Once someone speaks to Landon Donovan about the reports that say he will not be part of Jurgen Klinsmann’s roster for the upcoming summer friendlies and important World Cup qualifiers, I’d bet a Klinsmann bobblehead that the program’s all-time leading scorer will offer something like this:
It’s the right call.
A source within U.S. Soccer confirmed earlier reports that Donovan will, indeed, be left out of Klinsmann’s camp as the group of 23-25 men prep for
The Donovan we see right now is doing OK. He’s doing his part, more than validating Bruce Arena’s choice to get him on the field for MLS matches. (Especially considering that getting Donovan fit is surely part of the bigger plan around the Home Depot Center. That is, even if he’s not sharp or fit, getting him there is worth a starting 11 assignment.)
But Donovan is not dominant in MLS. Nothing close to it, in fact. We see Graham Zusi absolutely taking over games here and there for Sporting Kansas City, by comparison. And even when he isn’t “large and in charge,” Zusi still manages to be “large,” at least – pretty much the way Donovan is when rested, fit and motivated.
Meanwhile, performing at international level is another, well, level. If Donovan isn’t bossing the field in MLS, there is little reason to believe that he’ll rise above the field in U.S. games ahead.
And as I said previously, Donovan knows it. He knows he has missed those two penalty kicks, both of which proved costly. He knows the Galaxy is a rather underwhelming 2-3-1 in the matches in which he has appeared.
When Donovan is ready to make an impact against quality international opposition like Belgium – Yes, Belgium; have you seen the young stars around that program these days? – and Germany, and when he is ready to effect a World Cup qualifier on the road in Jamaica, we’ll all know. Believe me.