Report: Klinsmann snubs Donovan for upcoming USMNT qualifiers

KlinsmannDonovan (ISIPhotos.com)


Jurgen Klinsmann made it clear three weeks ago that Landon Donovan’s place on the U.S. Men’s National Team was no longer assured, and that it could be some time before we see the national team’s all-time leading scorer back in uniform.

Now we know that time won’t be any time soon.

Sports Illustrated is reporting that Klinsmann has left Landon Donovan off the roster for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s upcoming training camp ahead of a pair of friendlies and three World Cup qualifiers in May and June.

The roster for the camp will be announced on Thursday.

The news isn’t that much of a surprise given Klinsmann’s comments last month about Donovan, where he made it clear that Donovan’s absence from the team had hurt his standing in the USMNT pecking order.

“We observe what the players are doing in camp, how we’re going through that stretch of very difficult qualifying games. We see the chemistry of the team developing and we try to have a clear picture of every individual player and what they brings to the table in moving this team forward,” Klinsmann said last month.

“Most of the time (Donovan) was not part of that process,” Klinsmann said. “That was his choice, and I totally understand that, and it’s no problem, but at the same time we’re moving forward at our speed.

“There is a chemistry being developed of a group and you always have to feel where this whole thing is moving towards, and he hasn’t been a part of that development of this team most of the time over the past two years.”

While Klinsmann’s exclusion of Donovan will clearly surprise some people, the reality is Donovan has not been anywhere close to his best form since returning to the Galaxy in April after an extended break. Aside from one quality game against Sporting Kansas City, Donovan has been largely underwhelming and has missed a pair of penalty kicks along the way.

So what now for Donovan? He will be able to focus on playing for the Galaxy, and if he gets back to his best form, a call up for the Gold Cup in July seems like a perfect opportunity for him to be integrated back into the national team set-up. A strong performance in the Gold Cup could them draw him closer to a call-up for the next round of qualifiers, in September.

With Donovan not in the picture, Klinsmann will likely to turn to players such as Graham Zusi, Herculez Gomez and potentially Alejandro Bedoya and Fabian Johnson as wide midfield options.

What do you think of Klinsmann leaving Donovan out of the June qualifiers? Think it’s a good idea? Think Klinsmann is crazy for leaving Donovan out?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Paul

    if Landon cannot get in form under Bruce do you really think hill get in form un JK? Not likely one bit. Also is Landon still even going to be playing by the next world cup? Times are a changing and it’s pretty obvious many people don’t like it. Change is inevitable, and I personally like it. Quit living in the past.


  • Todd T

    I am not sure I get the people who think Klinsi is crazy and letting his ego getting the better of him. What he has done so far is get the US through 3 WCQ games and earned 4 points. Pretty much right where anybody with an ounce of common sense could have hoped to be at this point in qualification.

    Guess what…we played those games without Donovan!!! We can play the next couple of qualifiers without him. Donovan made a choice to take time off. Maybe the smartest thing he could have done for his career but also incredibly selfish to miss the first 3 qualifiers. Action leads to consequence. He is not fit…he clearly is not the same player…yet!!!

    The coaches job is to prepare the team for the present and the future at the same time. Meaning he has to get ready for the decline or demise of Donovan’s skill set. He has to have guys ready to step and fill the void. Nobody will argue with the fact that we don’t have somebody who can do what he does. We still haven’t found somebody who could do what Reyna did but we moved on. Klinsi made it clear from the beginning that you have to earn your spot on this team. IF you don’t play at a good level in club you will not get called up…Boca….if you are not giving the effort required of you….Jozy….you will not get a call…if you chooses to take a vacation to work on your life problems….Landon….you will not get a call. But if you are working your ass off playing anywhere you can get a game and devote all of your energies to getting back to your team then….Stu….you get the call.

    Dropping Donovan is consistent with everything he has done so far. Landon has to show he belongs at this level again. Right now clearly he is not there….yet!!!! I expect he will be a part of the team and if he can regain full form will start during the Cup….but for now there is no free passes.

    That only leaves Sacha Kljestan. I am not sure what to say about him. He plays well for his team and his team is good for a medium level league but I am not sure he would do well in a mid level team in a top league. It is kinda like looking at Jozy’s numbers in Holland. They are impressive but can you make an impact in a better league. Of the two, Jozy seems to have the tools to move up.

    Kljestan is a defensive liability for the USMNT. Maybe if we had true wingers with speed that could compensate for his short comings….but we don’t. If Sasha is so good why hasn’t he moved to a bigger league and a better team? Klinsi has made it clear about getting out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself. Dempsey did with fair results…I hope he has enough in his tank to make another jump next season at Tottenham.

    So how about we support our coach even if we don’t understand everything he does and let’s root for the guys who show up to play!!!!


    • soccerhorn

      This argument is specious. The thing that bothers everyone about JK is that he says one thing and does another. For every “player in the doghouse” that Klinsman has snubbed (Kljestan, Altidore, Donovan), there’s another that gets off the hook – especially if they’re German. For example, Klinsmann made it quite clear that anyone who wanted to play for the USMNT would have to prove to him how bad they wanted it – and then continues to call in Timmy Chandler, who couldn’t have been more clear about his lack of desire to play for the US if he’d rented out an airplane and written it in the sky over JK’s helipad.


      • Todd T

        He called Chandler into camp to cap tie him to the US. Any coach that doesn’t try to get in dual national players if foolish and myopic in their coaching vision.

        Do you really think Chandler is disinterested in playing for the US now?

        If you are asking me would I take a “German” player over an “American” player especially one who has been brought up through the German youth system. I would take the best player with the best technical skill. Pragmatically (8 times out of 10) that would be the American who happens to be a dual national, born in Germany. What the worse thing that happens. They are not good enough and somebody else steps in…having depth has never been a USMNT strong suit. So build a German bridge and get over it.

        I am sorry but we do not produce a great number of technically skilled players. Ramos, Reyna, O’Brien, Dempsey…and Dempsey is debatable. Please don’t come back with what about Landon…I only have to say Leverkusen twice and Bayern Munchen. And yes I do believe he could have stayed at Everton and had an impact…if he had the heart for it but he didn’t. If he had half the heart that Dempsey has then he would be twice the player he is…but he has preferred to be a big fish in a small pond and not challenge himself.

        If Dempsey hasn’t achieved “shit” in Klinsi eyes(because all his accomplishments have been on small team and the small stage), which I understand the point….than where does that leave Landon…a complete failure? No one can argue his ability when he was younger. He was a great player but aside with a few cameos in England he hasn’t accomplished anything.

        As for Kljestan, what would he be in the dog house for? Not being good enough?

        I would agree with you about letting Jones play when he was on suspension and not playing at Shalke. But Jones is a tireless work horse and bleeds for the team. I would rather have Jones with his getting caught in possession than having Beckerman getting caught without speed.

        By the way Chandler was seen for the future rather than the present until Dolo got hurt…now Dolo is back and Chandler is hurt. When he come back from injury there has been some talk about Chandler playing on the wing and having Cameron at right back. Wow a skilled player that can play multiple positions better than most of the player in out player pool. Yeah your right…screw him…I’d rather bite off my nose to spite my face. That’s not being “Specious”…it is just foolish.


  • CentralScrutinizer

    Anyone who has watched Donovan play for the Galaxy since he returned from his hiatus will understand Klinsmann’s decision. Landon hasn’t been very good. He lacks confidence and doesn’t deserve a call up. And I’m a huge Donovan fan.


  • PD

    I’m going to reserve judgement about this call-up until later on in the summer. It would seem that JK believes –and I would say rightly so– that the US can handle these next two matches without him. That gives LD time to continue to find his form and fitness. I don’t think anyone believes that this is the end of LD in the red white and blue anymore than I think anyone would deny that we need to give the next generation minutes in games like this. It’s a call that makes sense and I do not think it hurts LDs chances on having a ticket to Brasil.


  • David M

    It’s obvious that Klinsmann doesn’t want Donovan on the team, period.

    It’s interesting to note that under Klinsmann, the US have played really attractive, attacking soccer in just one game — the 5-1 win over Scotland. In that game, Donovan scored a hat-trick and had two assists. Klinsmann might be afraid that with Donovan the team might actually go forward, attack, and pass the ball towards the opponent’s goal. Not something the USMNT has done this year.


    • Todd T

      Genius…that’s it!!! Why didn’t any of us think of this before. Thanks for your insight!!!!


      • David M

        Are you planning on dedicating the rest of your life to defending Klinsmann?


      • Todd T

        No….but at some point we have to realize that he knows more than us. I honestly don’t think he is perfect nor do I think he is the best tactical mind. I do believe he has a unique understanding of what US soccer needs to do to move forward. I don’t believe he is afraid of Donovan or the idea of forward play. I think he is making Donovan earn his spot. The spot which he gave up voluntarily. If he was in top form and being left off then I might believe something else was going. I respect Klinsi because he said from the very beginning’ “no spot is safe”. He is being true to his word. The truth is in Donovan’s present form. We don’t need him for these games. Just like we didn’t need Jozy during the early rounds of qualification. Not for nothing, shouldn’t we defend our coach? Especially because he has played and won on the biggest stage. By the way I supported Bradley and Arena too.


      • soccerhorn

        No spot is safe unless you’re Timmy Chandler or Jermaine Jones.


      • Todd T

        Actually I think Howard, Bradley, Dempsey and Jones are locks. I think that Chandler, F. Johnson, Cameron and Gomez are mostly locks. I don’t disagree in the players you mentioned but I disagree that only Germans are locks.


      • Todd T

        By the way before the end of Bob Bradley’s coaching rein…he benched Donovan for being in ineffective during the Gold Cup.


  • bryan

    while i do think having Donovan off the bench could be good, the truth is, he just hasn’t looked good in MLS. he’s CLEARLY going to be on the Gold Cup squad if left off WCQs. i think that makes sense to be honest.

    we have very few players who are dynamic as him, but he’s just getting back to himself. i can sympathize with both sides here.


  • Brett

    I think Klinsmann challenged Donovan and was unhappy with his response (to slink away and collect himself). That bridge appears burned, which sucks, because Donovan was THE key man in the ONLY truly inspiring performance put in under Klinsmann (the thrashing of Scotland in which Landon scored 3 and assisted on 2 of the 5 goals).


    • Todd T

      Scotland was terrible….please don’t let that be your only argument!!!!!


      • Brett

        They certainly looked it, particularly with Landon shredding them up and down the pitch.

        We’ve played several opponents since then that are comparable (even worse) than Scotland in that match, and yet we still look like we don’t know how to play with the ball.


      • Todd T

        I don’t disagree with you there. I think we are still quite a ways from the type of team that we want to be. I think everybody thought this would happen in 1 WC cycle when it is obvious that it will take 10 years or more to have the developmental system changes to take effect. BUT most of the articles and pods that I listened to said Scotland was lifeless and disinterested for that game. If we are to believe we were as good as we looked against Scottland then we have to believe we are as bad as we looked against Canada. My point is have a little perspective. We are only a good team. Now you could make a strong case that we might not be any better than when Klinsi took over.


  • Rami

    This Landon Donovan is god crowd cracks me up, only because in Landons best years there was a vocal Landon sucks crowd.


    • Helium-3

      The team is always bigger than any player. Nothing new here.

      Donovan is a predictable player that relies on his fitness, quickness & speed to get
      around players. He needs space to play his game and if not given space, he doesn’t
      have the individual skill to beat players. This is why he drifts wide to get space because
      he doesn’t have ball skills to play in tight spaces in the middle of the field.

      When he plays, the rest of the team plays differently. There is too much reliance on him to make things happen so it’s better from a team perspective that he doesn’t play since it allows the team to be more balanced/dynamic.


      • Brett

        Every piece of evidence I can gather (match film) says that the USMNT is more dynamic in terms of attacking movement and possession play with Landon on the pitch than they are without him.

        It’s not a matter of Landon being this can’t miss player with tons of skill, he just makes our team better and without him we look like the third best team in our confederation.


  • MLS_Soccer_Talker

    Honestly, If YOU were the Coach, and not a die hard USMNT fan who has been watching this team since 2002, would you call up players based on what they have shown in the past or what they have shown under your tenure…..realistically, Donovan had 1 good outing for the USMNT all of last year and then he left the team..since coming back tosoccer he has looked rusty…why would you call in a player who isnt even in form? The only thing people on here keep sayin is “well in the past” Donovan did this/that…. Well guess what?? The game is played in the present. How about we get behind our Coach who hasnt let us down thus far and get behind the players who have been with team through out the WCQ process.


  • SoB

    If we had a pool of prospective players that had what LD brings to the table then it would make sense to not call him up. We don’t. I want to go to the World Cup. we need Landon. Winning is the most important objective and we are about to be to the midway point of the HEX. This is no time to experiment. I can’t stand Landon sometimes but I couldn’t imagine a World Cup without the USA (I was 4 last time it happened). All of this barking is pointless. If Klinsy thinks that the best USA 18 doesn’t include a healthy (if not in top form) Landon then maybne he knows something we don’t, but not inviting him to camp?


  • Goalscorer24

    It all comes down to this: If we win in June Klinsmann is a genius, if we lose he is a fool.


  • KG

    could mean the difference between six and nine points this summer. Stupid move.


  • Gary Page

    With so many comments, don’t know if anyone will read this, but, IMHO Donovan isn’t in form. In fact, he is not near to being in form. The penalty kick he missed recently is indicative. From his approach on that kick it was obvious to me that he is really lacking in confidence now. Also, he seems hesitant about taking on players and just looks unsure at times on the pitch. Until he can regain his form/ touch, and confidence, I think he would not be of any great help to the USMNT.


  • Joe Dirt

    Truth is Donovan is better at Yoga than Klinsmann., which f’s up Klinsmanns Yen.

    Later they’ll get a couples massage and make up.

    Seriously, you leave off our best player for frickin WCQs. That’s insane, JKs officially on crack.

    Form is fleeting, but class is permanent.

    Last I checked we need some speed on the wings, wtf Klinsmann.


  • Mig

    So is it possible that JK can get fired at any point short of the US not qualifying? If we take 2 points from our next three games…does he go?

    Looking for a bright side to all this. Maybe it will snow for the Jamaica game.

    And I’m only joking a little bit.


  • Michael F. SBI Mafia Original

    I’ve had enough of this clown. No player can do what LD does especially Zusi.
    Are we really having this conversation?


    • biff

      Last week the Bundesliga.de web site posted a video on its Home Page of Klinsmann in the 1990s throwing a temper tantrum when he was playing for FC Bayern. Herr Klinsmann was angry because he was pulled out of a game. As he went to the sidelines he yelled angrily at his coach and then kicked a hole in a big advertising container. The video is linked below.

      As your watching it, just keep in mind that this same man 20 years later is making the decisions that will decide the fate of USMNT players. And, after promising to give several coaches tryouts for assistant jobs, he changed his mind a few weeks later chose Martin Vasquez as his assistant. Oh yeah, he also promised attacking soccer and up to this point the USMNT under his guidance has not scored one goal on a counter attack. Not one single goal. If you want to see a team that knows how to counter just watch Egypt under Bob Bradley.



      • GW

        “Last week the Bundesliga.de web site posted a video on its Home Page of Klinsmann in the 1990s throwing a temper tantrum when he was playing for FC Bayern. Herr Klinsmann was angry because he was pulled out of a game. As he went to the sidelines he yelled angrily at his coach and then kicked a hole in a big advertising container. The video is linked below.

        As your watching it, just keep in mind that this same man 20 years later is making the decisions that will decide the fate of USMNT players.”

        So what?

        I followed JK as a player and the about those videos is that it confirms what I’ve always known, the man is a very poor loser.

        He will do anything to qualify. Maybe he’ll even bring LD back to the team if Landon actually starts playing like a real national team player.

        He will do anything to get as close to winning the World Cup as possible.

        As a USMNT fan I view the willingness to do anything to win in a manager as a positive.

        “And, after promising to give several coaches tryouts for assistant jobs, he changed his mind a few weeks later chose Martin Vasquez as his assistant.”

        So? BFD.

        “Oh yeah, he also promised attacking soccer and up to this point the USMNT under his guidance has not scored one goal on a counter attack. Not one single goal. If you want to see a team that knows how to counter just watch Egypt under Bob Bradley.”

        Better yet watch any USMNT game when the team was managed by Bob Bradley.
        Counter attacks are the hallmark of a team focused on defense first. By definition, a “counter” is given AFTER the opponent throws the first blow.

        Bradley’s teams primarily scored off the counter, and then set pieces. USMNT fans found this negative and boring and is one reason y’all lobbied for and got his head.

        Counter attacks have nothing to do with what JK promised.


  • Pingback: Donovan shines as Galaxy rout Union | Soccer By Ives

  • dcpohl

    If Donovan plays well in MLS, he’s probably going to play a part later in qualifying. Heck, I bet a reinvigorated Donovan even goes back to England for a loan as the final preparation for his last World Cup. That sabbatical he had was the last time he’s going to get a break until the end of the 2014 MLS season. Then he’ll retire.


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