Landon Donovan says he rooted against the US after being left out…for a bit

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The US soccer world was set alight when Jurgen Klinsmann left Landon Donovan off the roster for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, opting instead for a younger set of players.

While the team is currently in the knockout round, getting ready to face Belgium after escaping the “Group of Death,” Landon Donovan is back in Major League Soccer continuing to play for the LA Galaxy.

The debate has since died down, but speaking with Bill Plaschke of the LA Times, Donovan told us he had a moment of raw emotion immediately after being left off the roster – he wanted his country to lose.

“I’ll be completely honest, watching them play Azerbaijan, inside, part of me was thinking, ‘I hope the game doesn’t go very well today,'” Donovan told the LA Times. “In my heart of hearts, I thought, if we get a 1-0 win and the team doesn’t perform well, that would feel good.”

Surely a human reaction from Donovan, but still odd that he’d admit it.  The US beat Azerbaijan 2-0 in a relatively mindless first match of the sendoff series, and after that, the American legend says he had a serious rethinking of his emotions.

“Then the next day I woke up and said to myself, that’s a really crappy way to feel. That’s a bad way to live your life, it doesn’t help me, it doesn’t help the team, it doesn’t help the energy that the team needs.”

He added: “I love playing for that team, I love playing for this country, I’m not going to turn my back on them all of a sudden.”

Obviously any of us would have twangs of pain in a situation like this, and good on Landon for being honest…I guess.  It’s not like he’s openly rooting against them in the World Cup.

Jurgen Klinsmann appears to have justified his decisions thus far, especially that of DeAndre Yedlin who has provided a pair of positive substitute appearances on the wing, a spot Donovan could have occupied had he made the trip.

Landon is working for ESPN as a World Cup analyst as well as playing for the Galaxy with his time while not in Brazil.

LAFC selects Urena, 4 others in MLS Expansion Draft

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Los Angeles FC selected five players in the MLS Expansion Draft, including Costa Rican national team star Marco Urena.

Whether they’ll make their way to the City of Angels is another story.

The first pick from general manager John Thorrington was goalkeeper Tyler Miller from Seattle Sounders.

[ MORE: Benitez on NUFC struggles ]

Going next was Latif Blessing from Sporting KC, an electric attacker who netted thrice with an assist last season.

Next was Urena from San Jose and the Costa Rican national team, a huge addition, and then Columbus left back Jukka Raitala before closing up the draft with Raheem Edwards from Toronto FC.

LAFC has already announced the signings or acquisitions of Carlos Vela, Walker Zimmerman, Carlos Alvarez, Monday Etim, and Guillermo Vizcarra.

The club will also loan Omar Gaber from Basel and Rodrigo Pacheco from Lanus.

WATCH LIVE: Three Premier League matches

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Chelsea visits the John Smith’s Stadium to face Huddersfield Town in one of three Premier League fixtures this chilly Tuesday in December (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The Blues are now 14 points back of Manchester City, and three points clear of fifth place.

Meanwhile there are a pair of matches on NBC Sports Gold: Burnley looks to keep pace with its Top Four ambitions when it hosts struggling Stoke City, while in-form Crystal Palace seeks a home win that would move it out of the drop zone. In its way? Dangerous, attack-minded Watford.

Burnley vs. Stoke City — 2:45 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]

Huddersfield Town vs. Chelsea — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]

Crystal Palace vs. Watford — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]

FIFA bans Colombia midfielder Cardona 5 games for gesture

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has banned Colombia midfielder Edwin Cardona for five matches for making a discriminatory gesture with his eyes toward a South Korean opponent.

FIFA will allow Cardona to serve the ban in friendly games, so he should be available for Colombia’s World Cup opener against Japan on June 19.

[ MORE: Pep on post-derby celebrations ]

Cardona has also been fined 20,000 Swiss francs ($20,150) because of the incident last month in a friendly in Seoul.

Cardona apologized at the time, saying he “didn’t mean to disrespect anyone, a country or a race, but if anyone felt offended, or interpreted it in that way, I am sorry.”

Spurs’ Alderweireld won’t return until February

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Spurs finally got a bit of good news this weekend with a blowout of Stoke City.

That was a followed by a tough draw against Juventus in the UEFA Champions League, and bad news on an old injury.

[ MORE: Benitez on NUFC struggles ]

Center back Toby Alderweireld is going to be gone into February, extending his time on the sidelines with a hamstring injury suffered Nov. 1 against Real Madrid.

Spurs were 6-2-2 in league when Alderweireld went down, and are just 2-2-2 since the injury. The Belgian has missed losses at Arsenal and Leicester, draws against Watford and West Brom, and wins over Crystal Palace and Stoke.

Tottenham did win both of its UCL matches since the injury.