Coach Jurgen Klinsmann trimmed his roster to 23 players. Surprisingly an expected name is missing from the list. Landon Donovan, who was considered the best male player in the history of United States soccer, is out of the U.S. World Cup team declared on Thursday.
With 57 goals and 58 assists Donovan is the career leader for the national team. The 32 year-old was seeking to play in the world cup for the fourth time. He already had 156 international appearances.
He was the key player for the 2010 U.S. World Cup Team. With his great vision and threatening speed he provided the opportunity for the team to play in the second round.
After all this memoirs, anyone following the national team closely, will not be surprised with Donovan’s exclusion. Someone can agree and someone still can’t.
Despite his experience, Klinsmann had to make opportunity for forwards like Chris Wondolowski and Aron Johannsson. With Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey they deserved instead to be named for the U.S. World Cup team.
“I am very disappointed with today’s decision and I was looking forward to playing in Brazil”
Donovan expressed like this on his Facebook page.
Right back Brad Evans was also cut from the U.S. World Cup Team on Thursday. It was quite surprising move from the coach. There are some other names like – Terrence Boyd, Michael Parkhurst, Joe Corona, Maurice Edu and Clarence Goodson. They were also kept out for the team.
The United States has opened its training camp recently ahead of next month’s World Cup in Brazil. Just before the event, Klinsmann made clear to reporters that the roster spots are to be earned, never to be gifted as career achievement awards.
Klinsmann told the Associated Press,
“I just see some other players slightly ahead of him, so I have to make the decisions as of today”
“Donovan knows I have the highest respect for him and what is good today for this group is going into Brazil”
Klinsmann always respects for what Donovan did for U.S. soccer. But he had to take the decision, though it may seem a little rude.
“You give him every compliment he deserves. Unfortunately soccer is about what you do today and what you hopefully do tomorrow”
“The group is based on what we go through together and what we believe and for today it is the right decision”
Landon Donovan took a self-imposed four-month sabbatical from soccer in December 2012. But he returned and played superbly in the 2013 Gold Cup. And he was relegated to reserve duty last month for a friendly against Mexico. Klinsmann said that Donovan lacked speed and insistence in training. He also appeared heavier than in the past.
Klinsmann also appeared concerned that Donovan lacked motivation and was too willing to accept a lesser role on the national team. Especially after his inconsequential stints in the Bundesliga, Klinsmann also questioned about Donovan’s toughness.
Still, his absence could add more vulnerability to the U.S. World Cup Team. The team has historically struggled to score in the tournament and no U.S. forward has delivered a goal in the World Cup since 2002. Where Donovan has five goals in World Cup.
“If Landon is on the field, he’s our top one or two players”
Goalkeeper Tim Howard told reporters.
Donovan had seemed resigned and excited while speaking to reporters in recent days. After conceding that injury and age had tempered his skill. He might have to play as a reserve. But he said he remained confident in his ability. May be he deserved to be on the U.S. World Cup Team.
He told reporters,
“I have to prove that, and I have to earn it”
Unlike his first appearance in the World Cup 2002, he did not have the youthful energy and excitement. Probably Donovan can see the game and I see the situation a lot more changed.
U.S. World Cup Team, that klinsmann declared is listed below:
The full squad:
Forwards: Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) and Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar)
Midfielders: Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) and Jermaine Jones (Besiktas)
Defenders: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC) andFabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
Goalkeepers: Tim Howard (Everton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa) and Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)