The man called “Captain America” won’t be joining the American soccer team in Brazil.
In a decision that rocked U.S. soccer, U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann left Landon Donovan, 32, off of the 23-man roster headed to World Cup, which starts on June 12. Donovan has played for the U.S. in every World Cup since 2002. The cut veteran, disappointed, said, “I was looking forward to playing in Brazil and, as you can imagine, I am very disappointed with today’s decision.”
Donovan had taken a break of about four months after the 2012 season, part of the time in Cambodia. As a result, he missed three World Cup qualifying matches.
Klinsmann, unhappy with Donovan’s attitude, stated that Donovan would have to earn a spot on the roster again. Donovan subsequently performed well at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the summer of 2013. Last month in an exhibition against Mexico, Klinsmann held Donovan out of the starting lineup because Donovan’s knee had limited his practice time.
Klinsmann, who helped West Germany win the World Cup as a player in 1990, asserted that although Donovan practiced with the team this week, he was not on par with the other players. He said:
It’s an exciting moment when you have narrowed the roster down as a coaching staff, and these 23 players that you’ve chosen can focus now purely on Brazil. We can go into more specific things about technical approaches, and about the opponents. For the players, it’s very important to know that they are now part of it and they can relax and know they are on the list going to Brazil and taking it from there. After almost 10 days of work right now, we thought the point has come to make the decision.
There was a hint of trouble for Donovan ahead when Kilnsmann said last week he saw Donovan as a forward, not a midfielder, as he unveiled his 30-man preliminary roster.
The 23 players selected to the World Cup are:
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nurnberg), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)