Photo by David Bernal/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
Landon Donovan has made light of his cut from the U.S. Men’s National Team’s World Cup squad in recent weeks, but he did not always have a rosy outlook on the matter.
In fact, he was so bitter in the immediate aftermath of the highly-discussed decision that he initially hoped for the U.S. to not do well.
The honest Donovan told the LA Times over the weekend that he felt a bit of jealousy shortly after U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann controversially left him off the U.S.’s 23-man roster that would head to Brazil. Donovan’s envy did not last very long, but it was strong enough that he found himself not happily supporting the Americans in their first send-off series friendly vs. Azerbaijan on May 27.
“I’ll be completely honest, watching them play Azerbaijan, inside, part of me was thinking, I hope the game doesn’t go very well today,” said Donovan. “In my heart of hearts, I thought, ‘If we get a 1-0 win and the team doesn’t perform well, that would feel good.'”
Donovan’s instant reaction is understandable on many levels given all that he has done and how long he has played for the U.S., but it did not last very long. Donovan woke up the day after the Americans underwhelmed en route to a 2-0 win over Azerbaijan with a different and more positive outlook.
“Then the next day I woke up and said to myself, ‘That’s a really crappy way to feel,'” said Donovan. “That’s a bad way to live your life. It doesn’t help me, it doesn’t help the team, it doesn’t help the energy that the team needs.”
The 32-year-old veteran realized that he did not want to turn his back on his former teammates despite the burning pain he felt, so he embraced what happened and poked fun at it.
He did several commercials – including one for EA Sports that quickly became very popular and earned him public acclaim – in which he comically mocked himself for not making the U.S.’s World Cup squad for the fourth straight cycle. Donovan also signed on to become an ESPN analyst for the Americans games at the World Cup, and has drawn positive reviews for the job he’s done there.
“I feel like I owe it to the sport to keep growing it,” said Donovan. “I can’t let what happened to me ruin three or four weeks of what could be an incredible experience for everyone.”
There was initially a large outcry against Klinsmann’s decision to omit Donovan, and speculation ran rampant on why the Americans’ all-time goals and assists leader would not be in Brazil. The belief that Donovan should be there still lingers with some fans despite the U.S.’s success at the World Cup – they advanced from a group that included Germany, Portugal and Ghana – and not all of them who think that way are American.
“I remember one message from a Mexican fan who wrote, ‘I hated you my whole life, but what happened to you is wrong and disrespectful,'” said Donovan. “My girlfriend said that a lot of times you don’t hear things like this until you are dead.”
It is unknown at this point if Donovan will ever play for the U.S. again. Even so, Donovan is past the point of being too upset about his controversial cut.
“Life isn’t perfect, of course, but we all know it’s how you react to things that counts,” said Donovan. “I did not want to let this define me.”
What do you make of Donovan’s comments? Is his initial bitterness understandable? Do you think he will ever represent the USMNT again?
Share your thoughts below.
Donovan would have more impact in a locker room and the bench than Julian Green. Who is Julian Green? what did he do/achieve to deserve to be on this team?
allegiance to our squad it seems :/ at least he’s been a good cheerleader
Donovan would indeed have made a larger locker room impact, although I’m not sure for good.
These young kids are the future, and I don’t care what Klinsmann says. He took them for the purpose of observation and maturing.
Well, for observation, maturing, and being directly responsible for at least half of the USA’s goals so far.
directly for 1/4 of the US goals, is what you meant to say I believe.
Yedlin played a part in the second goal against Portugal but was certainly not “directly responsible”.
I originally thought about taking the wordy approach to making my point, but decided a) “directly” is subjective enough to still fit the situation, and b) meh, the point still stands.
Leading up to the sabbatical, no American player has had less time off in the past 3 years than Landon Donovan. If Klinnsmann had followed MLS he would have known that. Players get mentally burnt out. Sir Alex Ferguson once said that he makes sure all his players get a 4 week break in the summer. Sir Alex said he’s seen players come back after 2 or 3 weeks off and they don’t seem into it.
JK has lived in LA since 1999. He learned the SoCal soccer scene good enough so that he eventually took LD on loan to Bayern, something that contributed to JK getting fired.
If you don’t think JK knows LD and the deal with LD ten times better than most then you have not been paying any attention.
Like all superstars in their sport, LD comes with his pluses and minuses. By the time JK took over LD’s skills were trending down and that plus/minus ratio was evening out.
if you were paying attention you would have seen that LD, unlike just about every other USMNT veteran, did not embrace the new boss and instead made a point of distancing himself in the highest profile way and clearest fashion possible, by physically removing himself from the scene. The USMNT had always been all about Landon so perhaps he saw the writing on the wall.
We used to call that a plea for attention or more simply, playing hard to get. The need for a break is legitimate but putting such a high profile, soul baring, publicly accessible spin on it smacks of something one might expect from the celebrity culture of LA. Whatever, by the time LD got around to wanting back into the USMNT he underestimated how much his plus minus ratio trended towards the negative.
Anytime you are trying to put together a team the most important thing for the leader to do is make sure all the pieces fit together so that the thing works. You and me Vic, we will never know exactly what all the factors were that went into JK’s calculation.
My completely unsubstantiated theory is that JK came to the same conclusion I did which is that LD’s skills were diminished but more important, LD was probably not coachable, unlike DMB, Dempsey, Mikey or JJ all of whom showed they were willing to sacrifice and take one for the team, even if it meant they looked bad. For example, DMB did not want to play left back but he did w/o a lot of drama and eventually did very well there. I don’t see LD doing that and adapting well to a new role. Historically, LD’s performance has always suffered when he wasn’t happy. He is not used to managers with more pull than him..
As best as I can tell, this team is as together and tight and well balanced as any I’ve ever followed, which is all of them since 1990.
Those of you who are upset because you think LD would have made it better, well, you are damming the 2014 team with faint praise. That is too bad and the shame for that is on LD, who could not be bothered to get his act together enough to get on this team. Besides, since the beginning of 2013 Wondo has been a better finisher for the US than LD (look it up) and if he missed that chance, then chances are LD might have too. Can I prove that? No but neither can you prove LD would have made this team better.
So Landon is a human being after all, with feelings and what, a conscience! I think this falls in the old “not really news” category. Thanks for sharing Landon, sorry you are not there. Move along… these are not the quotes you are looking for…
Landon was always a classy guy… mild-mannered, hard-working, talented. I will always remember him yanking off his jersey at the 2002 World Cup after scoring that beautiful header against Mexico, a huge smile on his face. Like DaMarcus, he fought the battles when we were woefully short of quality players and gave us hope. I don’t fault Klinsmann at all for leaving him off the roster but I also hope Landon still has some glory moments ahead of him. Thanks for the memories, LD.
Dont be bitter LD, LA is going to trade you for Davis or Bedoya soon. Then JK will be proven correct.
Donovan got over the bitterness easily. Of course he did.
Anyone with a brain sees that JK doesn’t know who to play in mid with Dempsey filling in for Altidore. Putting Davis in for Bedoya…I love both those guys…but give me a break….the USMNT is the ONLY team in danger of taking them over Him.
Wondo and Green have looked terrific when they came on. I hope they can continue to dominate! 😉
So what he did for us in the last Gold Cup was no big deal and no one is mentioning that our free kicks corners for the majority have been have been atrocious. Why hasn’t our new #10 Mix been used or Green if they were honestly a step ahead of him. To say he shouldn’t be there even on the bench is idiotic and naive. That being said our boys have defended and played as a unit real well and as Landon has said we haven’t seen our best fooball yet USA should get a win against belgium if we can play like we did the first 85 minutes against Portugal a balance of attack possesion and defensive bunker busting but who will step up against the likes of Messi if we make it to the quarter finals????
“Who will step up against Messi?”
I thought after the Portugal match we’d stop getting this question: “Do you really want Player X going up against Ronaldo? No. Therefore, Player Y should have been on the team.”
I guess now we get to replace “Ronaldo” with “Messi.” (And after that, “Van Persie/Robben.”)
Until we play to our fullest potential and we can say that one of our subs made a great change to the game and our set pieces get back to par like they used be (one of our greatest weapons) and counter attacking becomes more assertive, then maybe along with a lot of other fans will stop questioning the coach that being said I believe Michael will be back to his old self and will give Belgium a run for their money if not….Help us again Jones you’re our only hope.
Your “Coaching Satisfaction Checklist”:
1. Play to fullest potential (highly subjective)
2. Sub makes great impact
3. Set pieces back on par
4. Assertive counter-attacking
We can already say that our subs made a HUGE change to the games: Brooks scored the winner against Ghana. Yedlin set up the assist against Portugal. Yedlin *almost* did the same thing against Germany…twice.
So that’s 1 out of four on your checklist 🙂
Yeah, but it was JUST Gold Cuo none of those nations could make the final 8 of the World Cup.
That’s true but why bring players to the world cup that you have no intention of playing??? Maybe because they were promised a spot and will probably be a good asset in the next world cup hhhmmmm
Uhh, you are only allowed 3 substitutions per game. And you are only gauranteed 3 games… Now unless your racked with injuries or you have Raymond Domenech reading tea leaves to pick your squad, your likely to have 3-5 guys who won’t play a minute. That’s just science.
Well, it would be easy to guarantee that all players play by simply choosing a different starting XI for each match—no need to even dip into subs during a match.
That’s just math.
But more importantly, looking back over several World Cups, there have always been a few non-goalkeepers on the roster of nearly every team who never played a minute, so it’s reasonable to expect the trend to continue.
That’s just history.
Wrong, one already has
New coach, new agenda. LD sounding off about how impossible it is to “go hard 15 days in a row” was his way of passive/aggressively telling JKlin to shove it. JKlin had no choice but to cut him. No coach worth his salt would keep a player on the team who announced publicly that he isn’t working hard every practice. LD didn’t understand that Jklin was brought in to fix the last two losses to Ghana no matter what it takes.
I agree, I think that line is what sent Klinsmann off. To him it came off as Donovan saying he knew better what he needed to do to prepare then Klinsmann.
He didn’t say he can’t work hard 15 days in a row.
He said he can’t have 12 perfect days in a row.
There’s a difference. And if it was such a clear cut case to cut Donovan, people like you wouldn’t need to make stuff like this up.
DCUPedro: If you’re going to correct someone, then correctly correct them. Donovan said:
“I can’t train 12 straight days in a row and have 12 great days in a row. Physically it is not possible. My body breaks down, I’m getting older.”
Both you and Jim misquoted, but the accuracy meter points way over to Jim’s side.
“the accuracy meter points way over to Jim’s side.” wrong
Landon: “I can’t train 12 straight days in a row and have 12 great days in a row. Physically it is not possible. My body breaks down, I’m getting older.” = Some days in training he will not be at peak form and fitness because his body is older and sustaining that
Jim: [Landon said] “how impossible it is [for him] to go hard 15 days in a row” = he is not expending 100% of his available effort because he is old, ie he is lazy. This statement, framed this way, directly implies lack of intent on Landon’s part to dedicate himself as Klinsy and all of us expect him to.
DCUPedro: “[Landon] said he can’t have 12 perfect days in a row.” = his execution will not be perfect every day, 12 days in a row. This statement implies nothing in regards to his amount of dedication, its just a matter of fact appraisal of the reality.
I guess Jim will have to let us know his intent, because you seem to have read a whole lot of disdain into his words. Which is still beside my point because I wasn’t critiquing Jim’s interpretation of Landon’s words, but rather the accuracy of Jim’s quote.
More importantly, 1st Time Corrector, you only picked on one “quote” that DCUPedro repeated, which totally ignores the context; i.e., “this statement, framed this way….”
Thus, “He said he can’t have 12 perfect days in a row,” was written in contrast to “He didn’t say he can’t work hard 15 days in a row.”
Looking at what Landon said (he can’t always show peak fitness; i.e., by definition he can’t always be at 100% in training; i.e., he can’t always “go hard” all the time) compared to what DCUPedro claimed Landon didn’t say (he can’t work hard 15 days in a row) one can clearly see that DCUPedro was plain wrong. Well, I guess that, yeah, Landon said “12” not “15.”
Conclusion: Jim got the gist of the quote right, whereas DCUPedro claimed that Landon didn’t say pretty much what Landon said.
LD is honest, to a fault. JKlin warned him about skipping out on the USNMT. LD couldn’t adjust to there being a new sheriff in town & having to reprove himself. Every pro athlete experiences the same when their team gets a new coach.
he would have called his own presser if he hadn’t played against Germany.
Tell it to Bianca!!! Glad to see that Klinsmann cut out this cancer before it imploded our World Cup.
Of course Donavon was upset, who wouldn’t be if you were one of the 7 who got cut from the 30?
What JK apparently decided is that his vision of attacking soccer would have to wait until the US had more players suited to that style. For this WC, first, he needed players who would defend and leave every last ounce of sweat and blood on the field, second he needed players who could score despite spending most of the game battling. That defined the mentality JK wanted. From that, when Donavon said he couldn’t go hard every day, he lost any chance of being among the 23. Others did not even make the 30 due to that.
I’d like to buy that argument, except that Brad Davis is by no means an upgrade defensively over much of anyone on the left, even creeky old Landycakes.
The USMNT has obviously done quite well at the World Cup. Since Klinsmann trained and picked the team and determined how it would play in each of the games, he deserves credit for the team’s success to this point. But the fact of that success and Klinsmann’s role in producing it doesn’t mean that it was achieved without error. The most obvious of the team’s errors was its failure to prevent Portugal’s last-second tying goal. Klinsmann’s most glaring and truly inexplicable error was his omission of Donovan from the team. It should not have taken much for him to figure out that the team’s best creator of goal-scoring opportunities, 90-minutes fit and in reasonable form, would have something more to contribute than any of a number of the players he selected. And each succeeding game offered proof how stupid that omission really was. When Altidore went down, for example, there was clearly no real like-for-like replacement. But can anyone really doubt that Donovan would have been a far better choice to work with Dempsey and Bradley than those who Klinsmann had available? AJ was clearly not up to the task. Wondo might have been a better choice than AJ. But am I the only one who thinks that Wondo, like others on the team, performs best with Donovan on the field. Is there anyone who liked Davis over Donovan when he was given the chance to play? And while Zusi and Bedoya have not disgraced themselves, I doubt there are many knowledgeable persons who would still pick them ahead of Donovan (if ever they did)? And please don’t tell me about sabbaticals, since that’s not relevant to anything I’ve said.
Why don’t you wait until the US are done before passing judgement on how this roster is going to work out?
GW: If you’ll re-read what I wrote you’ll see that I didn’t say anything about “how this roster is going to work out” — at least not the roster as a whole. The team has done well and, in my view, has a good chance to beat Belgium. The point I intended to make, which is rather self-evident, is that however good the team as a whole may be, it would be even better if Klinsmann had not excluded the Donovan. Donovan has more international experience than anyone on the roster (count the caps and tournaments) and is a distinctly superior player by almost any relevant measure (creativity, quickness of thought and action, goals, assists, etc.) than each of several otherwise quite good players who seem to be out of their league at the World Cup. I understand, of course, that Donovan is not the player he used to be (who is?) but the fact that he’s different doesn’t mean he’s worse, as some seem to think. As recently as last year he created twice the goal-scoring opportunities as anyone else on the team. I also understand that AJ, Zusi, Bedoya and Davis may do better against Belgium than they have to date. But we are writing today and all we have now is the evidence of the three group games, in which none of them had anything approaching a really good performance. Donovan does better on his worst days — and I’ve seen some of those — than any of those four guys have done in Brazil. And except for AJ, from whom I expected better, that is something that anyone with Klinsmann’s experience should have been able to predict.
I re-read your post. Sorry to say it but it was worse the second time through.
You have a strong opinion which is great but wrote nothing that would give a sane, logical neutral reader any reason to support your point that:
” however good the team as a whole may be, it would be even better if Klinsmann had not excluded the Donovan”
Maybe. But there is no way to prove that.
The 2014 Gold Cup was a JV tournament so Landon’s last performance of note under pressure for the USMNT was in the Gold Cup final of 2011 and that was a loss under a different manager, with a different team, in a different era.
I have seen nothing reassuring from him since 2011 and I should point out that I really wanted him on this team so I was watching him very closely hoping it would be different.
Your opinion is reasonable but it is unsupported by any objective evidence.
It is just a reasonable to assume the kind of cohesion and never say die spirit the team currently has would not be there if LD were around. Real leaders emerge usually because they are needed. LD’s time had passed so Besler, Jones, Beckerman, Dempsey, Brooks and others have stepped up. Maybe they don’t step up if they are waiting around for LD to save their butts.
Do you know LD personally? Or everyone in this locker room personally? Have you spoken to them in private and observed them behind the scenes?
If the answer to that is no then people like you and I have no credibility when we comment on what effect Landon’s absence has on the players and their performance.
Maybe they all hate JK and are so together because they want to prove him wrong about the World Cup unrealistic quote. Or maybe they all thought LD was an entitled little putz and are glad his diva +++ isn’t around and they want to win so they can tell LD to shove it up his ***..
My view is they are sorry to see him not there but relish the chance to show that they too can get things done. If any of those USMNT players think they are not good enough to make up for LD’s absence then they do not belong there.
So maybe the US would be better with LD maybe not but in the end it doesn’t matter. He’s not there.
And whether you like it or not this is the most complete USMNT TEAM that I have seen since 2002 and maybe ever. It’s not Landon and the Pussycats anymore. It’s a team with a good tactical staff who know how to set up a team to beat someone. They may not beat Belgium but it won’t be because they are not as prepared as possible.
“But we are writing today and all we have now is the evidence of the three group games, in which none of them had anything approaching a really good performance. Donovan does better on his worst days — and I’ve seen some of those — than any of those four guys have done in Brazil. And except for AJ, from whom I expected better, that is something that anyone with Klinsmann’s experience should have been able to predict.”
In case you forgot, advancement is all that matters. Nit picking sour grapes on your part is fine but if you think for one second that the fans of teams like England, Mexico, Italy, Spain, Ghana or Portugal would not swap places with the USMNT in a heartbeat, well then you are lacking perspective.
Right now getting a good result in those three group games were all that mattered, along with getting a result in the next one.
I’m a USMNT fan and a Donovan fan. The US would be better if he were here but he was not willing to put himself through the kind of suffering that Mikey talks about nor was he willing to shut his mouth and do what the manager asked him to like DMB did. Do you think Beas wanted to play left back? He didn’t but he shut up and got on with it. Do you think Mikey likes taking a bullet for this team by playing out of position to solidify the midfield? No but he is doing it and the team is getting results.
Everyone else was why should he be any different? Donovan still has enough talent to have made a difference but he could not be bothered to make the kind of sacrifices that Mikey or DMB were willing to make to get on this team.
If you are mad about Donovan not being in Brazil then turn your anger on him. By failing to get down off of his high horse just a little and maybe trusting for example, that JK and his staff would figure out just how far to push his conditioning without killing him, he let you, me, the USMNT and most of all himself down.
I agree that there’s no way to “prove” that the team would be better with Donovan. But the normal expectation would surely be that a country’s all-time record holder in goals and assists, who was sufficiently fit and sharp a year ago to be, by far, the most outstanding player in an international tournament and who is starting and finishing every game for his club, is one of his country’s best players and will be on its World Cup roster. So, what is there to justify his omission?
You say that “the 2014 Gold Cup was a JV tournament.” I agree that the opposition was not top flight. But half a dozen guys who made the US roster played in that tournament and their performance was reliably said to have influenced their selection — particularly Wondo. Nevertheless, you think it appropriate, somehow, to discount and disregard Donovan’s performance and the incontrovertible proof it offered that he was as fit and sharp as ever. How convenient.
You also assert that “you and I have no credibility when we comment on what effect Landon’s absence has on the players and their performance.” That might be true if there were no evidence to rely upon. But there is. He’s played with various teams over well more than a decade. Except for the Beckham controversy, I don’t recall any report that Donovan did not fit in well everywhere he has played or that he was not accepted and appreciated by his teammates. And his contribution to those teams, including the USMNT is incontrovertible; its in the record books. If, in sharp contrast to that history, the members of the current team “all [think] LD was an entitled little putz and are glad his diva +++ isn’t around and they want to win so they can tell LD to shove it up his ***,” I’m reasonably confident that we’d have heard of it.
You also suggest that Donovan “was not willing to put himself through the kind of suffering” that others endured. I don’t believe that for a minute. The problem, of course, is his so-called sabbatical. The man played too long and too hard with rarely any break and was worn out. He needed the rest and he took the time he needed. If he had had a broken leg, everyone would have been sympathetic. Instead, he had a broken spirit — was physical and mentally exhausted — and all he has gotten in the press and on blogs has been grief. Klinsmann will obviously never understand that. But I can’t believe that the members of the team do not understand why he had to do what he did or that they would not have welcomed him to the roster with open arms for what he might have contributed. I have not seen him “on his high horse.” I have seen the Donovan who is too candid to a fault. And you may be right that he paid a price for that. In my opinion, he was not the only one. The team and its supporters have also paid a price. But I blame Klinsmann, not Donovan. Donovan’s candor in stating the obvious did not warrant a public execution.
“But the normal expectation would surely be that a country’s all-time record holder in goals and assists, who was sufficiently fit and sharp a year ago to be, by far, the most outstanding player in an international tournament and who is starting and finishing every game for his club, is one of his country’s best players and will be on its World Cup roster….So, what is there to justify his omission?”
The manager’s opinion.
That is why JK was hired. He has access to information you and I do not have. It his his job to make those calls. The difference is I can see JK’s side of it and you can’t
“But half a dozen guys who made the US roster played in that tournament and their performance was reliably said to have influenced their selection — particularly Wondo. Nevertheless, you think it appropriate, somehow, to discount and disregard Donovan’s performance and the incontrovertible proof it offered that he was as fit and sharp as ever. How convenient.”
Those other guys had different competition than LD did. LD was not competing against the defenders for example. And LD himself has set the bar for judging him higher than for others. He comes with baggage and as long as he is “LD” that baggage is worth it. If he is just another guy, it’s not.
As for Wondo, since the beginning of 2013 he has scored 9 goals for the USMNT while LD has scored 8. Both were playing essentially similar competition. I would call it a wash. However, LD himself spoke of how impressive Wondo was in the camp.
“You also assert that “you and I have no credibility when we comment on what effect Landon’s absence has on the players and their performance.” That might be true if there were no evidence to rely upon. But there is. He’s played with various teams over well more than a decade. Except for the Beckham controversy, I don’t recall any report that Donovan did not fit in well everywhere he has played or that he was not accepted and appreciated by his teammates…I’m reasonably confident that we’d have heard of it.”
The fact that you haven’t heard anything does not mean nothing happened. And the Beckham controversy is not so easily dismissed because Beckham was a more prominent figure treading on LD’s “turf” . The only one who has ever done so. Until JK came around. It’s a territorial thing
And we are not talking about those teams. We are talking about the 2014 US World Cup team and it just so happens that team is JK’s team not LD’s anymore. Things change.
“You also suggest that Donovan “was not willing to put himself through the kind of suffering” that others endured. I don’t believe that for a minute….”
That break was negative because it meant he was not there in the beginning when this team was being put together. Regardless of what you think about it, there was damage done. This issue is not the sabbatical. The issue is what he did after he came back from it.
Did he bend over backwards like Clint or DMB or Howard did ? No. Did he tear MLS apart to say to JK see “The break refreshed me and made me better”? Would you say his subsequent MLS performance was particularly exceptional?
As you say, the man is still an exceptional talent, probably the most talented ever. So why can’t he get it up enough to burn through MLS teams when it was clear to everyone that he needed to impress people?
Either he didn’t see the need or he couldn’t do it anymore. Either way it’s a problem.
“But I can’t believe that the members of the team do not understand why he had to do what he did or that they would not have welcomed him to the roster with open arms for what he might have contributed.”
JK is big on using players as example’s. Holden was brought to the Gold Cup because he was an example of a guy who was moving heaven and earth to get fit and ready for the World Cup. Contrast that to LD who kept playing Hamlet in comparison. Players are not stupid. They can see that JK was always going to make room for a guy like Stu, a man with his level of desire to play. In fact, had he been fit and in form I think JK would have taken Herc , another Stu-like insane over achiever over LD.
Very well said. +100
Unfortunately, I think your words are wasted on this lot. But one day, many years from now, with the benefit of 20/20 vision in hindsight and more (if not all) of the details we will have an objective analysis of what really transpired and how it may have positively or negatively affected the team and our chances at this World Cup—a state of being we have arrived at many years the debacle of 1998 amidst new revelations and insights.
LD was never part of the WCQ process by choice. At least no until the very end. Then he got fat and Out of form at bad time. Then throw in his Ego. Thats all you need to know.
Also Donovan said “he couldn’t train 100%” during camp. Then he got cut then said ” i should absolutely be on the team. I was in contention to start”…
I look up too LD. He has been a role model for manny young USA players. He has also been very tuff on the International playing fields. Did you play against Iran? , These past there prime players have earned my respect for a long time. They stood there ground, and made me proud to be an American in some hostel locations.
I welcome LD’s future, in what ever direction he choose. His story has not been told……. There is still a vast roads of growth……, in the future playing fields of this wonderful sport.
Thank You LD. Keep tuning your skill set, your a fast learner.
Im glad he openned up! Im sure every player ever not picked felt this way! Hope they all got over it and had the realization like he did.
I’m tired of complaining about what should’ve been. Donovan has handled this like a Man. Enough said.
+1 Guy has a different personality type. Easy to see how this could really get him down. Glad he’s getting right with it.
The timing did not work out for Donovan for this world cup. There is no doubt that a fit, in-form, committed LD would have helped our squad. HOWEVER, commitment/training issues aside, there is no doubt that Donovan was not in form heading into the May camp. Whether it was injuries, recovering from injury, or he just let himself get out of shape, the fact is he did not look himself or anywhere close in the run-up to the world cup. He was slow, lacked stamina, even his touch was off. He was visibly overweight, to the point that SBI community was calling him fat. Remember when he couldn’t even take on freakin Marquez… Anyway this is what Klinsmann was trying to tell us, LD was NOT better than the alternatives AT THE PRESENT TIME. And it’s really that simple. LD is a USMNT legend and always will be. Didn’t work out for him this cycle, that’s life. Glad he’s big enough to get over it.
I don’t care what anyone says, Donovan on one leg would have been better than the left sided midfield horrorshow we all witnessed for 60 minutes against Germany.
Not Brad Davis…because, Donovan is a ‘forward’, that said:
Over Wondolowski, yes.
Over Johannson, yes.
If he’s a ‘midfielder’
Over Brad Davis
Over Graham Zusi.
That said, think the team’s alright, and a zillion kudos to the team and the coach for getting through a tough group with a chance to do something special.
Well said, agree 100%
Zusi has 2 assist already.
Here’s the bottom line… Donovan is the best American player ever and in my opinion one of the five best players currently (inarguably one of the top 20). He was the face of US Soccer for over a decade. He played more minutes than anyone, played his heart out and had more success than any US player ever. No American (possibly no player ever) has had to give to their national team, professional league (not just his team, the entire MLS), and country what Landon did. Then, when he is honest about how much it has worn on him and takes a sabbatical, all of a sudden he’s lost his commitment. He has NEVER been a chemistry issue with the USMNT and by all accounts is a respected figure in the squad. And for the past two games, we have been having a 20 year old right back come off the bench to play Landon’s MF position because we don’t have a reliable sub at that position. He has performed admirably and I don’t mean to demean Yedlin in any way. But, ultimately, that is a stupid/ridiculous problem to have and was self-inflicted by poor roster choices that are, IMO (and probably Donovan’s), objectively indefensible, and therefore, must be personal. One cannot fault Landon for feeling an inkling of bitterness toward someone who he feels treated him poorly as a person.
But LD is Landon anymore. He isnt faster than Yedlin, nor does he worry anyone on the wing anymore. Maybe without the extra weight, but we dont know. Yedlin is there for one reason, he can Fly. LD is not known for his close quarter handles, so now he is limited. Granted he is still better than Davis overall as a player. But in JK’s mind not as a TEAMMATE. That is the key.
Thank you, Freegle. Well said.
I’m done with this website, though. Infiltrated by “too cool for school” juveniles and run by a man that is hell-bent on sensationalism.
Im pretty sure this website will thrive without you buddy, no need to put people in notice about your future endevours smh….this talk about landon not being good with the ball in close quarters, being overweight, blah blah bah is a waste of energy and true ignorance! JK as any logical human being would know had it out for Landon since his sabbatical and yes, LD brought that in himself but to say he couldn’t have been used this summer is baloney! JK forced his hand by pigeon holing him to one position when he is supposed to be an admirer of players that can play multiple positions which is what LD has done his whole career and even in the gold cup last summer. It was also noted by the conditioning coach at camp that Landon was in the top three of fittest players there according to the beep test so this whole story about him being out of shape and fat is garbage at best! Im a big supporter of the USMNT and his exclusion dulled my exuberance surrounding the WC a bit but it is what it is and hopefully the boys can continue to make us proud despite the criminal ways in wish Landon was cast out of the program
Landon is America’s best player ever and has performed hall of fame things for the USMNT.
But all of that was for Arena and Bradley. His greatness was performed for other managers,other teams, in another era.
Landon never made a serious effort to adapt to the new boss. We all have done it at times but not LD. All he has ever done for JK is dictate to him, in the media, what the terms are under which Landon should be utilized by this team. I’m sure if LD could have backed up his demands with performance he’d be in Brazil today. After all look at Deuce and Mikey who had their own arguments with JK.
Obviously, JK decided those two were indispensible while LD was not.
rubbish,, Yedlin comes off the bench and sets up a goal. yet he’s still not good enough for you. This team wasn’t expected to make it out of the first round. Now we go up against a beatable contender Belgium..
you’d complain if we won the cup and they didn’t come by your house personally thank you …
I specifically praised Yedlin, and yes, he’s faster than LD (so what? so is Justin Gatlin should he play?). He has come on and done his job, But please don’t pretend he’s done anything Donovan isn’t capable of with an added dash of experience, and potential to pick out a deadly pass.
LD didn’t make the cut because of his attitude and fitness.. both criteria anyone else in his position has over him
“I want a Trophy”generation for sure
1) we have zero evidence of that… all reports out of camp were that his fitness was on par with everyone else. All we have are some cryptic statements from Klinsmann saying that he wasn’t. consider me unconvinced
2) If you want evidence of attitude, see the 2013 Gold Cup when Donovan took his “demotion” with class and proceeded to dominate the tournament and win the golden boot.
I’ve never been a huge Donovan fan. I was one of the many who think he wasted his prim and should have gone to Europe rather than stay in MLS. But the Donovan hate (and associated Klinsmann love) it ridiculous and ignorant.
Final point… you can’t say that anyone else “in his position” has anything over him because Klinsmann has chosen to play someone OUT OF POSITION in his position rather than playing his “like-for like” ( a JK favorite phrase) Julian Green.
Your assessment that Donovan is right to be better is correct. He is a competitor and he was disappointed. Many were. I’m glad to see he is finding way to move past it– I’m sure it was a rough and lonely moment in his life but it does not belittle anything his countless contrbutions.
Beyond this, the argument just doesn’t work for me.
Klinsmann’s job is not to take the “best 23” players (as though there is some sort of FIFA ’14 player rating scale anyway). It is to take what he and he alone determines to be the best group of players to compete in Brazil. It really isn’t clear what people mean when they use the word “personal”. Most of what you are talking about is actally entirely professional– actually, it is exactly the sort of assessment and difficult decision he was hired to make. If Klinsmann believes based on his observations working with the player at Bayern and the USMNT that Donovan does not have the personal characteristics required to get the team to the next level, this is 100% professional and consistent with what managers in any organization or business do every day. They pick the guys they feel most confident in executing their vision, because at the end of the day it is the manager who will be held accountable for results.
Klinsmann likes winning. He has done plenty of it, and he does not need to waste his time or stain his resume by taking reckless decisions simply to harm the career of a guy whose trophy collection looks like an AYSO cabinet compared to his. I don’t always like it or agree with his decisions but he has done nothing unethical in this regard.
Lastly, don’t panic about what we’re missing. Look at all the teams that exited early– Italy, Spain, England, Ivory Coast, etc.. Plenty of reason to suggest that sticking with the guys who they had counted on at the last few turns was no advantage at all, and in fact made them predictable. By contrast, we are through from the Group of Death, and we have players who are only just growing into their roles who are being meanigfully integrated alongside the veterans. A good place to be.
Klinsmann likes winning…. And Donovan gave him a golden boot performance in the only victory Klinsmann has ever had in a knockout tournament.
Also, the only reason this was the group of death is because we made it that way. Switch us into Group B or Group D and that becomes the group of death. It’s fantastic we got through but the whole group of death thing is tired media creation because the US is the team that creates it.
“the whole group of death thing is tired media creation because the US is the team that creates it.”
Partially correct. Ghana, Portugal, and Germany had a hand in that too. Swap Mexico and USA and then the USA would no longer be in the Group of Death and Mexico would be. (Ditto for Costa Rica, though no one saw that coming.) Swap with Honduras and then there is no Group of Death.
It’s not that any group we showed up in would be the Group of Death or that only the USA is capable of making a group death-y.
If you swap Costa Rica for the USA, that group would have definitely been the “Group of Death” – 3 former Champions and the USA.
My point is, in this group, there is only one other team in our lottery pool that can make it the group of death – Mexico. Without us in this particular spot, Group B or Group D are the “group of death” right? I’m not claiming that any group we are in is the group of death but this particular group got that designation specifically because we were in it. So we can’t turn around and use that to prop ourselves up afterward.
Freegle, I guess I don’t understand your point then.
First, it’s not only the US that made Group G death-y. It’s the other three strong teams too. For example, if Iran had taken the place of Ghana, then it would no longer be called the Group of Death. Or if Switzerland replaced Germany. Or England replaced Portugal (okay, some would still fear England, but England couldn’t even win the “World Being English Cup”). Etc.
Second, without the USA in Group G then no, Group B would not have been the Group of Death. THE Group of Death is reserved for the group where any four of the teams stands a very good chance of going through—where anyone could win and even the highly-ranked teams could be expected to fail. Where all four teams are considered truly dangerous. So Group B was not death-y because of Australia: only three strong teams. Group D was not called the Group of Death because no one expected that performance from Costa Rica. No one even predicted a single win from them. In hindsight, they could be seen as the Group of Death except that no one expected England to be even worse than Australia. So still only three strong teams.
Third, the fact that the USA is one of the teams that can death-ify a group is something to be proud of—we can “prop ourselves up” before and afterwards for that. You seem to be saying that we shouldn’t be proud of that distinction or our accomplishment.
And it was appreciated. We have shown we can win Gold Cups. We won this one with a B-team and were scarcely challenged. Klinsmann’s job is to move the program to bigger things. He doesn’t feel that Donovan is additive to that mission, at least not at this point in his career. His decision.
He likes winning. There is no reason to believe this decision has anything to do with anything else. Klinsmann measures his career in accomplishment. Pointlessly messing with a 32-year old American player doesn’t make the list for a guy with his pedigree. You and I might disagree with the decision,but I see no sinister motive.
Everyone is moving on from Donovan. Great player in the past, but he is not part of the future.
And man he needs to rethink that analyst career. He is horribly drab and monotoned.
It would be a shame if his career ended with everyone considering him to be an unnecessary prima donna that the team gets on just fine without. He pretty much put himself in this position.
Probably time to lose some of the candidness
Lalas is a smug blowhard. Why does he have a job? Can we all agree to mock him openly?
If Alexi speaks and no one hears him, is he still wrong?
There will be more candid interviews coming out soon to extend the shelf life of my client ,.. Who by the way is a serious black hole of personality
Well the prefromances of JULIAN GREEN and BRAD DAVIS in this tournament have surely shown critics that they were wrong and that JURGEN KLINSMANNN picked the correct roster
Lol… I think ur on to something there
Klinsmann’s roster just made it to the knockout rounds after dominating Portugal and surviving the Group of Death. So what’s your point?
I see you are enjoying the new comment generator we have implemented for SBI.
The trick is to goad intelligent people into responding to a ham-fisted, obviously trolling statement, usually laden with ALL CAPS, by having two equally unsophisticated agreement posts, typically rife with obvious spelling/grammar mistakes. You may recongize the format on pretty much every remotely politcal article we have posted in the last 5 years on our own soul-shattering click generator/”news website”. Tell me if this sounds familiar:
Trolbot 1: “Of course we owe all of this the exellent leadership of Barack HUSAIN Obummer”
Reponsebot1: “LOLOLOL ROTFL. U said it.
Responsebot2: “Aint ez being libtardz”
Hehehe. Good stuff, isn’t it? Of course, Ives didn’t want to spring for this cr*p, so expat is just doing it on his own.
Angry? My work here is done.
“With Landon, it’s always about Landon.” -Bruce Arena
So true. Take your ball and go home, Landon. Thanks for your service and good luck trying to troll Klinsmann on ESPN.
I would love to see the demographics of ages that are on this website. I’d venture to say many have not been following the usmnt for more than 5, maybe? 8 yrs. the US would NOT be where it’s at without donovan, definately not internationally.
but i get it, we live in a “what have you done for me lately” society, so it’s easy to talk sh!t when you haven’t seen the usmnt play way back before landon………when more than half of you guys didn’t even know what world futbol was….smh.
sport is inherently a “what have you done for me lately” profession. I agree that Landon has played a MASSIVE role in bringing US Soccer to this point, just as Brian McBride, Kasey Keller, Eric Wynalda, John Harkes, and Alexi Lalas (ugh) have. He deserves every respect for what he’s done.
That said, he should also be called to the carpet for his sometimes self-centered behavior. Even the fact that he feels the need to make comments like this on the record shows something there that proves the point. It’s time for US Soccer to move beyond landon donovan now, and I think that’s what’s happening.
So, thanks for the diatribe.
Proud USA Supporter since 1994
sport is inherently a “what have you done for me lately” profession……exactly, sooo davis, green have done so much lately….
The tournament for the US is not over yet.
I don’t buy it.
simply not true. Italy brought Pirlo, Ivory Coast brought Drogba, England brought Gerrard and Lampard, Mexico brought Marquez, Holland brought Sneijder and Kuyt, Germany brought Klose…none of those guys have achieved much “lately” in comparison to their former prior accomplishments. But, they have intangibles that come along with experience which bring value to the team. We had zero ability to possess the ball against germany. zusi, davis, bedoya showed no composure in that moment. we could have used the calming influence of a guy who has never been afraid of the big moment. Look, i agree that JK is buliding a mentality for the team, but given our offensive struggles due to our injurues, wouldnt it be nice to call on a donovan as opposed to a davis, or wondolowski, or green in this moment?
Possession is not about one guy. People used to say Torres would solve the US’ possession issue.
Ghana Portugal and Germany were always inherently more capable of keeping possession better than the US LD or not.
Most of those teams crashed out at group.
Here is the thing, Donovan has done great things for the USMNT in the past, but the past should mean nothing in sports. Managers should make every decision based on how is this person performing right now in the role that they see him. Klinsmann has constantly stated he wanted 23 guys that were going to push and push and push. Donovan’s work rate has fallen dramatically in he last year and half. Then you add in Donovan’s ego (which every manager he has ever had has admitted needs to be managed) and you could easily see why he is not on the team. I mean Donovan constantly stated he couldn’t give 100 percent day in day out. I was surprised Klinsmann had the conviction to cut him, but once it happend I thought it made sense from klinmann’s perspective.
Why would you, to the media no less, state that although you know the coach wants you to have a great day of training every day you won’t be doing that because it’s “not possible”?? He shouldn’t have been shocked he was cut.
By your logic, why are ANY of them even taking the pitch after their leader and manager went on record and told the NY Times there was no chance they could win this tournament??? Seriously, riddle me that… Why didn’t they just go home then?
Furthermore, if you really want to get a sense for how haywire Klinsy’s logical compass is, consider this: If he wants his players challenging themselves at the highest level, and doesn’t want players who take the path of least resistance, why are ANY of the German team washouts allowed to play? They all took the path of least resistance to International Football the moment they chose the US over Germany, did they not? Why aren’t their characters scrutinized for such a ‘cowardly’ decision and ultimately cast aside?? If Klinnsmann held true to this maxim, he would wait until they had announced their allegiance to America and then inform them they will never suit up for their adopted country because the acting of choosing the US revealed their weakness.
Face it, Klinnsmann is a walking contradiction and it is only a matter of time before the team, the player pool, the Federation and the whole fandom of this country realize it.
You sorry lot are merely either Klinsmann apologists, newbie USMNT fans or longtime Landon critics.
1st Time Caller !!
“You sorry lot are merely either Klinsmann apologists, newbie USMNT fans or longtime Landon critics.”
Or we’ve been following the team for a few decades and recognize that Klinsmann has accomplished every feat so far that we could have wanted—some we didn’t even dare ask.
If you revealed to me that all this time, Klinsmann had actually been fielding a team made up entirely of Jonathan Bornstein’s illegitimate children then I would be surprised by our success, but I wouldn’t be angry about it.
Not every feat. Not by a long shot yet…
BTW no one is angry about our success. I am merely pointing out the fact that the Gospel according to Klinsmann is clearly bat$#!t crazy and it is smoke and mirrors and most important of all, he is not above reproach as many a poster around here want to anoint him, the same posters who have forgotten (or never knew to begin with) the major successes Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley were responsible for that he still has yet to equal (but he will get his chance very soon.)
And before you retort, I should think you would know I am referring to a Quarterfinals 1-0 loss to Germany that would go on to be 1st runners up in the tournament that easily could have been 3-1 US, IMO, even as a loss, still our best showing of the modern era and our high water mark and to beating Spain in the 2009 confederations cup en route to going 2-0 up on Brazil in the finals (still our only finals appearance in a major FIFA tournament) JK will have a chance to best Brucie, but he and the boys have to take care of business tomorrow first. He will have to wait for his chance to best Bob’s success until 2017(?) methinks…
1st Time Caller, I knew exactly which feats of Arena and Bradley you were referring to. Those are just some of the reasons I have always defended them as great US coaches: they delivered. Maybe they didn’t always deliver, but I said they were “great,” not “perfect.”
I have not yet graded Klinsmann on taking the US to the semis of the WC or to the finals of the Confed because none of those have even happened yet. I’m going to base my critique of Klinsmann on the same factors that led me to view Arena and Bradley as great coaches: Klinsmann’s results that actually happened, not future events.
“JK will have a chance to best Brucie, but he and the boys have to take care of business tomorrow first. He will have to wait for his chance to best Bob’s success until 2017(?) methinks…”
Yep, now if only people labeling him our worst coach ever would withhold judgment….
P.S. Did you notice where I called Klinsmann “perfect”? No, because I didn’t. He’s made mistakes—most recently, how he finished out the Portugal match by leaving Beasley exposed.
And those guys push and push and push. And they still can’t complete a pass or a pass or another pass. It all sounds so great in boiler plate bs or brief soundbytes. I hate Donovan on the Galaxy but he’s always been a strong performer for the US. I love the Earthquakes and Wondo, but there is no planet where I see him as better than Donovan. Davis is a joke. A big f*** a** joke. He has great crosses but the US isn’t in a position to create the set plays that allow him to flourish. Push and push and push means nothing when the players can’t actually perform. But apparently that disconnect means nothing to the US MNT.
Been a fan since Mike Bliss and Bruce Murray were running around in uncomfortably short shorts. Love what LD brought for so many years on the field. But as a former coach(baseball) i dont have much use for entitlement guys.
That is pretty funny when you consider Arena is always about Arena!
That is true. Takes one to know one I guess.
I remember when the USMNT was playing World Cup Qualifying games and Landon Donovan was where? Doing what? Committed to who and what? I did not think he would be cut from the team, but the division between Klinnsman and Donovan was set and Klinnsman had a bigger ego in Palo Alto.
And yet Chandler turned down numerous invites with no repercussions. What was done to Donovan was unacceptable and petty payback. Nobody can possibly say he couldnt have contributed. We are very short handed between injury and people we can’t use. Donovan would be starting from game 2 on if he was there.
JK made several big mistakes on personnel. Getting out of the group stage is great but when this ends, it’s back to the grind and he’s not getting a free pass for the mistakes. The Donovan snub is the worst one and cannot be forgiven
Back to the grind? Forgiven for mistakes?
Whiskey tango foxtrot are you talking about. He’s achieved what was probably his goal and USSF’s. How he did it really doesn’t matter. He’s going to be around for at least another two years.
the mistake JK made was not taking a Jozy-type replacement like TBoyd or Agudelo especially for the system he wanted to play in Brazil.
Maybe Juan not even making the 30 list was ok… but TBoyd for sure had to be there.
Let’s just say, for sake of argument, that Boyd, EJ, and Agudelo all went to camp and totally stunk. No explanation why—injury, mental, whatever—they just couldn’t play soccer better than a blindfolded mannequin.
Okay, now in that scenario, was it still a “mistake” for Klinsmann to not take “a Jozy-type replacement”?
No, it was not a “mistake” any more than it was a mistake not to bring 20 Ronaldo-Messi-Pirlo-Silva hybrids: you don’t bring who you don’t have.
If you don’t have a qualified “Jozy-type replacement” then you bring someone else—someone who may be entirely different, because what other choice do you have?
Did Portugal bring a “Ronaldo-type” replacement? No, because there is no such thing. Did Costa Rica bring a Campbell-type? Uruguay a Suarez-type? No and no.
We all wanted Boyd (or EJ or Agudelo) to be our discount Altidore. But apparently they weren’t there.
If there was a mistake, it’s that Boyd made the mistake of not being Jozy-like.
Chandler is a younger player who doesn’t know any better and was fighting for a spot on his club team LD is a freaking veteran stop comparing the two. Plus Chandler has a fear of flying. He can’t sleep on planes. A phobia for flying is something serious. LD wanted a freaking vacation while his team was playing he’s not above the team he deserved what was coming to him.
JayAre: you usually make informed comments. Check your statement about Chandler: he never said he had a “fear of flying.” He just can’t sleep on planes—but not because of fear; i.e., he’s like many people who can’t sleep in noisy, cramped, arid, public places.
Other than that, I agree with your general point about Chandler. He gets way too much grief over his absence from the US squad (much of it during a time when he was injured anyway!).
Landon Donovan was tired of caring American Soccer on his back. How is a fear of flying more acceptable than wanting a break from being the face of American soccer for around a decade, if not more? Flying is something millions of people do. Caring your nations soccer reputation on your back is taxing!
Maradona? Drugs. Ronaldinhio? Partying. Messi? Taxes. Rooney? Hating on own fans.
If the worst the USA face of soccer does is take a break with all that pressure, please take two years.
Thats where you all get it wrong Klinsmanna didn’t need LD to be the face of American soccer. He need him to be a dedicated member of the team. Also all the players you mentioned are under more pressure than LD and non of them too a vacation on their team.
“Is his initial bitterness understandable?” really, an article had to be written about this?!? any and every human being would feel the same way donovan felt. sorry, but other than looking for hits to this story, it’s a pretty dumb write up. c’mon ives, you’re better than this crap.
The LA Times came up with the story.
Ives is just recycling the crap, which is a very Green thing to do.
I trust Klinsmann to have made the right decision on building a TEAM that is more than the sum of its parts. Too bad Landon couldn’t make whatever adjustment he needed to make to get on the plane.
Either way, this wc is a success and Julian green is on the squad.
There was something that Klinsmann hated about the way he played in the midfield. He played him there a number of times and pulled him at half. Maybe he didn’t track back enough, I don’t know.
Might as well have you or me in the squad. We’d have the same impact Julian has had so far.
True right now. But in a year or three when he s a great help to our team, you wont be able to say the same. He is here so he would sign on. I for one am ok with that. He did not keep LD off. That blame falls squarely on the shoulders of LD. He took the walk-about to Cambodia, during qualifying. He came into camp overweight. He was in bad. Maybe JK could have forgiven him, but he is trying to change the culture. So i am on board.
The being out of fitness meme is not backed by on the ground observations.
If Donovan didnt have the pace and the endurance anymore, how does he finish in the top 1/3 of the beep test during camp?
Ballack really puts Lalas to shame concerning insight for soccer
That is like saying the VW Jetta has proven to be a better car than the Yugo.
Gas or Diesel Jetta?
Ballack: And Germany are going with the same back four as last time, and… ya.
Lalas: I’m picking the US to lose this game.
The only celebrity color anchor that provides any “insight for soccer” is Roberto Martinez. Lalas, Ballack, Gilberto Silva etc are all the same i.e. not very insightful. They all refer to their former teams as we and again the only that doesn’t is Coach Martinez.
Completely understandable initial reaction, and pretty mature subsequent reaction. One thing that LD always has been is very introspective and self-aware.
Never being consistently challenged to battle for a spot on a team seriously affected LD’s career in a negative way. If he played in an environment where he was always in competition to get on the field this probably wouldn’t have burned as deep
Are you surprised? Donovan spent his career shying away from the challenge of playing against the world’s best. He shrunk back to the safety net of MLS where he would never have to fight for his place.
that’s why he’s LandyCakes
With all the success, and I am a big fan of JK and believe that he’d coaches are entitles to whatever decisions they make, with the information we have LD would still help us more that Davis. green is for the future. I have to assume that JK knows more. LD has been great for the US national team. Just thank him for that.
This is by far your weirdest identity expat. The wildly over the top, “I have to say it every time” guy who loves JK and tries unsuccesfully over and over to get somebody to say “the ends justify the means” is actually pretty fascinating. +0.1, I guess. Do you prefer him to “usaalltheway”?
You are a perfect example of what is written about those many who accuse others of doing what they themselves do, aren’t you The Zimmer. It is you who posts under more nyms than anyone here.
btw, if I remember correctly expat said Klinsmann is a terrible coach. Wasn’t that why he predicted a coaching change before it happened?
Swing and a miss.
That soft mentality is why he seemed shocked that he’d actually have to fight for a place on the WC team. Listening to all the interviews he gave in the build up to the tournament he seemed out of his league. Like his Germany days. I love what LD has done for the team but if he never puts on a USMNT jersey again I won’t mind at all
Funny that mentality gets held against him by the guy who went on record with the NY Times and raised the white flag of defeat before the tournament even started. LOL
I think Klinsmann used that as a way to pump up his players expecting everyone to say they can do it. Everyone did exactly that except LD. And as the tournament got closer Klinsmann changed his tone and said winning the WC isn’t our goal getting out of the group was and after that we’ll take it one day at a time.
I think Klinsmann was being honest, and was right. What’s weird is how much crap he took for saying it.
I didn’t think much of how he shrunk away from the statement later, like a politician trying to explain away some negative sound byte. I don’t want to be BS’ed. Give me a realistic assessment over phony baloney any day.
What are your thoughts on Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey’s moves back to MLS? Have they shrunk back to the safety net of MLS? Neither will have to fight for a place, and one can make an argument they are benefiting on a salary that mimics Donovan’s, MLS has owned Donovan’s contract for the past decade, no way were they EVER going to transfer him for the chump change an American player would get in Europe. He was always more valuable in MLS.
You can say many thing about Michael Bradley, but one thing you cannot say is that he isn’t driven to compete.
Very True! I played soccer with his father in H.S. Very serious boy. Kind of like my father.
excuses excuses. LD kept re-signing at LA. They didn’t have to. He could have been a free agent and moved to Europe.
As far as Dempsey and Bradley. Dempsey played in Europe for 8 years. Bradley in my opinion came back to MLS too soon. But you can’t blame him for taking the contract.
LD could have made more $$ in Europe but he was afraid to fail. A very soft player.
To the contrary, Donovan is the only MLS player who, in his prime, while playing in MLS, succeeded at the inetrnational level. He played well in the conferderations cup, 2002 and 2010 world cups, and was the man of the match in the us’s tie against italy (the eventual world champions) in 2006. He OWNED Mexico; Mexican fans hate no US player more than Donovan.
Most importantly, he showed that MLS talent can compete on the highest international stage. That is an important step for the development of a US Domestic league. For the league to grow and gain credibility, it will need to retain top international talent instead of shipping them off like Holland. In short, it will need more Donovans
“LD could have made more $$ in Europe but he was afraid to fail. A very soft player.”
He’s not soft, just different. And smart.
Donovan is what you call a savant. He is probably the most naturally talented soccer player the US has ever produced but unlike you, as a kid his idea of success was playing in the World Cup not playing in Europe. He got a big contract from Leverkusen as a teenager so money was never an issue and when he realized that the Germans were going to waste his time in the reserves he simply forced a move to the Quakes. Landon was always very confident.
In effect, he became a US player who was loaned out to MLS to keep sharp in between World Cups.
For his efforts he has traveled the world, made all kinds of contacts, became the best USMNT player ever, every four years got to play in the World Cup, three in all, two of which were great, got to significantly grow the game in his country, made a ton of money, secure a future in the media, got to live where he wanted to, at home, all that time and generally seems to have retained his sanity and humanity even if he is an entitled diva.
So far, it seems he has gotten to live his life pretty much exactly as he wanted to.
In short, Llort, if that is “soft”, we should all be so lucky to be “soft”.
You pretty much hit it spot-on.
Respect Donovan a bunch, and there’s no doubting what he has done for this country. And he made a durn good living becoming the poster boy for the USSF.
That said, JK was hired to overhaul US Soccer, and I think that’s exactly what the Donovan omission was about. Do I think Donovan might have helped the US on the field? Maybe…though it’s hard to see where you might have used him, the way the first few games have gone.
Mostly, though, I think Donovan was omitted precisely to make the point: nobody can NOT be omitted. Earn your spot, RIGHT NOW because yesterday doesn’t mean a thing to tomorrow, stay hungry, stay committed to the system, work your butt off, and no one player is bigger than the team. It was a calculated roll of the dice…and in escaping the Group of Death, Klinsmann got away with it.
Now every player Klinsmann brings in knows, going forwards, that there are no special cases or poster children anymore.
Very well said, GW. It’s hard to understand why anyone thinks he’s entitled to criticize Donovan (or anyone else) for living the life he choses to lead, which meets his needs, makes successful (by most people’s standards) makes him happy and hurts no one else.
Very good comment, GW.
Deuce moved to Seattle because:
1. The situation at Spurs was in turmoil, and AVB was in a tenuous position and was later fired. Heading into a World Cup year Deuce needed to find himself guaranteed playing time at the highest level possible.
2. The Seattle offer was too good. It was the kind of money and business deal that Clint, at his age, was unlikely to get from anyone else.
JK was not consulted, as far as I know, and was not happy, but JK accepted it because needs Clint too much. And Clint put in that European loan provision so, at this point in his career and given his age and veteran smarts, Clint was unlikely to show much drop off for the World Cup. And I think he has been proven correct.
Mikey’s TFC move, like Clint’s, was also about getting regular PT for the World Cup push and life changing money and business prospects after his playing days were over. This even though, Mikey is significantly younger than Deuce.
Subsequent reports say that Mikey did look around for other top level European clubs once it became clear his PT at Roma was going to get really reduced in a World Cup year, but it seems he did not get any offers near as seductive as what TFC offered. A new father and husband, it’s pretty hard to turn down guaranteed life long security for your new family.
As far as I know JK was also not informed and also did not approve but ,as with Deuce, coming so close to Brazil it was unlikely that Mikey’s form would drop off dramatically, especially considering he was not going to play at all at Roma, so JK accepted this as well. After all, he has started Zusi, Besler, Davis, Beckerman and Omar in the World Cup so, regardless of his statements, he trusts his MLS players.
The situations with Deuce and Mikey should tell you how pragmatic JK is. He knew he couldn’t replace these two so close to the World Cup. And he likely figured with Clint getting his loan in to Fulham and Mikey getting regular time with TFC instead of sitting in Rome, the form of those two would not suffer too much before Brazil.
After the World Cup may be another story but that is irrelevant now.
Donovan is another story all together. He did not want to be on JK’s team unless it was under his terms. That is pretty much how LD has always operated for most of his career.
GW, thanks for replying back!
My comment was in reference to Brett’s response about Donovan shying away from competition and returning to the safety net of MLS. I have followed CD, MB, and LD’s careers, mainly because I consider them the 3 best field players that the US have.
Although I agree with your points on CD and MB’s reasons to come back, absolutely! However how does that not apply to LD (playing time, money, and loan provision)? You say he did not want to be on JK’s team unless on his terms? What do you mean by that? We have to realize the expectations and the pressure that was placed on LD from a very young age. A FIFA youth tournament golden ball winner, and the face of US Soccer for over a decade.
I have to agree with what Don Garber has said about US players playing overseas just to play overseas. He says that it is better to play in MLS day in and day out, rather than waste away on the bench or in a lower tiered league comparable to MLS. Where I don’t agree is that MLS will simply own their contracts and make it impossible for them to move in the transfer market once and if they become a true star.
Again my initial reply was to Brett. I just don’t see a difference between what MB and CD are doing now, moving back to MLS, from what LD did except Donovan did it a decade earlier and for the majority of his prime.
Even though they all play in MLS Mikey, Deuce and LD are three very different players with very different stories.
Mikey and Deuce are different from LD in that they both went to Europe and developed into the players you see today over there. Both started out in MLS but they now are “European” players who play in MLS.
Donovan did well during those Everton loans but he never had the kind of sustained run of success with a club in Europe like Clint did. And neither did Mikey, if you are being fair. Mikey has done well in spurts but, in terms of his European career he was not as accomplished and consistent a player as Deuce was.
I do not see Donovan’s success as necessarily being a credit to the MLS player development system.
LD is a one off, an aberration. Show me the American MLS player who developed in California, or anywhere in the US, and who then spent his entire career in MLS, who is anywhere near as good as Donovan since LD came out of Ontario, CA?
Really, it’s been about 16 years since LD started making noise. If the system were primarily responsible where is the next Donovan? The MLS has resulted in there being a lot more all around, solid; technically better USMNT eligible soccer players than ever before but none of those guys are LD. Not even close
Why hasn’t MLS produced another Donovan?
My guess is because the man is a one off, a fricking genius.
He would have been anywhere from outstanding to great depending on where he was born and how things worked out but the US was lucky enough to have him born here. And he might have been even better had he gone to Europe and succeeded but that would have meant finding a club where he felt at home.
The man loves his home cooking and in So Cal he was catered to and kept happy and as a result provided more than a decade worth of excellent service to the game in this country and the USMNT.
Personally I doubt he would have ever been happy in Europe and consequently his form would have suffered and so would his legend. But we will, of course, never know. There have been other really good players with stories similar to LD’s. Henrik Larsson of Celtic and Sweden comes to mind.
I have zero problem with the way Landon handled his life and career because I think it all worked out for the best but anyone who thinks that every young American soccer prospect should follow the LD career path and expect the same results is delusional.
I saw LD coming up and his talent level was unbelievable. So that‘s the first thing they better have. But after that where they go to best develop further is very much going to be on a case by case basis.
Some should go to Europe. some should go to Mexico, some should stay here. But everyone will be different.
”You say he did not want to be on JK’s team unless on his terms? What do you mean by that? We have to realize the expectations and the pressure that was placed on LD from a very young age. A FIFA youth tournament golden ball winner, and the face of US Soccer for over a decade.”
JK has lived in So Cal since 1999. He is a soccer freak and do you think he has lived there all those years and not observed LD coming up? JK surely must have had an inside view on LD’s career the whole time. I mean, JK brought LD to Bayern and got fired in part because of that. So all these people who act as if JK doesn’t know exactly what he is dealing with in LD have to be misinformed.
When DMB was called up by JK the Beas said JK told him “you are playing left back”. DMB said the whole conversation was over in 10 seconds. DMB did not like it. He did not want to play left back. But he shut up and did it and he has performed very well in that role in his history making 4th World Cup, everyone’s criticism notwithstanding.
I characterize that approach as telling the new boss, “here I am what do you need me to do? “
Contrast that to LD who was injured for most of JK first few games and then did his sabbatical and then when he came back from that spent a lot of time telling the media that he couldn’t train like he did that he was willing to come off the bench, mentor the kids do whatever, etc. etc. etc.
In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t know if LD discussed his role with JK when he came back.
But based on all the interviews I’ve read from the other players and from JK himself, it seems likely that JK’s style is to tell the players their role. He doesn’t discuss it with them in great detail and he doesn’t give them a lot of notice. Remember he likes them feeling challenged and uncomfortable.
It is possible that LD does not care for this approach. I do know that a lot of European managers deal with players the same way. I don’t know if LD made further attempts to talk to JK about his role.
If he did not then I would say LD’s many and detailed interviews amount to negotiating in the press for the role LD felt best suited him. Or at the very least they tell you what kind of player he thought JK should expect him to be.
Remember that JK’s big thing is to push players to excel in areas where they never thought they could.
The point is, a veteran like Donovan knows himself very well but this constant negotiating of his can also be interpreted as LD not thinking that JK could help him become an even better player, the way JK helped DMB extend his USMNT career by turning him into a left back. After all JK played in his last World Cup at the age of 33-34 and scored three goals. And he had been under just as much pressure the whole time as LD was during his career. Are you telling me that a positive thinking freak like JK would not think he could make LD better than even LD thought possible?
After all, JK is the guy who thought from day one that Beckerman could be a legitimate World Cup midfielder. And he is probably the only person in America, even including Kyle, who thought that.
Maybe JK thought LD was selling himself short with this “well I’m just a sub/designated hitter/ mentor now business”. That is where I see the conflict between the two.
Eventually it became an agreement. LD did not want to change and JK finally believed him.
In the end I think LD did not have enough faith that he could survive JK’s demanding style and come out of it a better player. I think LD quit on himself.
cant the same be said for “America’s Best Player”?
I used to be reluctant to call him out for this as he was the most talented american ever and thought it was his decision not everyone else’s, but with more distance and time I am more likely to believe what brett says is actually true.
Ah, you folks with your Europe fetish. LD is the greatest player this country has ever produced and he never needed to set a foot in Europe to prove it.
+1. I don’t see anything wrong with helping to grow MLS like LD has done. He will leave a great MLS legacy when his career is finished.
MLS is still in feeder league mode. To help MLS grow let you team sell you for a nice fee so the league can get more money and re-invest.
The 2006 World Cup was set in Germany so Donovan did have to go there.
Our relevant soccer history is really short that why LD seem so good. Give it a few years Donovan will look like a scrub when compare with what we will be producing in the future. Soccer is seriously catching on now and competition will weed out the weak players so players with LD’s attitude will be dropped early…..
Not just LD but a lot of players even some on the roster now. I have a feeling that the 2018 roster will be the the most competitive one yet.
Did you have a point, JayAre? Ultimately, you suggest that the current players will be shamed by the 2018 players but there was really no reason to even make this statement. If you want to make such a statement, why not just start a new thread instead of bending one that’s focused on something else in order to fit your personal goals?
There’s also no need, or reason, to liken Donovan to a ‘scrub.’ It just makes your comment and argument sound weak and emotional in nature. I sense that you’re better than this. Just make the case that you think the 2018 squad will be better (or good; or whatever). Disparaging the 2014 team, and those who didn’t make the team, does nothing to support your claims. It just makes you seem like you’re making an emotional argument, which is incredibly weak in terms of rhetoric and argumentation.
When I think of the Beckham comments and the latest one I have to say Donovan is lucky to be a professional athlete. With his honesty i dont think he would do well in corporate America.
He’d make a good attorney
Not sure. I don’t know of any good attorneys that tell the truth.
So? I’m sure no other player ever felt bitter about being left off the plane.
Landon just learned a hard lesson about commitment and passion. I don’t have even a sliver of pity for him.
I bet you have a lot to teach Landon Donovan about commitment and passion. I bet your lack of pity keeps Landon Donovan awake at night.
What’s keeping him awake at night is probably thinking about his next TV appearance to talk about the World Cup instead of playing in it.
He probably sleeps perfectly well at night on a soft bed of money.
Commitment and passion?? This is a man who has spent his life dedicated to football in this country. He’s given everything he has for the sport and he’s had the weight of the entire country on his back time and time again and delivered. Landon Donovan would never need yours or anyone’s pity. His omission from the roster had nothing to do with commitment or passion it was down Klinsmann’s ego. Get your life.
Yeah, I remember Donovan taking a break from the team to “rediscover his passion”. I guess everyone else forgot…except for Klinsmann.
The minute Donovan stopped feeling like he needed to prove himself every minute of every training session was the minute he lost his spot.
please make the argument that you’d rather have brad davis on the team over donovan right now…
I’d rather have whoever JK deems fit
Given our injuries, id rather have a player who is not scared to make a play. That is why Brad Davis was subbed off after 45 because he looked like a deer in headlights.
He’s fit enough to play 90 minutes in MLS. Surely he can 30-45 at the world cup.
That’s called blind devotion, and it’s a good way to get a lot of jews killed.
Don’t you know the rule? Whoever invokes Hitler/Nazis first loses the argument.
Eh he’s proved himself a capable coach, until he proves that wrong by falling seriously under expectations we can assume that he has much better information and insights into the team than we do. And as he’s shown to use that information we’ll enough to put out a solid team he has my trust. When the rumours that he’s putting The center backs in an oven after bad games starts, then maybe I’ll get concerned.
I’m not as close to the team as the coach, so I can’t honestly say. I do know that Davis and Donovan were listed at entirely different positions. Davis is there for tactical purposes. Donovan’s position was given to AJ/Wondo… not Davis. I’d rather have Donovan than Wondo, but it’s not like Wondo has been used a lot.
Donovan listed as a forward only smells of a setup. He has played plenty of midfield for US. So if Beckerman and Jones were out, Klinsy would not play Cameron at DM because he is listed as a defender?
He hasn’t played much in the midfield for the US lately.
And Yedlin is a right back, and Jones is a central defensive midfielder.
Klinsmann has used many players out of club position and/or out of their normal USMNT position. And its good that he does.
Seeing Donovan as only a forward contradicts how Klinsmann has managed, and fails to put our best team on field.
1) the competition was wondo, aj and jozy.
2) he would not have been happy sitting on the bench.
3) previous poster correct that all media would have been causing unnecessary consternation about when he would play
4) reaction via these self-pitying commercials show lack of professionalism and respect for his would-be teammates
These factors and many more contributed to being left out. Taking him was a bigger risk than leaving him out. So makes sense to leave him out.
Appreciate his candidness.
Donovan still should’ve been picked over brad davis…
The only thing having Donovan would have changed is the removal of your hurt feelings. Grab that pint of ice cream out of the freezer you’ve been saving and have a good cry why don’t ya
He would’ve played. The team has done well and JK has done well with subs etc but LD should still be there.
LOL, wow… clearly you’ve never watched Brad Davis run around (slowly) like a chicken deer in the headlights with his head cut off then…
huh??? One metaphor at a time son.
Chicken deer in the headlights… What’s confusing about that?
Oh. I thought it was chicken deer with big headlights. She looks good in a bikini.
I love Landon, obviously, but I don’t think you could have him there in the Brad Davis role. If Landon played as little as Brad Davis all the talk and speculation and DISTRACTION would be about when are you going to put in Donovan. If all you need is someone for set pieces who will rarely see the field then the signing up David Beckham and putting him on the bench is probably more trouble than its worth. The same holds trues for Donovan.
Yep. LD would have been nice vs GER in the give-Bedoya-60-minutes-of-rest role. Would he have been happy for that to be his role?
You are basing your life views on your favorite videogame, where players ability does not significantly change once the latest version is produced. In the case of human beings, however, it is not that simple. Donovan is not the same today as he was in 2010 or FIFA 2010. Davis was killing Lando in MLS stats and numbers don’t lie. This crap about intangibles and experience is just that, crap. It was a tough call but teams like Spain might have wished they shook off the cobwebs and let some older players take a holiday so that new blood could be infused.
Experience is not crap. You don’t want a whole team to average 15 years of professional experience, etc., but having a few gray beards around is usually a good thing.
Stats don’t lie? Really? That can’t be the argument. Stats absolutely do lie. If not, then how many assists and goals does Davis have for US national team.
Brad Davis is a waste of a roster spot as was Green. Davis has seen the pitch and Green hasnt but both have been utterly unproductive regardless
This is a tired arguement. Take this into consideration – roster spots aren’t just for places on the field. This team has to be together for a very long time off of it.
Not saying LD should or should not be there but the arguements that others should not based on playing time is simple weak and misleading. There is more that field appearances when picking a team. Mix has seen zero time too but I don’t hear folks bringing that up in his case.
except for the fact that the majority of folk have moved on. the fact that it’s gotta be all him all the time speaks volumes about all the little things that led to his not being called.
He does press. Press ask questions.
In the words of Tupac Shakur, “And you wonder why they call you ‘Cakes!”
Not exactly PAC but you get the point.
Sour grapes. Makes him look like a bigger jerk and IMO it is crap like this that has almost everything to do with his getting cut. Prima Donovan. I was one of the biggest Donovan fans until the sabbatical. Other players had been playing as long as he had. They didn’t ask for a sabbatical.
Also. The commercials have made him look even more like prima donna.
The reviews I have heard are that his analysis is full of self-importance and reminders to everyone that he is not there.
A team can have one leader. If you have a Maradona/Cruyff level talent who gives his all, nothing wrong with that leader being a player. Otherwise, it needs to be the manager. At the end of the day, Donovan simply wasn’t willing to do what Klinsmann told him to do. We don’t have the talent to operate that way and Donovan hasn’t accomplished enough to tell Klinsmann that.
Don’t most of you think Donovan was one of the sources for Strauss’s article back in 2013? Klinsmann kept giving the guy chances after that. To me, that is overly generous. What does Donovan do when he gets to camp? He already starts making excuses for bad performances, saying that, no matter what the coach says, he can’t give 100% day in and day out.
Thank you for this ^
I suspected the same thing about Donovan being one of the unnamed sources for the Strauss article. Remember when he spilled his guts about his displeasure with Beckham to Grant Wahl??? Who does that? When have you ever heard of a PROFESSIONAL athlete airing his dirty laundry to the press?
Does anyone believe Donovan would have sat on the bench quitely and been a good soldier?
Well, he wasn’t in the squad at that time and hadn’t been since before his sabbatical.
Now that you mention it, I remember 2013. That was the year that Donovan, reinvigorated because he took the time that he needed to take off, scored eight goals and had eight assists, setting an all-time single-year US record of 24 points (two for a goal, one for an assist). That was the year, on the way to that record, that he led the US to victory and earned the golden boot at the Gold Cup tournament and, in the process, displayed his unique goal-creating talent to help guys who ultimately made the roster look good (like Wondo). Is that the period in which some of you think that he was not doing enough to show he deserved to be on the roster and (without evidence) that he was bad-mouthing Klinsmann? I think you’re living in an alternate universe.