Just three days ago, both Landon Donovan and America were shocked by the news of Donovan not making the 23-man USMNT roster for the upcoming World Cup Brazil 2014.
The USMNT will be heading to Brazil without the three-time World Cup standout and the U.S. team’s all-time leading scorer. Landon Donovan has five career World Cup goals. That is more than David Beckham (3), Cristiano Ronaldo (2), and Lionel Messi (1). That is an outstanding statistic, but rather than creating scoring chances for the USMNT, Donovan will be watching and playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS.
Some may think leaving Donovan out is in the best interesting of the future of the USMNT. This is Jürgen Klinsmann moving in the direction of much younger players rather than relying on the veterans and the old faces of the USMNT.
But other fans may think leaving Donovan off of the roster is the worst possible move for the USMNT. With the tough group stage matches the USMNT have to play, Donovan could be the player off the bench that creates chances and does what he does best, score goals.
Both thoughts have valid points, but what does Donovan think?
“I think if I’m being judged based solely on what happened in camp, then I absolutely deserved to be going to Brazil,” Donovan said.
Donovan thought he deserved to be going to Brazil, but he also thought he played well enough to maybe earn a starting position too.
“Based on my performances leading up to camp, based on my preparations for the camp, based on my fitness, based on my workload, based on the way I trained and played in camp, I not only thought I was a part of the 23, I thought I was in contention to be starting,” Donovan said.
But was Klinsmann’s assessment of Donovan solely based on his performance in camp?
I do not think so. Klinsmann’s thoughts on Donovan’s performance could date all the way back to earlier this year when Donovan stepped away from the game for four months to rest his body leading up to the World Cup. He is 32 and his body cannot keep up with the rest of the younger players. He even said himself he cannot constantly train at a high speed for multiple days and expect to stay sharp.
Klinsmann could have also used the friendly against Mexico earlier this year as a way to assess Donovan’s play. The USMNT was beating Mexico in this game 2-0 until Donovan came off the bench. Donovan did not start this game because he was not in game shape and it showed. He was not the Donovan the American fans know him to be.
Whether Klinsmann used just training camp to make the 23-man roster for the World Cup Brazil 2014 or games leading up to it, Donovan is still off the roster and controversy needs to be set aside to focus on the upcoming World Cup.
Donovan handled the surprising news well and mentioned that he does not have any more comments about the roster cut and will continue to support the USMNT.