- Associated Press - Saturday, July 27, 2013

CHICAGO (AP) - Landon Donovan’s self-imposed sabbatical did wonders for him. Did wonders for the U.S. men, too.

The Americans are playing Panama on Sunday in the Gold Cup final largely because of Donovan. Re-energized after a four-month break last winter, Donovan is playing perhaps the best soccer of his career. He has five goals and seven assists in the tournament, and has had a hand in a goal in each of the Americans’ first five games.

Donovan said he’s enjoyed the tournament “tremendously.” And coach Jurgen Klinsmann says he’s been very pleased with the role Donovan has played _ on and off the field. He’s taken an active role with the many young players, something that will be even more critical with Klinsmann suspended for the final Sunday.