We’re just a little more than two months before the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and the Wall Street Journal points out that no one, with exception of maybe goalkeeper Tim Howard and center midfielder Michael Bradley, is certain of their place in coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s 23-man USA squad, not even future hall of famer Landon Donovan. The 32-year-old veteran of three World Cups has been far from his best for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the early stages of its season, and is reportedly suffering from a bout of tendinitis in his left knee, which hampered him in training ahead of last week’s 2-2 draw with Mexico.
"He had no tempo in his training sessions; he had no kind of higher pace, higher rhythm; he didn't take people on," a clearly unimpressed Klinsmann said of Donovan's training sessions after that game. Donovan, meanwhile, said that he felt good during the 30 minutes he was given in the second half and had wanted to start, but that “circumstances didn’t allow that.”
Which raises the question: will Donovan’s knee problems keep him from making Klinsmann’s final World Cup roster, which must be submitted by June 2? As the WSJ report notes, “a balky knee limits his movement, making it impossible for Donovan to do what he does best -- use his speed, aggression and field vision to create scoring chances.”
Or maybe Donovan will have to transition into becoming an impact player from the bench. "It's very tough to make a change like that when you've always been a starter," former U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller said. Added former U.S. defender Alexi Lalas: "Landon has always disappeared for periods during games and has been inconsistent, but he's always had his moments, and they have come at very important moments. That's been his value. Now you have to ask: Does he have any of those moments left in him?"