Long-time United States go-to striker Landon Donovan may have played his last game for the Stars and Stripes after missing Coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s 23-man squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Ranked as the nation’s most prolific striker having scored 57 goals over a total of 156 appearances for the United States, Donovan was widely expected to be one of the first players picked in Klinsmann’s team to play Ghana on June 17th, but has now missed the cut in what is without doubt one of the biggest omissions of any available player for any country for the 2014 Soccer World Cup.
“It is certainly the toughest decision of my coaching career to tell a player like him, with everything he’s done and what he represents, to tell him that you are not part of that 23 right now,” Klinsmann told Reuters.
“I just see some other players slightly ahead of him. He’s been part of that final 30 roster in terms of the last 10 days and he did everything right, he was always positive, he took it in the best way possible.”
Taking a brief break from football in the latter stages of 2013, it is thought Donovan’s absence from crucial qualifying games may have played a part in his exclusion from Klinsmann’s confirmed squad.
“His disappointment is huge, I totally understand that, he took it very professionally because he is an outstanding professional player,” Klinsmann added.
“He knows that I have the highest respect for him but I have to make decisions as of today, what is good for this group going into Brazil and there I just think the other guys are a little bit ahead of him. I told him that, he understands it but obviously he is very disappointed.”
A proven performer in the game’s headline tournament, Donovan has appeared in all three World Cups since the turn of the century; scoring the winner against Algeria in the 2010 South African edition that saw the USA top their pool and progress to the knock-out stage most notably.
The USA will contest matches in Group G at the 2014 Soccer World Cup; drawn alongside Ghana, Portugal and European powerhouse Germany.
Currently given little hope of advancing from their group, the USA is featured at odds of $151 to lift the World Cup trophy for the first time on July 13th at Ladbrokes Australia.
USA Squad for 2014 Soccer World Cup
Goalkeepers (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
Midfielders (8): 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 (4): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)