Landon Donovan’s dramatic goal on Wednesday didn’t just keep the United States in the World Cup.
It also may have paved the way for a reconciliation with his estranged actress wife.
Donovan has been quite open about his enduring feelings toward Bianca Kajlich, the woman whom he married on Dec. 31, 2006 and separated from in July of 2009.
Donovan and “Rules of Engagement” star Bianca Kajlich had an emotional telephone conversation in the early hours of Thursday morning after he had blown her an on-camera kiss just moments after scoring the winner against Algeria.
And despite publicly baring his soul about “getting divorced” on several occasions over the past few months, Donovan told Yahoo! Sports on Thursday that the marriage is not over. “We are not officially divorced,” he said. “We spoke last night; it was nice.” note: Where there is love, apparently, there is hope.
Last month during training camp at Princeton, Landon spoke at length about his admiration for the “Rules of Engagement” actress, and how Bianca had taught him how to fight for everything – in her case, dramatic roles, and in his – dramatic goals. She taught me more and continues to do so,” Donovan said. “Bianca is an actress, and it can be miserable at times.”
The Los Angeles Galaxy star and Kajlich married in 2006 and split last year after he had returned from a loan spell with German side Bayern Munich.
The 28-year-old Donovan has always insisted that, despite the problems which caused the breakup, what he had learned from Kajlich helped him deal with the disappointment following the 2006 World Cup — when he failed to live up to his potential and grow as a person and a player.
“I think every comment I got when I told people I was getting divorced was, ‘I’m so sorry,’ ” Donovan said during the team’s pre-World Cup training camp in Princeton. “It is not always the case that it has to be ‘sorry.’
“Sometimes you learn more from those moments than anything. For me, that was certainly the case. It doesn’t have to be something ugly or nasty. It can be helpful and you can grow from it. That is what we both took from it.”
The FIFA World Cup 2010 has gone to plan so far. Now Donovan’s private life seems to be following suit.
“It would surprise no one if Landon and Bianca were back together very soon,” said a friend of Kajlich who speaks with her on a regular basis. “They have remained in contact and are very close to one another.”
The person, who asked for anonymity while not wanting to speak publicly about the private life of a friend, said Donovan’s gesture after the game was meaningful: “The fact that Landon wanted to share his special moment with her is very significant.”
Donovan’s winning goal against Algeria on Wednesday set up a knockout-stage clash with Ghana on Saturday in Rustenburg.
It’s no coincidence that the US soccer team has been wearing down opponents during the second halves of almost every match.
Pierre Barrieu, the U.S. fitness trainer, puts the players through the sort of rigorous cardio workouts that many other sides don’t.
“I’m not sure I can put these other teams through this much work,” Barrieu said. “There’d be a rebellion.”
The U.S. has three days to prepare for the match against Ghana, but Barrieu thinks that will work in the team’s favor, since Ghana has even a few hours’ less recovery time.
When there were six days between matches, the Americans would recover for two days, train for two days and then prepare for the game on the final day.
The trainer said that Oguchi Onyewu, the central defender who was benched for the Algeria match and is recovering from a left knee injury, can handle 90 minutes if necessary. [via Yahoo Sport and NY Daiy News]