I don’t have a strong opinion either way about Landon Donovan. He acts in some ways that make him hard to like but there is no doubt he is a US Soccer Legend, not that there are many to begin with.
Klinsmann made it really clear he thought of Donovan as a forward and not a midfielder when choosing his team. Altidore and Dempsey were locks to make the team. Altidore doesn’t score for Sunderland but he does for the US. Aron Johannsson and Chris Wondolowski rounded out the rest of the forwards. Both are coming off terrific club campaigns and are most likely hungry to show the world what they can do. Not at all upset with the players up front for the US.
Donovan took a sabbatical from soccer a year ago much to the chagrin of the new coach Klinsmann and the rest of the US Soccer Federation. I went to a brunch with the New England Revolution last March and the topic of Donovan was brought up to the head of US Soccer Sunil Galati. He seemed very disappointed that Donovan was on the sabbatical. Both camps were at odds with one another and that’s not the best way to win over a new coach let alone a legend of the game in Klinsmann.
I don’t have a problem with the selection but the US Soccer Fed has opened themselves up for drastic criticism if and when the US go out in the group stage. The media now has their story to run. They will claim Donovan would have saved the day and put us into the round of 16 when in reality, the US were going to be filthy lucky to get out of the group stage with Donovan in the lineup. Two World Soccer powers like Germany and Portugal would be a tall enough task but throw in Ghana who have eliminated the US from the previous two world cups and that’s a recipe for disaster.
Donovan may have brought some veteran calm to the squad which may have helped them a little, but vs Ronaldo and a very very talented German squad, that influence would have been minuscule.