Last Night's Winner: The Apotheosis Of Landycakes

In sports, everyone is a winner—some people just win better than others. Like Landon Donovan, who yesterday cried on camera and blew a kiss to his ex and somehow didn't get fagbaited for it, the way he always has.

In a way, this is an even more impressive feat than the putback that dispatched the United States into the knockout rounds. For years, Donovan has played roughly the same role for soccer's peanut gallery that Peyton Manning and A-Rod once did for football's and baseball's: the guy whose technical brilliance could never overcome the prancing, twinkle-toed Danny Kaye of the soul. He went limp under the bright lights, it was said. He was too soft for Europe. American soccer fans talked about him the way NBA fans talk about 6-10 shooting guards out of Grozny. Someone, no one knows who, took to calling him Landycakes, and it caught on, perhaps thanks to these guys. In 2006, a software developer named Laurence Moroney wrote Foundations of WPF: An Introduction to Windows Presentation Foundation, in which close readers will find the following bit of programming:

Last Night's Winner: The Apotheosis Of Landycakes

Yesterday, Landon Donovan played 90 minutes of listless, tight-assed soccer that would've guaranteed him at least four more years of red-blooded American fagbaiting had the tie held. And then in the 91st minute, Donovan got a very good bounce and scored a very important goal and had a little cry and said hi to Bianca, and now we're all but canonizing the dude — "From Landycakes to St. Landon," is how ESPN's Roger Bennett puts it — proving once again that there's really nothing softer than a bunch of happy fans.