World Cup: Why Landon Donovan Deserved to Go to Brazil

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Photo Courtesy of Noelle Nobel, licensed through Flickr via Creative Commons

Source:Noelle Nobel, licensed through Flickr via Creative Commons

Well, that’s depressing. Those were our immediate thoughts surrounding Landon Donovan’s exclusion from the twenty-three-man roster that’ll be representing the USA at the 2014 World Cup. We’re officially beyond the Donovan era in professional soccer, and while that might not mean as much to you as, say, Michael Jordan’s retirement (specifically his second retirement, when he left Chicago in 1999), it’s similar, given Donovan’s status as the best American soccer player ever — that’s not an ironic statement, by the way.

The dismissal wasn’t out of the blue — Jürgen Klinsmann, the man behind the roster decisions, had what might be charitably described as a rocky relationship with the standout forward, who has definitely lost a step, struggling to find a place for him in the friendly matches leading up to the roster decision — and the highest scoring player in this history of the USMNT was always going to play a diminished role on the current roster, but it doesn’t seem right.

Speaking about his reasoning, Klinsmann told reporters that “I just see some other players slightly ahead of him. He’s been in that final 30 roster in terms of the last 10 days. He did everything right. He was always positive. He took it in the best way possible. But I have to make the decisions as of today — I have to make the decisions what is good today, for this group, going into Brazil. There, I just think that the other guys right now are a little bit ahead of him, and I told him that.”

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