Friday, May 23, 2014

No LD?!?!?! Big Mistake

U.S. announces final World Cup roster; Donovan excluded

The player widely regarded as the greatest in American soccer history will be watching the World Cup from home. Landon Donovan was among the seven players cut from the United States' 23-player World Cup roster on Thursday. It was expected to be his fourth and final World Cup.

Though Jurgen Klinsmann had been clear about his expectations for Donovan, few expected Donovan to be left off the roster entirely. As a result, expect the team's success or failure to be judged through the prism of Klinsmann's decision. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of USA Today.

Kicking Back Comments: I think this is Jurgen's first huge mistake as the US Coach. Let's face it kids, the US is out after the 1st round short of a miracle. (You can see the group here) I suppose you could also have something like what Jens Voigt described in cycling parlance below:

So with this in mind, and in Jurgen's own words there is only a "little" difference between LD and the rest of the team he was competing with ... give LD the nod. He has done more for the US Game than many others at that level ... tip the cap, give him the honor. He has earned it.

Our team is going nowhere this year in Brazil, and while Jurgen may be thinking about experience for these guys for 2018, I think a single spot can be for one who has done what LD has done ... and also has performed at or near the same level as others. If that is Jurgen's actual thinking I find it a bit too rigid and frankly a mistake.

If his reasoning is other, like LD's walkabout recently, or that Jurgen just does not like him, then own the decision to exclude him on that basis. Please don't pretend to exclude a pre-legend like LD on the basis he is ... not ... quite ... there.

Don't believe me? How about this from Jerry Hinnen on CBS Sports which says:

"The bottom line is that the friction between Klinsmann and Donovan was an open secret -- has been an open secret for a while -- and it's not easy to find reasons other than that friction for the selection of Davis, in particular, at Donovan's expense. The belief here is that Donovan isn't being left at home because he's out of form; being out of form merely gave Klinsmann enough of an excuse to that he could leave Donovan at home. Ultimately, it's not a soccer decision, though even Klinsmann may be telling himself it is."

Big mistake Jurgen. Put your bias away and do the right thing for the US Game ... and LD who helped form it in this generation.


  1. I gave the USA about a 0.1% chance of finding some way, and who knows how, of trying to make it out of the group stage. With LD off the roster I can now feel safe in adjusting that number to 0.0%. After the decent run the had last WC ( giving a jolt to it's popularity in the country) it is going to be let down to have their tournment over after 3 games.

    1. I agree with you ... 3 and out will be no fun ... but we may be playing one of the very best teams in the tournament.

      As a player LD did add some depth to the squad, and a veteran presence in the locker room (now defaults to Tim Howard) ... my thoughts continue to swirl around adding him would have done no harm, and served a greater purpose.

      I have to wonder if LD would have went if we had the same scenario and an American coach who may understand that angle and have national pride? I hold out that Jurgen's snub may not have been intentional ... but do wonder.

  2. I think the only "saving grace" that Jurgen has here is that his decision to keep LD off, in the end, is really not going to impact how the US stands to finish in the group stage. If the US goes 3 and out, which is expected, the soccer community here would have a hard time proving the argument that we lost because LD was not there. The US was just highly unlucky to get such a horrid group draw. The plus from it, the younger players will be exposed to playing the top tier of the World Cup talent ... if your going down might as well lose to the best right?