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The nonsense behind Klinsmann dumping Donovan
by Mike Woitalla, May 25th, 2014 3:17AM

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TAGS:  men's national team, world cup 2014

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By Mike Woitalla

Jurgen Klinsmann must achieve a lot for American soccer before he even comes close to Landon Donovan’s contributions.

And whether Klinsmann can be credited for furthering the progress of the U.S. national team is a judgment that can truly be made only after we see the USA’s results at this summer’s World Cup.

One thing we already know is, thanks to Klinsmann, we must look forward to a team with Jermaine Jones and without Donovan. The German coach has embraced a player infamous for being described in Germany, where he had spent his entire career, as the league’s “nastiest player.” And Klinsmann has discarded the player who has done more than any other for American soccer.

Obviously, Jones and Donovan weren’t competing against each other for a roster spot. They play different positions. But the comparison between how Klinsmann has treated the two is worth reviewing.

When Jones was suspended for two months in Germany for a cheap-shot stomping on the foot of Marco Reus in a German Cup game, Klinsmann welcomed Jones into camp and made him captain.

When Donovan took a few months off from soccer for a well-deserved break, he was sent to the doghouse.

Donovan has served the U.S. national team program since he was 15. Besides all the training camps, friendlies and qualifying tournaments, he has played in three World Cups, six Gold Cups, the Confederations Cup, the Olympics, the U-20 World Cup and the U-17 World Cup.

This while becoming the USA’s all-time leading scorer and assist maker. And winning five MLS titles. And spending four MLS offseasons with European clubs.

How is it unreasonable for Donovan to take a vacation?

Still, Donovan fought his way back into the team. He scored and assisted in the win over Mexico that qualified the USA for the World Cup. He was the leading scorer and MVP of the 2013 Gold Cup -- Klinsmann’s first title with the USA. And yet Klinsmann kept questioning Donovan’s value.

But Jones could do no wrong in Klinsmann’s eyes. He praised Jones even after the Costa Rica snow game in which Jones should have been red-carded for throwing a vicious elbow. Jones’ violent play Klinsmann constantly defended with euphemisms. While Jones’ club career floundered in Europe, Klinsmann said Jones was part of the USA’s “spine.”

Donovan takes a break or has a dip in form with the Galaxy and it threatens his national team career. Jones gets dumped by Schalke 04 and gets Klinsmann’s backing.

Klinsmann cuts Donovan but selects Julian Green, another German product, even though Green has played only three minutes of competitive top tier soccer.

I believe Green may be the most likely of all the German recruits to deliver something special to the U.S. team. But going down the list of the 23 players there is no denying that there was room for Donovan without dropping a better bet to improve the USA’s prospects in Brazil.

Even if the 32-year-old Donovan has not played his best during this MLS season, he is still one of the few American players we know has the potential to create the magic that can turn a game in his team’s favor.

Yet Klinsmann, who has cut slack for Jones and other players, says he dumped Donovan because others “were a tiny little bit ahead of him" during a training camp.

It would make more than a tiny little bit of sense for Klinsmann to have more faith in USA’s greatest player ever.


66 comments
  1. Kent James
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 9 a.m.
    Great column. I've never understood JK's attachment to Jones, nor his lack of respect for Donovan, and looking at the two at once makes the idea that there is something wrong here even more compelling. I understand that as a German, JK will have access to players there with American roots, but it does seem that many of the players he's brought in while solid, are not significantly better than what we grow in the US (I'm hoping Green's an exception); it almost seems as if he doesn't trust the American mentality, and is trying to create a German soccer culture. I think this is a mistake. The US needs to be a blend of cultures, especially given the large Hispanic population we have (and how their approach to the game is the polar opposite of the German approach). We will never "out-German" the Germans, we need to create our own path.

  1. Roland Barral
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 9:52 a.m.
    Indeed Kent: We need to creat our own path, but Klinsmann does not know how to do that. Clearly, the disrespectful casting aside of our American soccer hero is not the way to help take US soccer to the next level. The soccer youth in America would rather have a good showing in the World Cup with their heros (with Landon being one of he leaders) than to have an exceptional World Cup with unknown foreigners who do not even speak English and show indifference to our National Anthem. Klinsmann has not clue about the American mentality and long-term he is damaging our soccer program. Time for Gulati to step in save us from Klinsmann's follies.

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 10:21 a.m.
    I basically agree with Mike on this one. But I think we do need Jones (sadly) and Donovan. I am also OK with some of the younger players going for the experience. But I'm not sure what contributions will come from other "bench" players going in his place.

  1. Lauren Montgomery
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 10:43 a.m.
    Agree completely, Mike. Another point I'd like to make is this: Although it's not Klinsmann's job to create enthusiasm in the US fan base for USMNT and The World Cup (although hopefully that's a byproduct of what he IS supposed to do), the fact is that a huge number of fans relate to and are excited about the USMNT/World Cup because they are eager to see players like Donovan who have been around a long time and have done so much for American soccer. I'll go so far as to say there's a huge number of fans who would have been much more likely to follow and support our team at the World Cup had Donovan been part of it. In my view, that counts for something.

  1. Roland Barral
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 11:14 a.m.
    So true Lauren - Klinsmann is simply not doing his job. There is an intangible importance to generating enthusiasm and support. Any ooach can shop around for players, but building camaraderie requires something more and Klinsmann is not doing what is required. Klinsmann is trying to take the easy way out. The loss of Donovan's spirit on the team cannot be measured. There are too many Klinsmann additions that are alien to fans of the USMNT. It is simply not quite the same. Whatever the team accomplished in Brazil, it will seem quite hollow to US fans.

  1. Nalin Carney
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 11:27 a.m.
    WELL SAID: I wish the team all the best!!!!but it is not only sad that Landon will not be there....I think Jurgen made a big mistake, by leaving him home. I also understand the aggressive,ego-driven, selfish strikers and do appreciate their work ethic. But Landon was never that...he is good, and very creative, and some times fortunate to see the ball go in the net. MAGICIAN is how I would describe him. Humility...which is rearely found in any athletic endeavor...Joe DiMaggio (the yankee clipper) is one that comes to mind. Yes I would put Landon in that class of player. Nalin

  1. Peter Mullany
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 11:27 a.m.
    I find the casting off of LD so disturbing that I'm actually doing my first blog/rant. Really seems like a 'statement thing' by JK and could almost see it coming. LD is the one guy with actual and proven skills, guile, experience, speed; even at 32 there surely must be enough in the tank to be on this team. Dempsey and Altiidore had spells of bad form in the past year, but they're still going. What's with the German guys? Jones....is this the type of player we're supposed to turn to our kid and say " watch the way he hacks so well". LD has the special qualities to make a pass/run/shot and provide more threat. What does it say to aspiring Americans who train hard and play well for years only to lose a spot at the last minute to someone from the JK German pipeline who no less have barely even played top tier soccer! Green might be eventually real deal but LD gets cut for him?! Is that visionary development program ? Will we see ever ethnic (Hispanic etc) development or just more of mostly second-tier German recruits going forward? LD is the face and been the hero of US soccer and he got a condescending punch to the gut, and so did American fans in a way. There's no way LD is worse than the others, and he has valuable intangibles ( ala Derek Jeter, to make a parallel in another sport).

  1. Tim Gibson
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 11:37 a.m.
    UGH!...Sorry, I gotta rant now....Landon does not play with balls anymore, get over it everyone. I back the Coach %100 here. LD got soft, works the refs too much & also likes to dive when we need guys willing - wanting to go 1:1 against bigger, better & a stronger opposition. Sure, he can set up nice 1-2's & sends some sweet balls on gifted passes still. We don't need that now, we need all our guys willing to give %150, go into the tough spots, get wacked, play hurt & intimidate others. Can LD do that? LD used to intimidate with his ability to blow thru the "D" & beat the goalie. He can't do that anymore, he's TOO OLD & "Used To" doesn't cut it for the World Cup. This ain't the MLS playoffs people, this is war. The opposition is willing to die to hoist the Cup. When was the last time LD went 1:1 with the "D", split 2 guys twice his size taking a stiff arm to the face & crashed the goalie to try to score? I'm sorry, he's too soft now & stopped trying to take on the "D" 1:1 & instead he now chooses to pass - let others do the dirty work. Think back to 2006, remember when we got shocked by the Czech Republic & Jan Koller had his way with us? We were too wimpy, they ate us alive. Jump ahead to 2010 Vs Ghana where they continually bumped us off the ball & sucked the life out of out mids = we were too soft. So,is Jermaine better than than LD?....No, but he plays a role that we lack when the next Jan Koller tries to run amok, take our dreams away & our sentimental heroes don't have the knutz to go toe-2-toe or die trying. Let go of LD, he WAS our best player & did us right for many years. It's time to move on. Lastly, let's be real now in that we have a snow balls chance of going far (but anything is poss.)in this Tourney. Our Coach knows that & is looking ahead to 2018 as well as giving us a shot for this Cup. So getting our young team in there & empowering them to do what it takes, get in the tough places & seeing warriors like Jermaine take a thumping for the team has more value than seeing a sweet pass from someone that is too afraid to do it anymore. It's time to accept Klinsi's decision - it's over & back this team - forget the drama because they need us behind them - believing. GO USA!

  1. Tom G
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 11:39 a.m.
    Come-on man! You can do better than this! First the comparison is off the mark w/ Jones and sorry to say i feel it is irrelevant to cutting LD. Second seems silly to say that we will know if the decision is sensible based on result because we have nothing to compare it to! Third my opinion, sadly LD, a legend certainly, has lost the skill, lacks the intensity and is not playing very well even for his club. I am sad but coach made a difficult but right decision.

  1. Kevin Sims
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 11:44 a.m.
    Interesting column ... agree with much said here ... LD off squad is PR problem, but JK knows biggest PR boost will come from performance ... discrepancy between LD & JJ treatment does raise the eyebrows ... I can not argue LD's game has diminished, but chose to believe the wily veteran would muster clutch performances as has been his history ... maybe it still might happen ... the German bias seems clear

  1. Tom G
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 11:49 a.m.
    Good points Tim, I revisited LD of old via utube, seeing him in WS say 2002 vs Germany vs today confirms your assessment that he is way, way off his form. Sadly WC is a younger folks games ex. keepers.

  1. Chris Morris
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 12:09 p.m.
    Landon Donovan of 2014 can be evaluated in two ways: against the Landon Donovan of the past, or against the other attacking players who were chosen over him for this World Cup, such as Brad Davis and Chris Wondolowski. As has been well stated here, Donovan is not now the player he once was. But is that in itself a sufficient reason to exclude him? A player competes with other players to be chosen, not with his historical self. Andrea Pirlo has been selected for Italy at the age of 35. This does not mean the coach believes Pirlo is just as good now as he was at 28 or 32, only that he sees him as a better choice than other players.

  1. Wilson Cartagena
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 12:11 p.m.
    I totally agree with this report I want to refrain from using curses and obscene vocabulary that would indicate where Klinsmann belongs and what he should do to himself if it was possible but this is the worst decision ever made by a stupid, dumb, selfless, German mindless person involved in the soccer world. He has no place to be part of US SOCCER this event I would consider like a traitor to the USMNT in leaving out L Donovan . I can't believe no response has come out of the big shots in US SOCCER ??? Are they satisfied with this decision????does US SOCCER approve of this decision??? the worst ever of all time!!!!! How can you replace or go with a young man who practically defecated and urinated in his pants when he played for 10 minutes against Mexico , he could not handle the scene , the crowd !!!! instead of taking the best all time soccer player in the United States. That shows very ,very poor deficient crazy, sick judgement on the part of Klinsmann.

  1. Salvador Morote
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 12:27 p.m.
    Mike Woitalla, I agree with you this one time.... adding, “where is Sunil Gulatti in all this? I know that JK is the head coach and etc., but SG is his boss, his employer, the head of USSF and etc., and as it is the case with all federations, whether he admits it or not, he has the power to approve AND to vetoe any coach's additions and cuts to a final roster. So, Sunil Gulatti--the guy in charge of protecting US soccer, its history, traditions and emblems that feed the development of generations to come--left unprotected not only LD “the emblem", or US soccer, but allowed an unnecessary controversy at the doors of a WC . Lastly, because of his EXPERIENCE, his SOCCER PERSONA, his legendary presence, and because of his game.... even at 32, LD's 75% is better than many if those guys 100%. Perhaps I should say LD's 99.9999% is better than many of those guys 100% since, according to JK, LD only “is a step behind"... and Sunil Gulatti agrees!

  1. Tim Gibson
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 12:45 p.m.
    Hmmmm? ....I'm listening, but I still don't grasp any argument to justify him as 1 of the 23 guys I'd want going to battle for our country at this time. When you look at all the reasons being stated in LD's defense, all I can think of is Klinsi maybe shoulda added LD as an assistant coach so he can still be there to encourage the troops? The thought of having him there only to come off the bench or start with the plan of subbing him out doesn't work for the World Cup. Here's another man's opinion that I feel is well stated(below). I don't want any of my Majors, Lieutenants or Sergeants dogging it when fighting on the front lines - wearing our colors. http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/john_smallwood/20140525_Donovan_sealed_his_own_fate_in_being_cut_from_U_S__soccer.html

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 12:49 p.m.
    At the end of the day, whatever LD contributed in the past is history; I judge him on performance and consistency; when LD showed up, he did wonderful things, when he didn't show up, he was MIA; the latter was too often, the former, not often enough. Current opinions on his being left off the WC squad are endless speculations and wishful rhetoric.

  1. Claudio Garcia chamorro
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 12:55 p.m.
    Basically ..... If LD was German he would be on the team ! Where is Gulati on all this? He is the one that extended JK contract - WITHOUT a real measurement of accomplishment in a WC NOT every ex-player is a good coach !

  1. Valerie Metzler
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 1:09 p.m.
    I agree with Tim Gibson. And, whether or not a player loves our national anthem holds no weight with me. Frankly, I like a lot of other country's national anthems a lot better than ours. But, let's not get off track here. Also, soccer in the USA is on a strong upward trajectory of popularity. There are other household names on the team that fair-weather fans can latch on to. Go USA!

  1. Salvador Morote
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 1:20 p.m.
    JK was a complete flop with the German national team and with Bayern Munich..... as detailed by captain Plhilipp Lahm's and Bayern Munich's president's assessments of his performance. Their description of him as a coach is painful to read. The USMNT under JK has shown no progress. Nothing new, different nor better than his predecessor..... in terms of a style of play, a philosophy of play, general team-tactics, small-units tactics, functional-play tactics and strategy, inter-lines tactics and strategy, dynamism, improved moving as a block, off-the-ball movement etc, etc, etc. With or without LD, he cannot recognize that it will take a100+ years of soccer history and experience (of soccer development and competition without the elderly that the MLS continues to bring from everywhere) to develop the US based player capable of getting out of their group during this WC. So, it's not about tuis WC, or about LD.... it is about KNIWLEDGE of what is needed in the US to build a history that will lead to the development of footballers and a soccer mentality..... according to the US's history and cultural ways, not according to JK's personal issues, or Gulati's (and certain fans's) grandiose fantasies and expectations.

  1. Jim B
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 1:30 p.m.
    I tend to agree with this article. If we had other stud outside mids i would be fine with the decision but we don't. If green or davis come on late and save us then Klinsmann chose correctly. I would rather go without john brooks than LD. If a centerback goes down use G. Cameron there.

  1. Pat Sharp
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 1:33 p.m.
    I have supported JK all this time, but I am done with that. We tolerate him b/c he is the coach for the time being, but we are basically stuck with him now. Typical arrogant German. You are right, Claudio, if LD was German, he would be on the team. I bet the coaches of Ghana, Portugal, and Germany are laughing, their job has been made just a bit easier by not having to face LD

  1. Hugh Goodridge
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 2:15 p.m.
    Jk's job is to select the best team capable of playing with the skill, intensity and determination required to get us out of the group stages. We didn't hire him to pick a team that will pelase people that won't play one minute during the comeptition. Maybe that's what previuos coaches did and that's why we have not been consistent in advancing past the group stages and posing a serious threat to get into the semi-finals. None of us are/were watching these players day in day out while they were training and comepting. None of us have a good feel for the camraderie that exists amongsts the teammates. We finally have someone at the helm that has successfully played at the highest level and has actually won the World Cup. So let's stop complaining and get behind the coach and the team regardless of whether our favorite player or a member of the old guard is on the team.

  1. Andrew Bilinski
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 2:40 p.m.
    Who woulda thunk it: Coach Klinnsman is a gambler. But, if he and his fair haired boys don't get into the quarter finals, then he can kiss that 2018 contract good-bye. US soccer is not going to stick with a coach who plays machismo games on the eve of the Cup. what is really surprising is that Klinnsman must feels so threatened by Donovan in terms of who runs the team.

  1. Noel Soloman
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 3:02 p.m.
    Has Donovan ever disrespected Klinsmann? Maybe, we should ask Jurgen's wife! In due time, we will all have knowledge about what really went down. This is appears beyond soccer.

  1. charles davenport
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 3:21 p.m.
    JK wasn't happy with where Donovan was mentally; the training and playing conditions in Brazil will be brutal, and LD admitted he can't train as hard as he used to; a message being sent to the rest of the team? LD on the bench would be a distraction.

  1. charles davenport
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 3:22 p.m.
    How many coaches sabotaged their teams' Chances with allegiance to over the hill players? more than a few.

  1. Lou vulovich
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 3:30 p.m.
    While Donovan has been a great play for the U.S., his questionable decision to take a sabbatical during qualifying, not to mention his form lately, gave Klinsmann cause to leave him off the squad. He wouldn't start in place of Dempsey or Altidore, who are superior assets on the attack, and his strength doesn't lie in defending on the wings. I love Donovan, but a great player like him - if he isn't in the first 11 - is too much of a distraction to take as a sub, given the stir-up he'll cause when half the squad wants him starting. The U.S. is in what is unquestionably the most difficult group in the World Cup. To have a small chance to advance, they'll need to claw and fight their way to one win and one draw (probably the best they can hope for) - Donovan doesn't suit that style. As far as the young German Americans on the squad are concerned, what's the argument for Klinsmann leaving them off the squad? All the (read: nonexistent) young Americans tearing up the MLS who should've been brought in their stead? The discussion should be focused on the failure of the U.S. youth system and the MLS to produce any great players after the U15 age group, rather than worrying about Klinsmann importing Germans. With the exception of Diego Fagundez (Uruguay) there are no great young Americans in the pipeline. In a league where there is no relegation, what's the risk of playing young players? Even the reserve teams are made up chiefly of 24-25 year olds...that sort of practice clearly doesn't benefit the young guys. According to Mike Wotilla, when we have a soccer equivalent of Lebron James playing, the U.S. will be great. I say: don't blame Klinsmann or any other national team coaches in the last 20 years - they have all overachieved. Blame the youth system and the MLS for their failure to identify young talent and put those kids on the field. How many Lebron James's does Spain have again?

  1. Tim Gibson
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 3:31 p.m.
    Let me add 1 last rant.Many of the members our team came to us under Bradley/Arena's support programs & scouting as prospects, JK inherited most(not all). He gave opportunities to MANY more than any previous programs which is saying a lot right there. Additionally, he reached out to others prospects who had the loophole qualifications of dual citizenship when his predecessors never did enough in similar attempts. I.E. imagine if Giuseppe Rossi who went to High School in Clifton N.J. chose to play for USA instead of Italy? Who doesn't like that Aron Johannsson chose us instead of playing for Iceland? This is done widely across other nations - Miroslav Klose born in Poland and a German hero comes to mind(Would you wanna play for Poland?).Look at the massive improvements JK added at the U-20 & U-18 teams adding Tab Ramos to do what he does. Some have mentioned JK overlooked Hispanics which I do not feel is a fair statement. He had to choose from the legacy players from the programs that preceded him. Look to the current rosters of the U-20's - 18's & you'll see that is true with the Latino influence in the names representing Red, White & Blue in the future. Don't forget that JK has to fit all the pieces together & not just pick the best 23 for their skills. Because of the way many of our guys are spread all over the world in leagues other than MLS now leaves him with little time to nurture this thing. Not an easy task compared to a Germany Or Portugal w/homegrown leagues to allow them all to gel as a team & leave their egos @ the door. He has to consider personalities as well (LD's can be a distraction). Who's gonna peak during this short tourney at the right time. Who's healthy & who's got baggage. Who's capable of switching positions should a mates injuries keep them out. Who's best for the left Vs right side or who makes others around them better. He has to make a team & not a group of "the best skilled" & I feel he has done that. I also feel that 2018 will be the tell all of what Klinsi has brought to our program cuz it needed change and a lot of it. The statements pointing to his German heritage are just plain prejudice & shameful, America is better than that. He's not perfect, but he has brought more passion than anyone previously. Has provided a competitive opportunity to all invited & gave everyone equal opportunity so THEIR SKILLS are presented fairly - leaving it up to them to show what they have & take advantage of their time on the squad. Has set the entire program (U-18's, U-20's) up so it's communicating the same methods, training & direction for the future...can Bruce Arena or Bob Bradley say the same? Let's not forget he's been given a lengthy contract by Sulil to allow him the time for all of this to play out and as I said before "with a snowballs chance of going far this year". Let's support our program as best we can, get behind our guys & let HIM & team represent now as they all have earned it. GO USA!

  1. Alexander Lozano
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 4:08 p.m.
    Great article, Mike...and 110% on the mark! Even with a successful WC in Brazil, Klinsmann's legacy will forever be tarnished because of this decision, which was obviously personal & not performance-related!

  1. Salvador Morote
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 4:52 p.m.
    Say what you must in these comments.... we agree on this and disagree on that.... for this or for that reason. We'll all take a stance based on this or on that... regardless of whether we have or not a history in soccer and it's different levels, regardless of our breath and depth of knowledge and experience--or lack of it, as individuals who have lived--or not--in soccer and from soccer day in and day out. However, there is one FACT beyond conjectures and ideologies.... JK's son's reaction and comment on his Tweeter account (since deleted). JK's son--a HS junior and a member of one of the USYSA/USSF youth national teams/programs--mocked and laughed at LD and his dismissal from the final 23 roster. Why would he do that? What has the younger Klinsmann heard from his father (JK) that led him to mock, ridicule and laugh at LD? Why is it that JK's son feels compelled to not only side with his father's decision but to also attack and ridicule LD publicly? This simple fact suggests a personal something against LD is playing a role in all this... not only from JK but from his family as well with the latter represented by JK's son. Why would otherwise the younger Klinsmann needed to carry out such a “victorious" chant?

  1. R2 Dad
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 7:52 p.m.
    The entire Donovan saga says so much more about our culture and values than it does about Klinsmann’s contribution to the USMNT. Reading all these comments about how dropping Donovan is illegal/immoral/fattening and offensive to our values as a 2nd rate soccer nation would be amusing if there weren’t so many of these misguided but well-intentioned fans from the top of the soccer food chain to bottom. Is the World Cup purely entertainment or are we actually trying to win the thing? We as a soccer nation still have so far to go. Kent – You’re right, he doesn’t trust the American mentality, because our players have a low soccer IQ. Top academy programs in Europe have players that develop a sharp soccer brain. We don’t have that in the US, our players don’t exhibit it, and unless they get to European clubs at a young age, will never truly develop it. Roland – your romanticization of Donovan is patriotic but you are blind to the cutthroat nature of the sport and what is needed to excel at the highest levels. The fact that you are identifying USMNT players as “unknown foreigners” and “alien” is xenophobic. I thought we had moved beyond that sort of characterization but Spain and Italy don’t seem to be the only countries still battling the darker impulses of human nature. BTW, John Madden said “winning’s the great deodorant” and I tend to agree. If we can manage to get out of the group stage no one will care that LD wasn’t there. Lauren – I too love everything that LD has done for our country and this sport, but time is a thief. In the same way that we do not notice our kids growing older day by day, we do not compare Donovan’s performance now to what it once was. I believe Donovan’s dismissal was handled disrespectfully, but the decision was sound. Peter – Jones is an enforcer. He’s grumpy, and I’m thrilled he’s on our team protecting 5’7” Julian Green. I don’t know if you recall, but we certainly could have used a Jones in 1994 when Leonardo hospitalized Ramos (our most creative player). Yes, those Brazilians will do anything to win and perhaps we should remember that assault every time we line up against them. It appears that having an enforcer on the pitch offends many of your delicate sensibilities and sense of fair play. This isn’t youth soccer. Perhaps you can explain to your kids how Tab Ramos spent 3 weeks in the hospital because Brazil failed to play nicely.

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 7:53 p.m.
    I apologize for being the wet blanket at this love-fest but I'm afraid that someone needs to interject a bit of rationality into this hysteria, national hysteria at that. That fact alone should raise suspicions about the validity of the reactions. Such major soccer promoters as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, NPR, and Sports Illustrated have thrown the weight of their soccer expertise into the fray. Not surprising since the only US player they have any knowledge of is LD. Even the soccer blogs have been inundated with comments from contributors whose last probable encounter with soccer was 2010. Based on the thoughts of these experts it's obvious that JK should step down!?? Let's look at the facts(not my facts). LD is an aging player who has admitted that his stamina is limited. His recent performance in MLS is generally considered poor. He has chosen to take a "sabbatical" at the very time that his coach has been preaching the virtues of "professionalism" to a new generation. His history is one of preferring the benefits of "home cooking" to the daily rigors of the professional international career. Again, LD stands out in contrast to the professionalism JK is trying to instill. As counterweight to the above is the stature of LD in the media and amongst fans, even though many, if not a national majority are WC fans, not soccer fans. In his national team and league play he has stood out for over 10 years. Even now, he has the ability to show flashes of old brilliance. So we have an aging star, beloved by the fans who represents the AYSO professional mentality that the coach is trying deliberately to overturn.(An inadvertently funny comment by Stefan Fatsis of NPR refers to the fact that LD may have been the victim of German professionalism. Hmmmm, wonder how that differs from professionalism in Spain, France, England, or the US). What is a coach to do? In JK's case, he has put together the best team he can, as long as it doesn't conflict with his overriding objectives. Maybe, an enterprising soccer analyst might take the time to probe the intentions and objectives of the coach to determine whether the situation he is facing is different from other coaches and from other countries. Just maybe this coach and his bosses have gone on record as saying that the US needs to change its soccer culture dramatically. These changes might mean divorcing the current AYSO mentality from a new regime of true professionalism. Instead of encouraging and promoting tabloid conspiracies based on personality issues, it might be nice if the soccer media actually raised their own professionalism a notch.

  1. Ginger Peeler
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 8:17 p.m.
    I had my doubts about Klinsman until we won 10 games in a row using a lot of different players; when we didn't start almost every game a goal down, when we came from behind and won some games! We were starting to play soccer that was fun to watch (it's almost always fun when you're winning). After Bob Bradley brought Freddy Adu in when Jozie was hurt, and Freddy played lights out, I figured Klinsman would have to bring him in. I don't think it ever happened. When Klinsman took over the coaching reins, I looked forward to seeing the dynamic duo, Donovan and Dempsey playing on the field together. But fate was against them as one and then the other was injured or unable to join the teams for some reason. I did finally see them play together recently and they did nothing special at all. I'm disappointed they won't be making that connection in Brazil. I'm disappointed that Joe Corona didn't make the final cut, but I knew he was on the bubble. I have seen Jermaine Jones play one excellent game for the U.S. He kept his play clean and did very well for us until he went off the field with a possible concussion. I once had the privilege of watching two young guys having fun on the soccer field during the World Cup...Donovan and Beasley. Coach Arena called Beasley "Gumby" because he'd fall and bounce right back up. Now we've got some more young players. May they enjoy the game and play to the best of their abilities as those two young guys did before them. We have (and have had) very little chance of getting past the Group of Death. Yet, Klinsman has surprised me with his successes. He sees things we don't see. While I may mourn the absence of Freddy, Landon and Joe, I will back the chosen team with all my hopes and good wishes. And good wishes, too, to the others who didn't make the final cut. May they take pride in knowing that they are among the very best people to play for our country. And if LD plays tonight, he's going to get a long standing ovation.

  1. Ginger Peeler
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 8:36 p.m.
    And if Altidore is at all superstitious, perhaps he will play better than he has been if he acts like he's playing for the United States of America and puts his hand over his heart during our national anthem. He hasn't played very well after keeping his hands clasped firmly behind his back. Perhaps by showing that he's aware that playing for his country is an honor by facing our flag and putting his hand over his heart will change his luck and he'll score a slew of goals. Can't hurt to try!

  1. Paul Lorinczi
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 8:59 p.m.
    James Froehlich, you are spot on. Soccer development runs in 30 year cycles. We are transitioning into a new 30 year cycle. Klinsmann is bringing the professionalism and demands needed to become an elite country in the world. Like all change agents, he becomes a lighting rod in the process. The old 30 year model will not build a world cup winning team. It really is time to move on from Donovan. The team that was selected pretty much qualified without Donovan. It is now Dempsey, Brandley and Howard's team. It's time to move on and support our team.

  1. ckg beautiful game
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 9 p.m.
    I can't agree more, Where have all these German transplants been all our life? Other than Thomas Dooley I can't think of any major contribution. Jermaine is a red card in waiting, with the touch of a barn door.

  1. ckg beautiful game
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 9:37 p.m.
    The team of the old 30 year cycle beat Spain and nearly beat Brazil 3 years ago. Their is not more than 3-4 better soccer players on this current team than Donovan. This team will be lacking clearly when it comes to creativity.

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 9:53 p.m.
    Thanks for the rational analysis from Lou V, TimG and R2dad---like a breath of fresh air!

  1. Gus Keri
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 11:22 p.m.
    I agree with all the positive things written about Klinsmann's contribution to soccer in this country. But this doesn't change the fact that he made the wrong decision in regard to Donovan. Apparently, he let his personal feelings interfere with his job. there is no doubt in my mind that Klinsmann's decision was based on some kind of personal vendetta. His son made fun of Donovan elimination only. he didn't make fun of other player who were eliminated. the body language between Donovan and Klinsmann whenever they are together on the national team told the whole story of personal friction between the two. Donovan's statements since Klinsmann joined the team and the timing of Donovan's 4 months break are example of this friction. Whoever followed what was happening recognized there was a problem. I don't like the insulting remarks I read, here and other places, in regard to Klinsmann or Donovan character. But I definitely disagree with letting your personal feeling cloud your judgment affecting your work. Klinsmann should have taken Donovan because performance-wise he is much better than many of the players he took. The funny thing, Donovan proved that all what Klinsmann said about him was simply wrong. he had an MVP performance with the Galaxy tonight and broke the MLS scoring record.

  1. Gus Keri
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 11:31 p.m.
    To clear my point further, By not taking Donovan, Klinsmann destroyed all the good works he did for the USMNT program. And if the USA didn't do well in the World Cup (and I am not saying they would have done well with Donovan) because it's a difficult group, he is risking being fired because of his decision not to take Donovan. And it might prove to be a costly stupid mistake.

  1. Bruce Gowan
    commented on: May 25, 2014 at 11:33 p.m.
    LD's "greatness" is a US media fabrication. Scoring goals for a poor USMNT is not a good measure of his worth. The fact that no foreign club was ever interested in him speaks to his soccer value. His experience in the EPL showed that at best he was a role player not a feature performer. Having LD or not on this team will have no effect on the performance at this WC. Defensive back line is a serious question.

  1. Alex G. Sicre
    commented on: May 26, 2014 at 12:44 a.m.
    You are right-on Gus. Landon was primed and ready mentally to help the USMNT in whatever capacity he would have been placed. He should be one of the 23 period. He scored two goals tonight and had an assist. There will always be Landon haters for whatever reason. I am proud to be an L.A. Galaxy fan and can at least watch him at home. I'm disappointed but I will still and always root for my USMNT. Klinsmann has made a stupid mistake. Go USA.

  1. Mark Hardt
    commented on: May 26, 2014 at 7:59 a.m.
    The reasoning behind Steve Sampson, Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley was you had accomplished coaches who were American and understood Americans. The hope with Juergen Klinsman was you had an accomplished world class coach who has lived in the US and has American kids (tweet tweet). But he really does not understand Americans certainly not his own son. The worse of it is he does not trust Americans and views them with disdain and condensation. He still does not think Donovan, Dempsey and Bradley are any good. So went to what he knows and that is finding any German or Icelander with any connection to America via birth (Green) or a father (the rest). So he favors mediocre players with any amount of Bundesliga experience over much better and more experienced MLS players. Chandler had one horrendous game against Hondorus. How many goals will he let in against Ghana? Now he may have the last laugh and I hope he does. But Julian green is no Lukas Podalski and Per Metsecker. Reference to Klinsi cleaning house in 2006.So if it is 3 and out with big scores 4-0 etc. than he needs to go and we should go back to an accomplished American coach. Maybe The Portland coach that built an empire at the University of Akron.

  1. Claudio Garcia chamorro
    commented on: May 26, 2014 at 9:40 a.m.
    JK always looking for attention - well he's got it now with leaving LD off the roster. EVERYONE knows that regardless as to what we ALL say here, if the USA team fails, they will blame him for not bringing LD to the WC. Maybe JK should have looked at "old timers' like Kaka, Eto', Lampard, J Terry have contributed to their respective teams this past season ........ Another observation of mine, and I don't see NO ONE on this blog make comments ...... What does it say about JK bringing all these "New Americans" natives from Germany ? He does NOT trust bona fide born American platers - therefore he must go to his homeland to recruit german borns players ???? He failed badly in Germany as a coach - I'll take Donovan any day under currents conditions over many fake American imports ...... its the WC ..... and if you have played the game ........ yo know you'll give it all in the WC ....... JK ...... you simply F...... up ...... your ego and pride is displayed ALL OVER !

  1. Kent James
    commented on: May 26, 2014 at 11:09 a.m.
    Gus, you nailed it. JK has done a lot of good things for the US, and while I liked Bob Bradley, when JK replaced him, I thought this might be just what the US needed. I guy with WC experience, willing to think outside the box (his use of American fitness gurus being one of the reasons some Germans didn't like him). But I feel like his decision to drop LD is a lack of professionalism on his part, not Donovan's. Donovan's sabbatical was certainly unusual, but LDs been playing at the highest level (with the weight of being the best US player) for an incredibly long time, and he also played year round for many years (because of the MLS summer schedule, loan spells with the EPL, USMNT commitments, etc.). He needed to recharge, and it worked. He didn't complain that JK treated him like a newcomer when he returned, LD worked hard and earned his way back on the team. He acted like the professional he is. The only thing I can think LD may have done wrong is been honest about the toll age takes on his body, and about his mental insecurities. But these things are true for any aging athlete, it's just unusual for a player to be honest about them. But even if he's not the player he was, he can clearly produce, and his ability to operate under pressure is an important characteristic to have at the WC. His performance for LA last night (2 goals and an assist) demonstrates both that his "lack of form" was not a loss of ability, and that he still has that competitive fire critics say is absent. But maybe I'm underestimating JK; maybe he truly is the zen master, and this distraction was all to demonstrate that the US is a true soccer power because we now have a selection controversy, and one of the lesser players will feign an injury so that JK can implement his prearranged plan to recall LD, who will then come in for the last 15 mins in our game against Germany, and score the goal that gets us out of the group of death...you know, generate the kind of excitement that is reminiscent of the time LD scored the winning goal in extra time against Algeria...

  1. Gus Keri
    commented on: May 26, 2014 at noon
    Kent, I agree with most of what you said. In regard to the sabbatical Donovan had, I recognize that he was exhausted after many years of non-stop playing. I have been following him since his arrival at the national scene as a teenager. But there is no doubt in my mind that his personal friction with Klinsmann played major role in taking this sabbatical. This is a player who always gave every thing he has to the USMNT; and to find himself in a position where he has to prove himself time and again because of personal issue with his coach was burdening to his psyche. His sabbatical should've been a "call for help" --as they put it in psychology -- to US soccer to recognize that something was wrong in this relationship. It has never happened in the past, and I have been following international soccer all my life, that someone in Donovan stature leaves soccer all together in this manner. If I were Sunil Gulati, I would've scheduled some kind of "couple therapy" for both Donovan and Klinsmann to resolve whatever unresolved issues they had from their time together during the ill-fated Bayern Munich period. Something similar to "marriage-counseling" could've done a lot of good to both of them and to the USMNT program.

  1. Charles Stamos
    commented on: May 26, 2014 at 12:41 p.m.
    As for what have you done lately - LD plays a perfect far post pass for an assist, his perfectly weighted pass to Keane is returned for a sitter, and with a 2nd Keane assist he makes a cut back move and puts away a left footer. Still some game left in our country's 24th best player who is being outplayed by a little bit by 23 others, LOL!

  1. Christopher Tallmadge
    commented on: May 26, 2014 at 2:15 p.m.
    Man people are flipping out over this. None of us were in the camp. None of us know a damn thing about relations between JK & LD. None of us know if LD may be a malcontent or a model citizen if the team is not built around him. One thing we do know; although a fine player he was never anywhere near being a Pirlo, Eto'o, Kaka, Gerrard or Drogba to name some other vets who will be on hand at the WC. When watching the late stages of the tournament will we be saying " USA would be in this semi if only....". No. No one shot your dog or stole your car. A person you don't know was left off of a team by another person you don't know. I think it was probably the wrong decision. I know that soccer in the USA will keep building regardless.

  1. Lou vulovich
    commented on: May 26, 2014 at 5:33 p.m.
    I think I have mentioned that I love LD as a player. My only criticisms was he was not selfish enough or perhaps he was not confident enough to be even a more dynamic.(individual). He has played 3 world cups for the US. I believe if he had the performance last week he had last night it would have been hard forJK to exclude him. I feel bad for him as well as Bra Evans who played well. Also Benny Filhaber is easily top 20 Americans. As for the 30 year cycle. I hope you are kidding. US will unfortunately go 1 2 3. And home. So no reason not to integrate young players. 30 years. Is that the US Youth Systems excuse for not developing kids. US, Russia, and China. Where are the great players. Something must be wrong. ?????water maybe

  1. Shane Watkins
    commented on: May 26, 2014 at 8:43 p.m.
    JK has done some good things. His passion and excitement is great. Getting new blood into the USMNT pool, awesome! He made a mistake leaving LD out, plain and simple. Argue all you want that LD is not his former self, no one will disagree with you! But, he is still better than a few guys that are going to Brasil. Wondo!??! What has he done lately? He has demonstrated again and again taht he cannot compete at the higest level. He will score scrappy goals in the MLS, and against Panama or El Salvador. But we are about to play in the group of death of the World Cup!!! In fact, I am positive that Wondo will not play one minute of one game this world cup. I will go on the record saying that. Yeldin, will not play one minute. Diskaru will not play one minute. Rimando will not play one minute. Seeing how in love JK is with Jones, Beckerman will probably not play one minute. Except, maybe he will because Jones will be suspended from at least one game with multiple yellow cards, that carry over into the second round. Jones is a nightmare, and I am so happy this article was published. I have been saying this for years now, that Jones is nothing but a hack! He makes risky passes in dangerous positions, and then hacks from behind when he loses the ball. I'm going to go on the record again and say that Jones will single handedly give up one goal during this tournament. You have to be pretty bad to be called the nastiest player in Germany!!! I'm sorry, one of these players could have been left home to include Donovan in the roster. All that is left now is to play the games. JK has done well up to this point. We can all disagree with the omission of LD, but we have to give him the benefit of the doubt. If a couple sitters are missed, or we just get smashed in our group, then we can all really talk smack! And all you people saying we don't have a chance, I am disappointed in you. The same things were said about us in the last three world cups. We beat Portugal in group play before. We tied England! We out played Italy for much of the game last time we played them in group play. We can get 4, 5 or 6 points out of this group! I can't wait!!!

  1. Bob Ashpole
    commented on: May 26, 2014 at 8:48 p.m.
    I have 3 points to make. 1. Assuming that Jergen Klinsmann cut Donovan because he performed poorly in camp is naive. 2. At 32 Donovan doesn't have the physical tools that he had at 26. So what. No one does. Players are expected to peak physically at age 26. Can anyone point out who of the 20 field players have demonstrated that they can slice through defenses solo as well as Donovan did when he was younger? I don't didn't notice any. Similarly can anyone tell me which of the 12 chosen midfielders and forwards are known for having blazing speed? I didn't notice any. 3. Apparently many people are misinterpreting an honest, frank comment that Donovan made in an interiew. He said that at his age he cannot train at full intensity (100%) for 12 days straight without a drop off in performance. He was exaggerating, because no one at any age can train at full intensity for 12 days straight without a drop off in performance. In fact no professional athlete or coach would have someone train 12 days straight at full intensity. It is ruinous. How so many people can construe, a professional athlete's statement of a widely accepted fact regarding training, as a lack of resolve on his part is baffling. I assume most haven't read what he actually said or else don't know some pretty basic things about athletic training.

  1. Lou vulovich
    commented on: May 26, 2014 at 10:23 p.m.
    I promise this my last comment. JK can and should reconsider adding Donavan. Still almost 3 weeks until the first game. I don't think Klinsmann is above admitting he might have made a mistake. Get the whole country behind him and the US MNT. It has been done before.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: May 27, 2014 at 10:58 a.m.
    I've seen LD in previous WCs and the MLS...when he shows up, he makes things happen; problem is that he is MIA too often, as he has been in league play until last Saturday. That's the mental toughness part of LD that probably turned coach K off. LD never measured up to K's mentality as a player, and in MHO, that expectation was a key factor in the LD-caper.

  1. Ramon Creager
    commented on: May 27, 2014 at 12:21 p.m.
    Klinsmann's stance on Donovan is clearly irrational. This must be personal. And if he can't set aside the personal to do his professional job, he must step aside. American fans have been cheated, pure and simple.

  1. Vince Leone
    commented on: May 27, 2014 at 1 p.m.
    Can't agree, Mike. Anyone who has seen LD play regularly over the past year knows that his form has dropped and become inconsistent. I think all the psychoanalysis of Klinsmann's thinking over-elaborates a simple case: he sees LD as a pure forward for the USMNT and doesn't think he currently offers enough special qualities in that regard. Given that Klinsmann was a world class forward who won a World Cup, he deserves some credibility on this call.

  1. Bruce Moorhead
    commented on: May 27, 2014 at 4:17 p.m.
    Mike: Landon has actually played six Gold Cups (02,03,05,07,11,13). Vince: What Klinsi is saying does not make sense, because Landon has been mostly a midfielder for years under Bob and Juergen. Heck, he was playing a lot of midfield in 2002! This sounds like an excuse by Klinsi to cut him.

  1. David Huff
    commented on: May 27, 2014 at 4:33 p.m.
    I was a bit surprised to see Landon left off but i think we have to wait and see what JK has put together and how it plays out in the WC. I will say that LD has a tendency to "disappear" at times with perhaps WC 2006 being the best example of this. Time will tell in this, so I'm in the wait & see category.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: May 27, 2014 at 4:57 p.m.
    Bruce G takes on the facts and analyses them; can't say that about other bloggers who tunnel vision this LD-caper. If LD had the commitment and passion of Giuseppe Rossi, this would be a moot point. I refereed a U-10 of Rossi's travel team, and that commitment and passion has not diminished one iota.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: May 27, 2014 at 9:49 p.m.
    Thanks I w for a final and lucid comment on LD. I must point out that James Froehlich's note about the "...AYSO mentality...(sic) refers to the early 1970's ayso idea/mentality "that everyone plays" at least half a game not withstanding the player's abilities, and the then so-called soccer soothsayers that prophesied that in 20 years the US would be a soccer power to be reckoned with, and ironically those folks were the very ones that touted the ayso mentality. Overall, it is extremely interesting to read the comments, and all I will say, is as a Mexican by birth, a naturalized US citizen and veteran, I wish the USMNT all the very best!

  1. Tadaia Torquemata
    commented on: May 28, 2014 at 3:06 a.m.
    I actually think that Jurgen resents the fact that Donovan is a bigger star in this country than him and gets more press. Now he's made himself the story. I don't mind Jones at all. He's put in some good work this cycle, is an experienced senior player and its nice to have a pit on the crew. I do mind some of the others. Donovan should be on the plane to Brazil no question. As to Donovan's time away... sad to say but I'm thinking Jurgen and LD's detractors would be more supportive if the pressures had reduced him to alcohol or painkiller abuse and he'd been FORCED to take a 3 month ban/rehab, rather than him having the self-awareness to take a much needed sabbatical. LD is bigger than life in our (US) world of soccer and some folks aren't satisfied unless they've seen you knocked down a peg ... especially if they get to do the "knocking" before your recovery.

  1. Paul Wright
    commented on: May 29, 2014 at 5:14 a.m.
    The issue here is not that LD was cut from a potential 4th world cup. It is why would JK cut one of the few superstars on the US team? <<< - To answer that we have to evaluate who JK is and contrast that with who LD is. >>> #1 - JK believes in doing your best in whatever endeavor you are pursuing and constantly looking to improve. (This is something that is ingrained in German culture.) He worked on honing his craft as a striker and never settled, even after winning Germany's third world cup in 1990. JK continued to achieve and take on new challenges. He scored goals and worked tirelessly in the biggest games of his career. He embraced the Italian language and culture with a successful stint at Inter-Milan. He even won over the Germanophobic fans at Tottenham in EPL. JK remained effective at his position and was top goal scorer during his last few pro years at Bayern Munich. I still believe LD is a difference maker at his club and with national team but he didn't embrace new challenges the way JK did in his career. #2 - JK is one of the few world class coaches in the world who knows what it takes to compete and win at the highest level both as a coach and player. He won the WC in 1990 and the Euros in 1996. As coach JK turned DFB's senior squad around after a weak Euro 2004. He led a youth-infused team to within a couple of minutes of a PK shootout versus Italy on home soil that could have sent his team through to the 2006 WC final. (Initially no one in Germany saw the young team as having a realistic chance to go so far in the WC.) His positive attack-based philosophy has continued to yield benefits under the continued tutelage of Joachim Löw. (Runner up Euro 2008, 3rd place WC 2010, and semi-final exit Euro 2012) Never mind that Germany is a much better team to watch play now. JK also guided BM to quarters of CL. Landon has the experience of playing well in a WC quarterfinal as a young 20 year old but he never took advantage of the opportunity to improve on that type of moment with a European club. #3 JK does not have a big ego but he does have a big heart and faith in his instincts. Why else would he take on the US National team coaching position? Changing US soccer culture is one of the toughest challenges anyone could seek. JK didn't do it to torture US Soccer fans by stripping the team of its greatest hero. He did it because he understands the chasm separating US Soccer from the rest of the world's elite football nations. And he wants to bridge it. Or at least start building that bridge from the ground up. He has vision that our previous national team coaches lacked. The man walked away from Germany's biggest coaching job on a high and there's no reason he can't do it here when his contract is up in 2018. He has already started to achieve the unthinkable w/USA victories away to Italy and in the Azteca and at home versus Germany. Will his next achievement be getting us out of the group of death?

  1. Paul Wright
    commented on: May 29, 2014 at 5:15 a.m.
    I believe so. But I think JK didn't believe LD would help him take team all the way to the final. *** JK cut LD because he wants a core group of hyper focused players who will buy into a belief that anything is possible in a knock-out tournament. *** He needs everyone to play for each other and for the USA. He needs a group that can sustain a gritty drive throughout a high pressure month long tournament. Playing at highest level requires a high degree of mental toughness and JK did not trust LD to have it for him in Brazil. Even Landon's tirade on Saturday sounded like sour grapes from someone who had the opportunity to put coach and team first and instead chose to pout. To borrow a slogan from Mercedes - 'The best or nothing' and clearly JK did not think LD was giving his best (not compared to the other 23 selected but according to what JK thinks LD is capable of). LD's comment "I deserve to be there" comes across as evidence of the entitlement doctrine that JK wants to strip his players of. JK wants players who will bleed for the US even in a losing effort and LD was weighed and found wanting. Secondary issue is that many casual and some serious US soccer fans are taking this decision personally (As did LD in his comments Saturday 5/24). This is not personal. This is strictly professional. The WC is the most important sport competition in the civilized (and less civilized world). The WC finals can never be considered a farewell tour for the older generation. The media likes to focus on the special interest stories and the big names on the US team. But ask Messi or CR7 how well their skill and celebrity has translated into trophies for their national teams. National teams have a short window for everything to mesh and form a cohesive playing group during summer tournaments. A country's goal should always be to win it all at the WC, not just send the most popular players. And only when the players really buy into that objective (of hoisting the WC trophy) can magic occur. Last note: I'm fed up with the endless string of comments decrying that USA will not make it out of their group with or without LD. Underdogs can and do win in soccer/that is why it is such a fun game for fans of every club. (Especially in knock-out tournaments like the WC that are similar to US playoffs). Relegated Wigan pulled it off against a vastly superior Man City last year in FA cup final and Hull City threatened doing it to Arsenal this year for the majority of the match. Burkina Faso made it to African Cup of Nations final 2013 and amazingly Libya won African championship this year. JK became one of Germany’s all-time highest goal scorers during his int'l career and LD is the all-time leader for the USA but the mental toughness question is the one that divides them now.

  1. Ginger Peeler
    commented on: May 31, 2014 at 11:12 a.m.
    Paul Wright...your comments are spot on! Thank you. And I can't help but wonder if you're the Paul Wright who played for the San Diego Sockers and the Kansas City Wizards? If so, may I say that you were a joy to watch when I used to live in San Diego and had Sockers season tickets.

  1. Allan Lindh
    commented on: May 31, 2014 at 12:32 p.m.
    LD is a strange kid, no question about it. He is also one of the few real soccer players this country has produced, and unlike some of the others, has taken care of himself well enough to have a very long career -- about 15 years at this point. He is also someone who in big games, MLS finals, WC, Gold Cup -- has come through big time on many occasions. This USMNT is the poorest in my memory in terms of creativity out of midfield, LD is the only attacking midfielder we have capable of real brilliance, leaving him off is a sad comment on JK's egomania. Three and out, and JK back to Germany. Time for Dom Kinnear to get a chance, best home grown coach we've produced so far.

  1. Bernd Weller
    commented on: June 7, 2014 at 12:58 a.m.
    The truth is that Klinsi has already four excellent players in the forward position including two "Europeans". It's time now for Altidore and Johannson whose success and experience in Europe! by far outweighs what LD can bring to the table. There is Bradley in the MF and young players like Julian Green a hopeful from Bayern Munich may help to shape a US team that may be able to challenge the big boys in 4 year from now. What has become a Hollywood drama for the US sports press is a not so surprising for anybody who knows international soccer.

  1. James Madison
    commented on: June 17, 2014 at 12:36 a.m.
    I am no more a fan of Jermaine Jones than the next person, but he did deliver a superb performance vs. Ghana.


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USA-Ecuador Player Ratings     
Landon Donovan used the final 41 minutes of his national team career to remind us how ...
Donovan and the USA, then and now    
Nearly 14 years after it started, the national team stint of Landon Donovan will end Friday ...
The courage of Landon Donovan    
I have been thinking a lot about Landon Donovan this week.
'Backs to the wall' mentality suits Timbers    
With its colorful fan base and incredible string of sellouts at Providence Park, Portland is a ...
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