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Oct 18, 2013

Landon Donovan proud of U.S. integrity

Only a late comeback by the United States on Tuesday preserved Mexico's World Cup hopes, but Landon Donovan says he wouldn't count on Mexico to save the U.S. if the situation were reversed.

Mexico was a minute away from failing to qualify for the World Cup on Tuesday, but the U.S. rallied to beat Panama with two goals in stoppage time, eliminating Panama instead.

Donovan didn't play in that game, but the Americans' star midfielder told MLSSoccer.com he did not think Mexico would have exerted the same effort to win the game if it were the U.S. on the brink.

"It was a miracle for them, and it says a lot about the American spirit," Donovan told the website. "I can't imagine that if the roles were reversed, that they would have done the same.

"And I can't imagine many teams around the world doing that for their rival, but our guys play hard always, and it was professional and it was with integrity. I'm proud to be part of that team."

In the final minutes of Tuesday's qualifiers, Mexico was losing at Costa Rica 2-1 and Panama was beating the U.S. 2-1. Had Panama beaten the U.S., they would have finished fourth in the CONCACAF standings, eliminating Mexico.

Instead, Graham Zusi equalized for the U.S. in the second minute of stoppage and Aron Johannsson won the game a minute later. Mexico finished fourth and advanced to play a two-legged playoff against New Zealand.

Donovan, who left the U.S. camp with an injured left ankle before the final qualifier against Panama, watched the game at home.

"It was wild. It was fun to watch," Donovan told MLSSoccer.com. "I was sitting at home, trying to switch back and forth between the games and trying to keep updated."

Donovan also said many Mexican fans thanked him on Twitter after the Americans' win.

"I've had quite a bit of love on Twitter and I wasn't even there," he said.

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