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USMNT Notes: Donovan to play about 30 minutes, Green still hurting, and more

Landon Donovan USMNT 100

Photo by Justin Tooley/USA TODAY Sports


BOSTON — If Landon Donovan is to say goodbye to the U.S. Men’s National Team and its fans with a goal, he will have approximately 30 minutes to score one.

Donovan is set to play in his last international match on Friday when the U.S. hosts Ecuador in a friendly at Rentschler Field, and the legendary attacker is only expected to play about a half-hour. Donovan will start the match and serve as the Americans’ captain, but will have his appearance cut short due in part to the LA Galaxy having a match vs. FC Dallas on Sunday that has Supporters’ Shield implications.

“The plan is that he’s playing about half an hour into the game,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann before an afternoon practice session on Tuesday. “Two days later, he has a Galaxy game coming up and he’s coming in only on Thursday then as well. It’s obviously a special moment, it’s a special celebration for everybody involved, and hopefully it’s going to be a memorable day for him.”

Donovan had a similar cameo in August’s MLS All-Star Game. He came off the bench early in the second half vs. Bayern Munich in that friendly, played 23 minutes and scored the game-winning goal en route to being named the match’s Most Valuable Player.

It was a special moment for Donovan, who announced his retirement plans the next day, and something the U.S. is hoping he can similarly experience on Friday.

“We have the understanding with Landon that he obviously starts the game, gets the captain armband out of respect to what he did for the program over so many years, an outstanding career,” said Klinsmann. “We want him to enjoy that moment.”

Here are more notes from the U.S.’s camp:


The late addition of Chris Wondolowski to the roster on Monday made for speculation that a player was dealing with an injury, and now we know just who that is.

Julian Green is still ailing a bit from the bruised ribs he suffered while playing for Hamburg SV in a goal-less draw vs. his parent club Bayern Munich on Sept. 20. Green, 19, missed a couple of weeks of training as a result, but returned to practice for Hamburg last week.

The winger was not limited at all in training with the U.S. on Tuesday and showed no signs of being in pain, but Klinsmann wanted to play it safe and call in Wondolowski all the same.

“It’s simply because Julian Green is struggling still with his rib injury that he caught with the Bayern Munich game there two weeks ago,” said Klinsmann. “We just want to make sure that if Julian is not ready to go, then we would miss a little piece, so I called Wondo if he doesn’t mind and he’s thrilled obviously, as usual.”

Green, who committed to the U.S. in March and made his international debut a month later, has four caps to his name. He scored his first goal at the World Cup, netting a splendid side volley in the Americans’ 2-1 extra-time loss to Belgium in the Round of 16.


While Donovan’s minutes are being limited in part to make sure he can play for his club this weekend, Klinsmann said that he has no intention of managing the minutes of other MLS players just because of their club situations.

Several MLS teams are currently jockeying for position in the postseason picture, but Klinsmann has no qualms with using players from those squads for the entirety of Friday’s friendly if the situation calls for it. That means that players like Omar Gonzalez, DeAndre Yedlin and Luis Gil could be called upon to put in full shifts against Ecuador, especially since Klinsmann is keen on trying to build on the 1-0 win the U.S. enjoyed away to the Czech Republic last month.

“We do what is best for our team,” said Klinsmann. “We want to kind of continue the positive moment that we created there in Prague against Czech Republic with a very young group, so this group is back. We mixed it a bit with MLS.

“We have two games, so we try and kind of put the pieces together the best way it suits us, and then what other decisions (are) being made, whether it’s MLS or club teams in Europe, that comes second to us. We’re happy to have that group now around here. We want to do well against a very good Ecuador side.”


  • The U.S.’s afternoon training session was open to the media, and mostly centered around an 8-v-8 match with a ninth field player serving as a neutral. It consisted of two halves and was played on a shorter field that went from one goal line to a little bit past the midfield mark. Offsides were tracked by assistant coaches.
  • One team was made up of DeAndre Yedlin, Omar Gonzalez, Tim Ream, Mix Diskerud, Miguel Ibarra, Julian Green, Alejandro Bedoya, and Jozy Altidore while the other was comprised of Timmy Chandler, John Brooks, Michael Orozco, Luis Gil, Alfredo Morales, Joe Gyau, Greg Garza and Bobby Wood. Joe Corona started as the neutral player in the first half, but switched with Ibarra in the second.
  • Goalkeepers Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando and Bill Hamid rotated in the two goals.
  • Some of the players that really stood out and looked sharp during the game were Gyau, Morales, Gil, Chandler and Yedlin.
  • Guzan and Rimando made one really impressive stop a piece.
  • Diskerud scored the most impressive goal of the game, latching onto a cleared ball on the left side and volleying it into the top corner with power.
  • Moments later, Diskerud proceeded to play a short free kick deep in his own end quickly that led to his team conceding a goal.
  • Gyau showed his explosive speed again as well as his extreme confidence on the ball, taking on defenders with an array of moves that included speed bursts and dribbling runs.
  • Ibarra, predictably, looked like a player adjusting to a higher level and speed of play. There were some flashes, but he mostly flew under the radar.


Think Donovan scores in his 30 minutes on Friday? Wishing he would play at least until halftime? Expecting Green to be healthy enough to play on Friday?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Everything Klinnsi says about LD is going to be dissected and will probably sound like a back-handed compliment. Everything LD says about the USMNT is similarly going to be analyzed for bitterness.

    I shall quote the wonder philosopher-queen, Elsa: Let it go. Let it go!

    Just enjoy the game and applaud one of our outstanding players in his last appearance for the Nats.

  2. I don’t get all the Landon haters. He’s the best player we’ve ever had. If it’s so easy to score all of those goals and get all of those assists, why is nobody close to his numbers? Just because he’s not Messi or Ronaldo doesn’t mean we shouldn’t appreciate him.

    • Are you equating haters with anyone critical of the decisions LD has made? I appreciate what LD has done for the program, but am disappointed that our supposed best player didn’t make the grade in Europe, didn’t really try that hard to, and didn’t really care about it that much, even though we all know he could have made it with a greater effort and opened up new avenues for Americans in Europe. I think many people are in that same line of thinking, which doesn’t make us haters, but fans who saw potential go to waste.

      • Landon got to make millions playing in Southern California, living on a beach, and being the face of US soccer. He also got guaranteed playing time, did NOT have to live in Liverpool or Munich, and fly 5,000+ miles to go back home to California.

        It’s a great gig if you can get it…and it’s hard to fault him for any of that. Especially after that fiasco at Bayern, which got him shipped unceremoniously home without a real opportunity (and incidentally got Klinsmann fired) it’s hard to blame him for being a bit soured on the European Dream.

        I’d personally love a chance to waste my talent that way.

      • I dunno… I’m a little more partial to the “getting out and seeing the world while wasting my talent” plan that Freddy Adu has been perfecting.

        Find your beach, I guess.

  3. I hate fueling the conspiracy, but… remember Klinsmann’s comments that Green and LD weren’t in competition for a WC spot. LD was a forward and therefore got bumped by Wondo, who showed well in camp. Now, 4 months later, Green is replaced on the roster for Wondo. In terms of roster spots if LD = Wondo and Wondo = Green, shouldn’t we assume that LD = Green?

    • Ummm…Green was not in competition with anyone for a spot on the World Cup team. His spot was secured once he pledged his international playing career to the United States,

  4. Klinsi is just a d0(_)che when it comes to Landon stuff… anyone that thinks otherwise has their head in the sand…. that being said…he took the US to the second round and though we were outplayed by Belgium we were only one Wondo screw up from being in the quarters…. I hope he continues to improve this team and this program as a whole.

  5. Donovan gets the captain armband out of respect to what he did for the program over so many years? From my perspective, that sounds like backhanded praise. Doesn’t JK kind of imply that if this wasn’t a sendoff game, LD wouldn’t being wearing the armband? If he was choosing the captain using his normal criteria, which I would assume factors in leadership, soccer IQ, consistency, experience, level-headedness, etc., who else on this squad is deserving above Lando?

    • Of course JK is only giving him the captain armband because it is his last game and doesn’t have to deal with him on the pitch. A true captain doesn’t take months of during qualifying and underachiever. I am sure he will be typical LD complaining later and trying to rip JK on espn. LD was old and JK decided to move on.

      • Spoken like someone who has no idea about the dedication and commitment required to become the very best at his/her craft. Takes a little person to take shots at someone on a day dedicated to celebrating his accomplishments and contributions to his sport.

      • Sounds like someone who is speaking the truth by calling an ace an ace and a spade a spade. Here’s how you can be sure…

        1. Did LD take a break leaving the team short of one if its best options?
        2. After being dropped did he complain on ESPN?

        Big people tell the truth
        Little people complain about people telling the truth

      • Calling an ace an ace? So it is definitive that the only reason he is getting the captains arm band is so that Klinsmann doesn’t need to deal with Donovan anymore? Or did he maybe get the captain’s arm band because he is the USMNT’s best and most productive player to date playing his last match for a country that he has dedicated his professional life to. Not really calling an ace an ace I’d say. Sounds more like a little person taking a shot to get attention.

        Please educate yourself and look up the definition of “complain”. He was asked if he deserved to be cut and he answered the question. He told the truth and was supported before the cut by several of his notable teammates. Please show me where Donovan lied.

        Little people take shots where they’ll get the most attention regardless of how much they need to embellish the truth..

      • Watch more USMNT and Galaxy matches. He was dreadful at the beginning of the year. If he had his current form then, he would have been starting in Brazil. Landon only has himself to blame.

      • IN FACT… one could reasonably infer that the non-call to Brasil was in fact what lit a fire under LD’s a$$ to prove the haters wrong. Either way, the US was not winning the world cup this year, but thanks to this series of events, the Galaxy is looking like the current favorite to win the league championship. You can bet JK will never get a “hey thanks for showing me I still have something to prove” from LD. Not saying it’s deserved, but it’s an interesting thought.

      • Not sure if you are referring to Jim or Jurgen, but Landon can’t really hold Jurgen’s boots as a footballer so you probably shouldn’t throw around words like commitment and dedication. They are on different levels.

      • You know who has more caps and more goals for their country, and was surrounded by much less talent???


      • Less talent? Sure, but do you that may be why he has more caps and goals?

        Next you will tell me Landon’s MLS records mean more than Jurgen’s club records.

      • Caps for the US v caps for the Germans? No comparison.

        More goals against lesser opponents v Klinsi’s extraordinary record for Germany, plus captaining a WC team.

        Klinsi did everything he’s done at the top level of soccer. Donovan, while the best US player via stats, has largely been a big fish in a small MLS pond.

        Please don’t compare the two. They’re apples and oranges.

      • Also, you’re right about Landon not being able to hold Juergen’s boots as a footballer.

        Because Landon is a soccer player and wears cleats. 🙂

      • You are ignorant if you believe that any top level professional in any sport or vocation is able to reach the top of his profession without commitment and dedication. Not one of the members of the USMNT fell out of bed onto the squad. Commitment and dedication are appropriate descriptions.

        Not sure who you arguing with regarding your Jurgen vs Landon debate. Don’t remember ever seeing it mentioned. However, seems to me that Landon does not need to apologize for his international or club career. All time leader in both goals and assists for both club and country is impressive.

      • “Spoken like someone who has no idea about the dedication and commitment required to become the very best at his/her craft.”

        Donovan is not the very best at his craft or anywhere close. He is not a one in a lifetime talent. He might be the best American ever, but he is just a guy on the world stage.

        You are the one being ignorant. He plays in a very poor league and for a top 20 country in a horrible confederation. You can’t set records like that for top top teams. USSF and MLS need to have higher standard instead of maintaining the status quo and start producing many more Donovans instead of relishing in the past of their media favored darling.

      • As if being the best American player ever is not an accomplishment. You just degraded every American player to ever play.

      • For a second there I thought you send LD will get sent off. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate FU–coach you don’t sub me out, I got myself a red card!

    • I actually think it’s a fair comment considering he was dropped from the side and is being brought back for testimonial purposes. Someone else is the active captain, he is being given the armband for his 30 minute stint in recognition of his former role. Maybe it didn’t need to be so spelled out where it can be taken as something of a participation trophy (kind of like JK seems to want to make clear that Landon is the only MLS player whose minutes will be limited on purpose), but when he got cut and then for one game back is captain, that’s clearly not on the perception of present merits.

      Since you asked, Bedoya went to Brazil and played a lot. Jozy was set to play a lot there and got hurt. Guzan and Rimando are long term US keepers with leadership roles who went to Brazil. You’re in some sense re-arguing the spring decision to cut him, but that is what it is, and once that happens, the captain by definition is someone else, ie, someone regularly on the roster.

      • Agreed.

        And while Donovan is a decent captain, he’s more of a leader in action than words. Dempsey, Jones, and Bradley are all far better captains in my mind. I want my captain to stand up for his players against opponents, yell at the team when they’re down and dragging the team up when we’re losing the plot.

        Donovan only does the later.

      • No duh, but why use this very special situation as a platform to disrespect the USMNT’s GOAT? Regardless of circumstance, nobody else on this squad deserves to be captain ahead of LD. That JK suggests otherwise, is downright disrespectful. We get that LD wouldn’t be called up if not for this nigh testimonial, but Klinsy can still pay some proper, professional respect.

      • “We have the understanding with Landon that he obviously starts the game, gets the captain armband out of respect to what he did for the program over so many years, an outstanding career,” said Klinsmann. “We want him to enjoy that moment.”

        You are really reading too much into this quote. And Jozy deserves to be captain of this team over Donovan. Donovan doesn’t even know most of the players on the roster.

      • He’s not the MNT’s GOAT. He’s the leading goalscorer. The two are not mutually exclusive. And I think about half of his goals were PKs. It’s hard to rank him GOAT when he was invisible during the 2006 WC and for the England game as well as the first half against Slovenia in 2010. Did he score some memorable goals, sure but so did JJ and Brooks.

        GOAT is subjective. In the 30s Bert Patenude was the best American player. In the 50s it was Walter Bahr. Brian McBride and Claudio Reyna were the best players pre-LD. Deuce is the only Yank to score in three straight WCs. Donovan loses points for his sabbatical, his sense of entitlement, and his narcissism for trying to undermine the coach and team before Brazil. Moreover, when you refuse to go challenge yourself with a long term loan or contract in one the top four European leagues (EPL, Serie A, La Liga, and Bundesliga), and would rather be a big fish in the small pond that is MLS, that’s a weak argument in favor of GOAT.

        As for the captaincy, his selfishness disqualifies him. You want your captain to UNITE the team and not divide it. He generally wasn’t captain under BB either. That was Boca. Do you think Donovan would have played through a broken nose like McBride and Dempsey did?

      • Love what Donovan has done on the field… but well said. He’s not a leader. He scored a ton of goals, and has a ton of assists, but he REALLY had a chance to be even bigger. Probably the most technically gifted player the USMNT has ever had, but his career in MLS set him back. Had he reached higher on a club level, and fought for his position every week, he would have been on the verge of being a world-class talent.

        Just look at how time in the EPL transformed Dempsey.

      • Right…every player that goes and plays in Europe returns as a better player. Not…

        Dempsey for sure progressed his game to a standard that is comparable to Landon Donovan. There is no doubt about that. But if Donovan is not considered a world class talent, than neither is Dempsey. I would argue that they are both world class talents. Bradley, not to the same extent, but yes he is better.

        Is Altidore getting better sitting on the bench fighting for playing time at Sunderland? Is that making him better? Yet, he is a Klinsmann favorite. Brek Shea? Juan Aguedelo?

        Should we start bashing Luis Gil now for playing in the MLS? Where is all the Besler and Zusi bashing?

        Donovan became the most proficient and effective player the United States has ever produced. Why is that not good enough?

      • It’s not good enough because Donovan was capable of being a very good player on a top European team. The person who made it so American players were respected, not doubted, by European coaches (how many times was Dempsey benched when a new coach arrived at Fulham, even though Clint was clearly one of the best players on the team). He could have changed the game for American players in Europe, similar to how some of the Brazilian and Argentinian imports did for South America players in Europe in the late 80s, early 90s. I would argue that is more important for the USMNT than helping MLS through dark times, but that is a debate for another time.

      • Newsflash:Based on form, Donovan does deserve to be called in. Arguably, there is no US player in better form right now.

        Would he be called in? Who knows. Another “there are players slightly ahead of Landon” smokescreen would once again be laughable.

      • If he had his current form back in May and June he would have been starting for the US in the World Cup. He didn’t though.

      • You stated about being called in for Ecuador, not the World Cup. Current form, Donovan deserves to be called in regardless of match being a send off in his honor.

      • Your original post suggested that Donovan was undeserving of being called in if not for the fact that this is a “send off” match. My reply is that his current form alone is deserving of being called in for this and any other match in the near future if not for his pending retirement.

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