Landon Donovan Omission was Orchestrated Over a Year Ago
In my personal opinion, the decision to keep Landon Donovan off of the World Cup squad was not made last week; it was made last year! It was made when Donovan decided to take several months away from the game in late 2012, during a period when the USA was in the thick of a qualification battle for this very World Cup. With their backs almost against the wall, Donovan was nowhere to be found. It was during this period that manager Jurgen Klinsmann probably made the decision that Donovan wouldn’t be a part of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Of course Donovan came back out from his temporary retirement, and did eventually find his way back in the United States soccer team for the 2013 Gold Cup, though that was a competition in which Klinsmann called up a “B squad” following several important qualification games, of which Donovan was left off.
While the American superstar attacker did shine at the Gold Cup (and helped the USA win it), goals against nations like El Salvador and Honduras don’t really stack up against the upcoming opponents like Ghana, Portugal, and Germany!
Back in May of 2013, when Donovan had been left off of the qualification games’ squad, Klinsmann had stated, “there have been a lot of players who have joined the program and are making a big impact, showing that they are 1,000 percent committed to the cause.” That right there is the vital phrase: “1,000 percent committed!”
You can argue that Landon Donovan is still the best player for America (especially considering his leadership qualities), and that he has had the most distinguished professional soccer career of any American, but is he completely committed to the cause? Of course not!
Yeah, I’d sure like to sit out all the annoying qualification games against Caribbean Island nations that simply try to kick the crap out of you, and then just show up when the big time matches of the World Cup arrive, but that’s not a very dependable persona. Klinsmann wants players that are hungry for their opportunity and desperate to make an impact.
While Landon Donovan has been great for the USA, he clearly was foreseeing this tournament as his grand swan song. He had the chance to make his impact over the course of his distinguished career. Back in 2010 he helped America out of the group stage with a thrilling last-minute goal against Algeria, but he couldn’t take the team any further.
Jurgen Klinsmann has set his sights on making a deep run at the World Cup, to the semifinals and beyond. While Donovan has been great, he is not the guy who can take us there, and it’s currently because he has questioned his own desire and commitment. Other youngsters like Julian Green, John Brooks, and DeAndre Yedlin have been desperate for this opportunity, and they will take it! While it hurts now, this decision may pay off later down the road.
But in the here and now, the USA faces a major test at this World Cup. There is a strong possibility that we could finish dead last in our group, let alone think about emerging from it. The team may miss Donovan’s bursts down the field, and they may falter entirely, but at least we know that these players are the ones burning with desire and passion to always play, and that’s what Klinsmann wants! I guess Landon Donovan can now sit around and ponder his soccer future some more…