World Cup Countdown: 20 Days to Go!
I am still stunned with the news that Landon Donovan was left off the US World Cup team. Is he as fast and fit as in his younger years? No. Is he still a better choice for a World Cup team than an 18-year-old German kid whose international experience consists of one half of one game, who does not play on his club team's first team, and who spent almost no time in this country? Yes, I believe Landon would have contributed more to this team -- on AND off the field -- than Julian Green. I'm sure Green is a great kid, and has a bright future, but Donovan is the face of American soccer, a leader, and even if he isn't a starter, he could have added creativity, vision and experience off the bench. Klinsmann obviously knows more about soccer than I do, but this move seems strange and may backfire.
Here is Klinsmann's explanation:
"This is certainly one of the toughest decisions — the toughest decision in my coaching career – to tell a player like him with everything he’s done and what he represents, to tell him that you’re not part of those 23 right now,” Klinsmann said in a video released Thursday by US Soccer. “I just see some other players slightly ahead of him.”
“The last 10 days he did everything right,” Klinsmann said of Donovan’s performance in training camp. “He was always positive, he took it the best way possible. So his disappointment is huge. I totally understand that. He took it very professional, because he’s an outstanding professional player and he knows that I have the highest respect for him.
“But I have to make the decisions as of today. I have to make the decisions what is good today for this group going into Brazil and I just think that the other guys right now are a little bit ahead of him and I told him that. And he understands it, but obviously he’s very disappointed.”
And here is Donovan's message he posted to fans on Facebook: “It has been an honor and privilege to have represented the US National Team in three World Cups. I was looking forward to playing in Brazil and, as you can imagine, I am very disappointed with today’s decision. Regardless, I will be cheering on my friends and teammates this summer, and I remain committed to helping grow soccer in the US in the years to come. Thanks for all your support, Landon.
And here is former MLS player Jimmy Conrad's response on Twitter: Just double checking my math. 1 cap, no 1st team minutes with club team > 156 caps, 5 World Cup goals, best player in U.S. history. Got it.