If Landon Donovan doesn’t make it back to the national team ahead of next year’s World Cup, it won’t be for anything he said or did during his – well, let’s just call it what it is – probationary period of estrangement from the Jurgen Klinsmann’s group.
Donovan sees what the rest of us see: a team that has pretty much crushed it outside of that initial stumble in Honduras, and one that is wonderfully positioned halfway through the final stage of CONCACAF qualifying.
(I’m so confident of the U.S. chances, I have already begun the process of helping Klinsmann fill out his roster for next summer. I’m sure he’ll be calling to thank me soon.)
At any rate, here’s what Donovan said this week about the United States:
After five games, to have 10 points is fantastic, and considering the remaining schedule, you would like to think we’re going to qualify. And I was as proud and as happy as anyone over the last week watching those two games.”
The money quote is the next one, however. Not as it concerns Donovan’s reaction to all this; he probably understands that some of his choices in the past have affected Klinsmann’s decisions of the present.
Klinsmann has named Donovan to the provisional Gold Cup roster, which still feels a little like a test of Donovan’s ongoing loyalty and commitment – and I still feel like Donovan should probably be past that point. He’s done enough for U.S. Soccer. But it is what it is.
Donovan has said if he’s chosen for Gold Cup, then Gold Cup it will be! The man wants back in. He misses it – and he says so.
I do miss [being with the national team]. I want to be out there, but the reality is different. So when I get my chance, I’ll be ready.”