Landon Donovan, who is retiring after the MLS season, will make his final appearance for the U.S. National Team when it plays Ecuador at Rentschler Field on Oct. 10. It will be the first game for the U.S. team on home turf since the World Cup. Donovan's presence should make up for the absence of goalkeeper Tim Howard, whose record 15 saves in the Americans' loss to Belgium at the World Cup became the stuff of legend this summer. Howard will not be among those on the field in October. He has decided to take a yearlong break from the national team.

Since Yankees reliever Shawn Kelley started wearing a horse head during warmup drills, the Yankees have gone on a five-game winning streak (as of Monday). According to Yahoo! Sports, Kelley saw the one-pound latex head online and thought that it would loosen up his teammates. So he bought it. "When I see those things, randomly in a crowd, it makes me laugh," he told Yahoo! Sports. "So I figured I'll do that, and it'll make everyone laugh in the clubhouse."

The Stratton Faxon New Haven Road Race, the 20K national championship, will have a stellar women's field Monday. Olympians Amy Hastings (11th in the 10,000 in London) and Molly Huddle (11th in the 5,000 meters) will be running the 37th annual race. Huddle recently broke the American record in the 5,000 meters (14:42.64) and Hastings won the Peachtree Road Race, the 10K national championship, last month. ... CBS Sports Network is launching a women's sports talk show called "We Need to Talk" Sept. 30 at 10 p.m. featuring an all-women's panel that will include sportswriting and sportscasting pioneer Lesley Visser, NFL CEO Amy Trask and broadcasters Dana Jacobson and Allie LaForce, as well as appearances by Lisa Leslie, Dara Torres and others.

Did USC's Josh Shaw really sprain both of his ankles jumping off a balcony to save his nephew, who allegedly was in distress in a pool below him? Apparently, some have questioned the validity of the story and USC is investigating. ... When UConn football season ticket holders look at their tickets for Friday's game at Rentschler Field, they will notice that the kickoff time is listed as 8 p.m. After the tickets were printed, ESPN changed the game time to 7 p.m. So UConn kicks off at 7 p.m. Write it down.

lriley@courant.com