Landon Donovan left off USA 2014 World Cup squad

May 23, 2014

In a shocking and controversial move, U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann cut star Landon Donovan from the United States' 23-player roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup this summer in Brazil. The roster will be officially submitted to FIFA on June 2.

The USA received a tough draw and will be playing in the "Group of Death," featuring Portugal, Germany, and Ghana.  Now they will face those imposing squads without one of their more accomplished players in Donovan.

Klinsmann instead seems to be opting for a youth movement with perhaps an eye towards 2018, and Donovan, 32, did not fit in those plans.  His recent three-month sabbatical from the sport likely did not win him much favor with Klinnsmann either.

"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," Klinsmann said. "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."

Donovan, an LA Galaxy forward and the U.S. Men's National Team all-time leading goal scorer and assist leader, technically remains on the team's standby list.

Since ending his short break from the sport, Donovan has played well enough to make the team, scoring eight goals with eight assists in 10 appearances for his country last year, and leading the U.S. to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup championship. At the World Cup stage, Donovan has tallied five goals in 12 matches.

Such scoring ability could be at a premium at the World Cup, especially considering forward Jozy Altidore's recent struggles overseas.

One would think that with Donovan's offensive skill and experience, he could have at least had a role as a late game substitute off the bench.

Donovan, who has represented the United States in three FIFA World Cups, is the U.S. record holder for goals and assists with 57 goals and 58 assists in his international career.

Meanwhile, LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez was named to the roster despite some concerns about his knee.

Last year, Gonzalez helped the U.S. qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, as he appeared in and started eight of the 10 games that the U.S. played in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. Gonzalez, who was also a part of the U.S. squad at last year’s Gold Cup, collected 14 caps in 2013 and now has a total of 18 for his international career.

In addition to Donovan, the following six players also have been released from the U.S. MNT's training camp and have been placed on a standby list: forward Terrence Boyd, midfielders Joe Corona and Maurice Edu, and defenders Brad Evans, Clarence Goodson, and Michael Parkhurst.

Here is the entire USA 2014 World Cup 23-man roster:

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 (N├╝rnberg), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia M├Ânchengladbach), 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)

By Staff of and news services

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