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Donovan discusses Davies, the World Cup and more

Landon Donovan (MichaelJanoszISII)

Photo by Michael Janosz/


Landon Donovan knows all too well how important playing in the World Cup is. Though he is slated to play in his third World Cup, the U.S. national team star still doesn't take the selection for granted, and realizes just what it means for those chosen, and those not chosen.

For that reason, Donovan can understand the reaction from both fans and Charlie Davies over Davies' exclusion from the provisional U.S. World Cup roster. Donovan makes it clear that as saddening as the decision was, it was the decision the team had to make.

"It's an easy thing to say, 'oh gosh, he should have been there', but our medical staff and our coaches spend more hours then anyone will ever know evaluating players so if they made the decision that he's not ready then he's not ready," said Donovan. "It's a bitter pill to swallow, and we love Charlie, no one wants him on the team more than I do, but the reality is that if you're not ready, this a World Cup and you need to have guys who are ready."

While Davies' World Cup dream is over, the forward line will be bolstered by a pair of forwards that Donovan has played with before, Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez. The strikers have forced their way into the National Team picture by leading their respective leagues in scoring, form Donovan believes makes them great candidates to help the team.

"I've always said that I've been for bringing guys who are in form," said Donovan. "If it's talent versus who is in form, then I want the guy who is performing, and they are both guys that have done well and they deserve it." 

The inclusion of Buddle and Gomez for the Princeton camp has raised some red flags as the forwards have spent little to no time with the core pool during the World Cup cycle. While a majority of those included in the 30-man roster have spent a considerable amount of time with the team, the inclusion of new players could damage the chemistry of a close knit squad. Donovan doesn't see that being an issue.

"Other teams it might, but with our team it doesn't. Our team runs and monitors itself so we won't let that happen," said Donovan. "There's going to be some competition for spots, but once the 23 are named, that is our team and we're going to make sure that we come together and bond like a team."

With the attention about to turn to the World Cup, Donovan prepares to leave a Galaxy team that is firing on all cylinders. The Galaxy is in the midst of an undefeated run that has taken LA to the top of league table with a record of 7-0-1. Central to the club's rise has been the play of Buddle and Donovan, the respective MLS goal and assist leaders. 

Although the offensive stars have gained accolades, the defense has been sound, surrendering only two goals all season. Donovan understands that the defense has been just as integral in leading the Galaxy to an unbeaten record.

"I've always believed in any team that when the team does well defensively, it's not just the defenders and the goalkeeper, but the effort of the entire team as a whole," said Donovan. "In the moments when the midfielders have slipped up, our the defenders have stepped up and done a good job, and then when you get by our defenders and create a chance for yourself,  Donovan (Ricketts) has stopped everything that comes his way so you put all together and it makes for a great team."

Despite the early success, the Galaxy is  considered by many to be the team that will suffer the most due to the World Cup with Donovan and potentially Buddle away on National Team duty. That, coupled with the absence of the injured David Beckham, could leave the Galaxy a bit thin, but Donovan doesn't sound too worried.

"The beauty of our team and what Bruce has done, is that he's built the team very deep," said Donovan. "Any other team in MLS, if you took their top three offensive players away then I don't think they would win a game. Our team is going to be okay, we're not going to be what they were with all of us around, but our team is going to be okay."

Following Saturday's match against Toronto FC, Donovan will turn his attention to the camp and then South Africa. As the nation begins to focus on the United States' date with England, Donovan believes that the national team will be ready.

"We've got the guys that compete as well as anyone in the world," said Donovan. "And on June 12th, we're just going to give it a go."


  1. Ives I know this would be a rip on what England is doing but is there anyway we could bring Charlie to South Africa in a similar role to Becks? I think he would make for a great motivator in the locker room. I know it would make Altidore and a few other players happy as well.

  2. Goalkeepers: (3)

    Tim Howard, Marcus Hahnemann, Brad Guzan

    Defenders: (7)

    Jonathan Spector, Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu, Steve Cherundolo, Jay Demerit, Clarence Goodson, Heath Pearce

    Midfielders: (9)

    Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley, Stuart Holden, Maurice Edu, Ricardo Clark, Jose F Torres, Benny Feilhaber, Alejandro Bedoya, DaMarcus Beasley

    Forwards: (4)

    Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Herculez Gomez, Edson Buddle

    I am sorry for all the Ching and Bornstein lovers out there but I am not convince of any of these players playing in the WC. If we need a LB then I rather have Pearce over Bornstein. Pearce has experience in Europe and makes the correct moves in defense. Dempsey is most likely moving to Forward now that we now Davies is not coming. Altidore is the othe forward playing along side Dempsey. So now everybody who believes Ching is a better player than Gomez and Buddle must be smoking some good stuff because that is ridiciously. Buddle has been terrin it up in the MLS and Gomez has done the same for the Mexican League. It’s just funny to me that there are some people here who would rather pick a veteran player over two men who are just terrin it up in their respectful leagues.

    PEARCE > borstein

    BUDDLE & GOMEZ > ching

  3. If it walks like a duck…..

    All I asked was for you to define what you mean by natural left back.

    Bornstein, your natural left back, was a forward at UCLA and was converted to LB by Bradley at Chivas USA. Frankly, if he is a natural at the position then he has some congenital defects, so to speak.

    Ashley Cole, Wayne Bridge, Gareth Bale, Patrice Evra, Phillip Lahm, all move around quite a bit. Even Paolo Maldini, often cited as one of the best left backs ever, looked natural wherever he played.

    If by natural left back you mean left footed players , well Eddie Lewis was left footed and no one seemed to like him at left back.

    If you are paid to play left back and you do so for many years as Boca has ( he did it quite a bit at Fulham too), well then in my book you are a left back unnatural or otherwise.

    It just seems to me the phrase “natural left back” is meaningless.

  4. Jesus dude…I know Boca plays left back for Rennes. I’m advocating for him to be friggin left back at the World Cup! Just because he plays there sometimes doesn’t make his natural position.

  5. “Everyone knows Carlos Bocanegra’s natural position isn’t LB,”

    I guess everyone does not include Antonetti, the coach of Rennes, Boca’s club team that has played him mostly at left back since 2008.

  6. Actually, it has nothing to do with your favorite beverage.

    The Italians have gotten wimpy over the years.

    Watch South American or Eastern European ( gee, isn’t Slovenia from there?) teams some time. In fact the MLS is about the only league where I haven’t seen seriously dirty ( to be PC “professional” )players practicing the dark arts. The again I haven’t seen a lot of MLS matches.

    You’re very naive if you don’t think there are still a lot of “professional” defenders out there.

  7. Soccer is a contact sport? I didn’t know that. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

    Did you ever consider taking drinking some of your name? It didn’t agree with my friend Socrates, but I think it would be good for you.

    You seem to think that every team is Italy.

    My point was that Findley is worthless at this time.

  8. There were reports that Bradley was going to select CD9 for the thirty but Sochaux shot it down on the last day. I can see why there was confusion. See previous “BigSoccer” quotes.

    I never believed the story but it had legs, and many did.

  9. “Here’s my problem: Bradley’s statement gives two different reasons for ”

    The US could have fought Sochaux’s decision but, obviously, they didn’t either because they agreed with it or because they didn’t think fighting over it was worth it. Of course, if they didn’t think it was worth it to fight, then it means they probably agreed with the French that Davies was not ready.

    I read the same statement you did and I have a different conclusion from you. I read it as the US and Sochaux were keeping close tabs on Charlie. However, Sochaux were obviously closer to the situation being on site and all. I believe their final evaluation was negative and that, along with what the US team had already seen, was the determining factor. I’m sure that if the US found Sochaux’s decision to be way out of line they would have contested it. Why wouldn’t they?

    When Bradley says Charlie was “in the mix” that just means they had not yet made up their mind, not that they thought he might make it.

    The only entity who has ever said that they thought Charlie was going to make it was Charlie himself. And what else would you expect from him? Tweets are not admissible as evidence in court you know.

    Both Sochaux and the USSF’s statements prior to this decision were always carefully worded about how everyone was pleased and amazed with his progress; that is a long way from saying the guy was ready. Remember no one wanted to crush his spirit.

    In my view, Charlie was given every possible chance but you have to draw the line somewhere and for the USMNT that was the day.

    Prepping a team for the World Cup is not just a matter of getting on the plane and showing up at the hotel.

    I find it amazing that you think the US wouldn’t give Charlie as much time as humanly possible to get ready. He just ran out of time.

  10. Oh come on don’t be thick. Everyone knows Carlos Bocanegra’s natural position isn’t LB, it’s CB. And if you watched West Ham at all this season it surely isn’t Spector’s either.

  11. Big soccer,
    “In remarks bound to raise a few eyebrows, US Head Coach Bob Bradley affirmed that injured FC Sochaux striker Charlie Davies was in consideration for his 30 man provisional squad right up until yesterday. Then the French club informed the United States Soccer Federation that he was not medically cleared to play.”

    One could easily infer from stories like this that Bradley was going to select Davies for the 30 but Sochaux nixed the selection on the last day.

    I never believed it, but can see how others could.

  12. yeah, CD9 should really lay off the jesus juice. he was startin to sound like Obama: Believe! nothing like a dose of reality.

  13. Here’s my problem: Bradley’s statement gives two different reasons for the Davies decision: Sochaux’s decision not to clear him, and the USSF medical staff’s evaluation. He also says that Davies was in the mix until the day before the 30-man roster was announced. If the USSF staff decided he wasn’t ready, wouldn’t they have known that well before last Monday? And wouldn’t that makes Sochaux’s decision irrelevant? I have yet to see an explanation anywhere as to whether Sochaux would have had to release him if the USSF had thought he was ready. It’s very hard to evaluate a decision when you don’t know who made it, and how he made it.

  14. Dancy,

    The only person showing their ‘class’ is you.

    Here let me help you with a quote DIRECTLY FROM DAVIES:

    “Bob Bradley called me the night before the selection was put out to the press,” Davies said. “He explained to me that Sochaux sent a letter saying they were not going to clear me medically and wouldn’t release me to go with the national team. And that this had a big part to play in not being able to select me.”

    Say what you will about Bradley choosing not to name an injured/medically unavailable player to his 30 man provisional roster, but clearly you are ignorant about how Bradley handled the situation.

    No go home and play with your momma.

  15. Did Charlie Davies get it wrong also when he blamed the club only, implying Bradley wanted him there as is? I think so.

  16. Johnson tied with 3 other players for the golden boot with 4 goals. He scored ONCE from the run of play. The other 3 were penalties.

    My reaction to Donovan’s statement wasn’t hindsight, it was at the time of the statement.

  17. You are talking about PRE accident Charlie.

    Who knows about this edition?

    Lets say by some miracle Charlie gets on the World Cup roster. baquito alyeska and mason have it right.

    The first thing the other team will do is target Charlie. I’d get a list of his injuries and hit him right where I think he might be most vulnerable. Keep kicking him in the gut. Trash talk him about being a drunk driver ( inaccurate yes but that’s trash talk for you) and killing that girl. Again and again. Smart international defenders know how to do this. If they are really good, they will get Mike Bradley or Jozy to defend Charlie and then get red carded.

    Then you can criticise Bradley for thinking with his heart instead of his head.

    You do know that soccer is a contact sport right?


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