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Klinsmann: Donovan has catch-up to do
by Paul Kennedy, April 24th, 2013 11:36PM

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TAGS:  los angeles galaxy, men's national team, world cup 2014

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[USA MEN] Just because he scored one goal -- into an empty net on a breakaway, it should be added -- doesn't mean has Landon Donovan played himself back into the U.S. national team picture. On U.S. Soccer's Media Day with a gathering of reporters, Coach Jurgen Klinsmann made it clear he'll think long and hard before he recalls Donovan, the team's all-time leading scorer. The U.S. coach was not focused on just Donovan's fourth-month sabbatical that kept him out of the start of the Hexagonal but the 21 months of Klinsmann's reign when Donovan, for the most part, "hasn’t been a part of that development of this team."

The U.S. coach was not focused on just Donovan's fourth-month sabbatical that kept him out of the start of the Hexagonal but the 21 months of Klinsmann's reign when Donovan, for the most part, "hasn’t been a part of that development of this team."

Donovan has fallen behind other players in the U.S. squad, according to Klinsmann.

“I am not tossing out names, but there are players clearly ahead of Landon Donovan in how we see things,” he said. “Again, things will develop over time. We see now how he will do in the next couple of weeks, months, and we’ll look at the entire picture and make our calls.”

Klinsmann said he had "no problem" with Donovan's decision to take time off, but he reiterated that it was "his choice" to take time off and -- emphasizing how important "chemistry" was to the team -- said other players were "1,000 percent committed to the cause."

Klinsmann watched Donovan on Saturday as he scored one goal and set up another in the LA Galaxy's 2-0 win over Sporting Kansas City, but he admitted in his opening remarks that Donovan was "catching up and trying his best."



18 comments
  1. Bill Anderson
    commented on: April 25, 2013 at 8:03 a.m.
    Well played Herr Klinsmann...

  1. haroldito a
    commented on: April 25, 2013 at 8:08 a.m.
    Really!? Even at 1/2 of his capacity, Landon is better and smarter than most of the players in the USA squad, specially all the error prone, card happy German-American players

  1. F. Kirk Malloy
    commented on: April 25, 2013 at 8:29 a.m.
    Klinsmann is doing what any coach would do...you can't have a player take time off - for whatever reason - and then march back into his old slot without having to re-prove himself. With that said, quality is quality, and Landon's is rare this side of the pond, so after some public spanking he'll be back. Because coaches do what coaches do.

  1. Gus Keri
    commented on: April 25, 2013 at 8:34 a.m.
    Klinsmann can afford to say whatever he wants now. But come June, Donovan will be in the USMNT squad. He can't afford to keep him out.

  1. Brian Kraft
    commented on: April 25, 2013 at 10:06 a.m.
    JK needs to get over himself. His team is not very good and has a very tough road ahead. There has been no development and there is no chemistry. And if commitment were an issue, Tim Chandler would NEVER represent this country. Everybody seems to know what's missing from this team. Except the coach.

  1. BJ Genovese
    commented on: April 25, 2013 at 10:21 a.m.
    Borrisia Dortmund has a us player. But US soccer and there awesome ID and scouting program (ODP) showed him the door. Now he plays at the top level. But in the end it is probably better that he did not grow up in our spoiled US development program. They are trained to be robotic. This is what Rongen said about him..."Well, Rongen certainly said some discouraging and false things about me. Never in my life have I heard that a high level coach publicly criticizes a player. Professional coaches do that one-on-one with the player. I find this disappointing, because a few months later after Rongen said I was not good enough for the U-20s, I played a very good season and started getting calls from various countries [U.S. included] for the full men's team. I still don't know what he saw in the other players, and what he didn't see in me." You must have had to much technical ability and who knows... maybe your slot came up against a another player who had some GOOD OLE BOY matters of circumstances...

  1. BJ Genovese
    commented on: April 25, 2013 at 10:21 a.m.
    By the way... the players name is Neven Subotic.

  1. Alexander Lozano
    commented on: April 25, 2013 at 10:45 a.m.
    I do understand JK's feelings about "team chemistry" & how important it is for players to "commit" to the national team but, if Donovan gives the USMNT a better chance to win, compared to other JK selections...which IMO is a given...I feel that JK should do what's best for the USMNT, instead of holding some "personal vendetta" against the greatest American-born player ever!!

  1. Alexander Lozano
    commented on: April 25, 2013 at 10:47 a.m.
    And, as a final thought, my post doesn't mean that Donovan is "entitled" to a roster spot...he must EARN it! Just saying that if he's in-form & fully fit, can't see ANY questions about his inclusion in the team!!

  1. Eric Schmitt
    commented on: April 25, 2013 at 11:27 a.m.
    I don't think Klinsmann has a "vendetta" against Lando. He's trying to build a team, and its hard to evaluate where a guy fits into your team when he's not playing. LD has had a tough stretch the last 9 months. Between injuries and his sabbatical he hasn't played much. That makes it tough on a coach to evaluate a player, regardless of who that coach is. I think once LD is back in form, he'll be back in the team.

  1. John Soares
    commented on: April 25, 2013 at 12:01 p.m.
    Donovan is not "entitled" to a roster spot on the USMNT. BUT, don't be surprised if JK makes it personal.

  1. Mike in SoCal
    commented on: April 25, 2013 at 12:14 p.m.
    Players cannot dictate their own fates and Klinsmann would look weak if he allowed Landon to simply walk right back onto the USMNT roster. So he's simply doing what he's gotta do and demonstrating to all players that rosters slots are earned based on performance and form, not given out. He's also showing the importance of building group cohesion and regularly being a part of the national team. That being said the US offense has been anemic over the past few games, even an 80% LD would help things. Klinsy also should take into account that since the age of 17 Landon has given everything to US Soccer and although JK has only been here for the past year plus, which unfortunately dovetailed with Landon's burnout period, now that he's refreshed he'll be in good form come 2014 WC. He also has played with most of these guys before so they're already familiar with him, no problem there. He simply has to be a part of things because when he's on his game Landon brings an offensive ability and creativity no other US player currently possesses. Simply, he makes us better and improves all players around him.

  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: April 25, 2013 at 12:54 p.m.
    As much as I would like to comment on other posts regarding this article, more important is that everyone realize that with Donovan's "sabattical" he allowed someone else all the cards to control his destiny! Klinns doesn't need to worry about justifying not including Donovan because of it. The "time-off" drama, was poorly handled, bottom line. When he does receive the return call-up, and we all know that will happen, is there the potential that it will have a negative effect among the team's psyche? It shouldn't given what a few veterans have said publicly. But, are we to believe what is said publicly, or is that just what the players feel they should say about the situation? Yes, I want him to be included, but I also want outside mids who take on defenders 1 v 1, and look to shoot regularly! He kinda' gave that up post SA 2010....

  1. Allan Lindh
    commented on: April 25, 2013 at 1:49 p.m.
    Having watched USMNT under JK, his comments strike me as absurd. Landon is still a cut above anyone else we have, on or off the ball. If Klinsman's ego can't get by this situation pronto, then he should be replaced. When he states that "his" players have made such great progress under him, exactly who is he referring to? Does he think we don't watch the games?

  1. Bret Newman
    commented on: April 25, 2013 at 3:47 p.m.
    Klinsi is just to saying this, so he doesn't give Landi cakes special treatment in front of the players. He really likes Donovan a lot. Why else did he stick his neck out for him, and bring him to Bayern Munich, when it was a big risk, and management didn't approve of it. Klinsi is just trying to make a point, that he's just not going to let you play, because who you are, but at the end of they day, he wants Donovan on the team in the worse way.

  1. David Mozeshtam
    commented on: April 25, 2013 at 4:07 p.m.
    Probably, from Klinsmann’s point of view, the main problem with Donovan is that he might actually pass the ball forward when in the opponent’s half. That, judging by the national team’s play over the last few matches, is frowned upon by the coaching staff. When Klinsmann says that “there are players clearly ahead of Landon Donovan in how we see things” it must speak volumes about how he sees things. Because clearly this US team, as evidenced by the grand total of 3 shots on goal in the 3 hex games, has no offense and creativity to speak of. The team can’t possibly, regardless of Donovan’s current form, have “players clearly ahead” of him.

  1. Raveen Rama
    commented on: April 25, 2013 at 4:33 p.m.
    Yes, it does take skill and a cool head to put the ball into an open net in a game! Judging by his recent performances with Galaxy, I think Donovan has already earned the right to be included in the US team.

  1. David Mozeshtam
    commented on: April 25, 2013 at 4:40 p.m.
    Let me see. Timothy Chandler took a sabbatical from the US team to "find his national identity." As soon as he found it, Klinsmann welcomed him back with open arms with no publicly asked questions and conditions. So, I guess during his absence, Chandler remained "a part of the development of this team". There were no players "clearly ahead" of Chandler and he apparently remained, in spite of his absence, "1,000 percent committed to the cause".


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