The Donovan Debacle

Landon Donovan

While this issue has already been sufficiently covered (even by our man Seth), I have taken a few steps back and allowed the issue to “breathe” a bit before jumping into the fray. At this point, the entire USMNT fanbase has made their opinions known and Landon has also made his beliefs clear: Donovan should be on the plane to Brazil. However, it feels as if a few keys items have been overlooked in this entire situation…items that will either make the water murkier, or clear it right up…you be the judge.

First, the World Cup should never be used in any type of “rebuilding” situation. The World Cup is an all-in tournament. Four years from now, USMNT players will find themselves in Russia playing in a totally different climate, with different types of fans, in differently constructed venues, against different opposition, wearing different footwear, and could even be with a different coach or different teammates. You do not make a large chunk of USMNT personnel decisions based on anything except for the next two/three months. Has it ever saved an international manager’s job to be knocked out of a tournament in the group stage and say, “Well, we were building for the next one”…? Anyone arguing for taking all this youth along for any reason except for them being the best players available should realize that there are 3.5 years directly following this World Cup to get the young players plenty of experience…why not take youth along to the Gold Cup?

Second, the issue might not be that Landon Donovan was one of the 23 best players to choose to occupy a spot on our 23 man roster, but that some of the players chosen are not as good as Landon Donovan. Do you follow the logic? Some of the choices are blatantly Germany-centric, with the squad absolutely filled to the brim with anyone that has even been remotely associated with the European power. To think that Landon Donovan is not deserving of a spot because of his actions in the last two years is something different completely (and something that I do not have the right to judge), but with Klinsmann making it clear that he believes that these are the 23 most talented players he could bring along…

The last thought is what we can derive from a very possible situation that could arise before the trip to Brazil. If a player occupying any space from midfield forward picks up an injury before jetting off to Brazil, Klinsmann can bring Donovan into the fold to experience a total win-win. He will have laid down the law that no player is bigger than the USMNT manager AND he will still bring along the beloved attacker. Considering the amount of injuries that the world has already experienced in friendlies, do not rule this out. To think that Donovan not being in Brazil is 100% certain until the moment the plane leaves for the tournament would be a huge mental folly. If Dempsey’s injury had been anything serious from the first friendly, I can assure you of the first person that would have gotten a phone call…

Although a 2-1 victory over Turkey will bring a much-need salve to the USMNT and its growing fanbase (especially considering Donovan did not play in the ever-shaky defense…although, maybe we should have tried him back there…?), success at the World Cup will be the only thing that will have all of us forgetting Klinsmann’s decision to leave Donovan at home. Will it happen? Or, will Klinsmann be rethinking his decision 5 minutes into our first game of the tournament? Also, I wonder how soon it was that ESPN gave Donovan a call to be a TV pundit for the Cup after the sports behemoth found out he was not in the 23 man roster…1 hour?…20 minutes?…15 seconds?


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About the author: Andrew McCole


If I may be so bold to condense my immense personality into two words, it would be: soccer nerd. I love everything about the beautiful game and I tend to reflect that in my writing. I suffer through Liverpool fandom and hope that they will win another title before my wife spreads my ashes at Anfield (considering I'm in my twenties, it seems somewhat likely). Although I also dabble in tennis, teaching, and coaching, most of my free-time is spent writing articles for The Center Circle! Feel free to stalk me on Google+


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