite of European soccer.
The three FC Barcelona members attending a the press conference in Beverly Hills before Saturday's Galaxy-Barca game at the Rose Bowl not only knew Donovan's name, they know his game. "He's a great player," said Barca captain Carles Puyol. "He's very fast. He goes straight to goal. He has great mobility and he's very dangerous."
Coach Pep Guardiola praised the USA for its play in South Africa. "They did well in the Confederations Cup," he said. "They're growing up as a national team."