As the world continues to comprehend the news that Jurgen Klinsmann left Landon Donovan off the final roster for the USMNT in Brazil, the issue that makes the decision more puzzling is the timing. This is not about comparing those that made the list to Donovan or justifying his roster spot on his career. It is about Klinsmann having his mind made up, but still giving Donovan hope.
Many have said the roster is a nod to the 2018 World Cup. It is a changing of the guard, but it is one that was hard to see coming. Klinsmann named the roster after 10 days of training, but it is clear that he knew the direction he was going. However, today is not about anyone else. It is about Donovan not making the World Cup squad.
Klinsmann should have never put Donovan in the 30. It should have been clear from the top down that Brazil was not in the cards since Donovan’s self-imposed sabbatical. Maybe it would have been tough for the coach to explain that when Donovan returned and having him on the Gold Cup squad made sense. There was plenty of rhetoric on both sides saying that Donovan had to work hard to earn his spot. For Klinsmann, maybe it was just a soliloquy to fall on deaf ears. Bringing him into training camp was a mistake.
It is said that the two have clashed since their Bayern Munich days. Klinsmann pursued Donovan hard at Bayern and was out of a job a few months later. NBC analyst Kyle Martino said Donovan is paying for a decision that Klinsmann never accepted. Most likely this is the sabbatical in Cambodia.
Ultimately I rationalize it as Donovan paying for a decision Klinsmann never accepted.
— Kyle Martino (@kylemartino) May 22, 2014
The coach had Donovan as a striker coming into the camp and that was an easy way for him to dismiss Donovan. There was an abundance of players that could have played up top. Klinsmann never favored Donovan although it seemed like he was giving him a chance. A legends tour would have been better.