Donovan: “I’ll get my way back in” with USMNT

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Back and forth, back and forth.

This Landon Donovan vs. Jurgen Klinsmann saga just keeps going on and on.

And now it has taken a new twist.

Earlier today Donovan responded to reports that he was set to be left out of Klinsmann’s USMNT squad, for the crucial World Cup qualifiers next month.

Donovan spoke to the LA Galaxy All-Access podcast, about the SI.com reports that he wouldn’t be featuring in Klinsmann’s plans for the friendlies with Belgium and Germany and the three World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica, Panama and Honduras in June.

Well, Jurgen and I have consistently spoken over many months now. I was not aware that was information that was already made public. Jurgen has not told me that it was definitive. But I really do believe that if I get called in that I can help the team, even if I’m not playing, I can help the team. I think that my experience having been through this three times could be very beneficial, but if I’m not in then it is what it is and I’ll get my way back in.

So, what do we think of that folks?

First of all, it seems as if Donovan and Klinsi are on much better terms than we thought. But these comments by Donovan do come across as a little, I don’t know, over confident? Maybe I am just reading into them too much.

But it does seem as if Donovan is pushing ever so hard for an inclusion into the next USMNT squad. As he left the door wide open to a possible call up for the crunch World Cup qualifiers in just a few weeks time.

The USMNT could certainly use Donovan. Can you think of anyone better to come off the bench late in the game if the US are struggling to break down Honduras or Panama at home? Nope, neither can I.

So even if Donovan isn’t fully-fit and he isn’t reproducing the sparkling form we have all come to expect from him, you put him in the squad for his experience, his leadership and his ability to deliver in clutch moments. Come on Klinsi.

(More: Should Donovan be included in the next USMNT squad?)

He hasn’t played 144 times for the US and scored 49 times at the international level through luck. The man is a quality player. Klinsmann seems to be holding back from picking one of the USA’s best players because of a power struggle in his own mind. Donovan’s inclusion will not hinder the USMNT’s trajectory towards the 2014 World Cup. It will only help it.

If the US want to rubber stamp their ticket to Brazil as soon as possible, Donovan needs to be in the mix.

Even if that means he is Graham Zusi’s understudy and provides valuable minutes off the bench.

The latest comments from Donovan on his USMNT future is clear. A ‘come and get me plea’ has been issued.

So what are you waiting for… go and get him, Jurgen.

Nothing to separate Portland and 10-man LAFC

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There was entertainment value in Los Angeles FC’s potential playoff preview with the Portland Timbers on Sunday in the City of Angels, but all that arrived was a scoreless draw.

[ MORE: Atlanta 1-1 Seattle ]

Both Giovani Savarese’s Timbers and Bob Bradley‘s nickname-free expansion club remain in the West’s Top Four. PLAFC remains unbeaten at home during their maiden voyage through Major League Soccer.

Adama Diomande came close for the hosts, who finished with 10-men when Lee Nguyen went studs-up on Sebastian Blanco‘s thigh for a pretty easy red card (though it took some time for Silviu Petrescu to produce the red).

VIDEO: France stars projected onto Arc de Triomphe

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If France’s players had any doubt about the level of import their World Cup title had back home, it was erased when their photos were projected onto one of the most celebrated monuments in the world.

The photos of Hugo Lloris, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, and company made their way onto the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, hours after France defeated Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup Final.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

The Arc de Triomphe honors those who died in the French Revolution and early 19th century wars, and sits above France’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.

How humbling must it be for those players to grace such a heavy monument (both in weight and substance).

Dalic: In one day, Croatia went from lucky to unlucky

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Ante Cacic’s Croatia was on pace to miss out on the World Cup.

Zlatko Dalic’s Croatia rallied the troops to second place in their qualifying group, a playoff defeat of Greece, and a run to the World Cup Final.

Pretty decent stuff.

[ MORE: FIFA awards Golden Ball, Golden Glove ]

And surely the 51-year-old will reflect on that, probably even this evening, but he’s more focused on a letdown after Sunday’s 4-2 loss to highly-favored France.

Key to the match was a penalty awarded to France when a partially-obscured Mario Mandzukic handled a ball inside the 18, leading to Antoine Griezmann’s pivotal goal.

The PK was awarded via VAR, and France went up 2-1 en route to a three-goal lead. From the AFP:

“I never comment on referees but in a World Cup final you do not give such a penalty,” said Dalic.

“It in no way diminishes France’s win. We were a bit unlucky. Maybe in the first six games we were favored by luck and today we weren’t.

“I have to congratulate my players. Maybe today we played our best game at these championships. Against such a strong side as France you must not make mistakes. We are a bit sad but we must also be proud of what we’ve done.”

Croatia had two-thirds of the ball and doubled France’s shot attempts, and Dalic isn’t the least bit controversial in wondering whether the match is much different if that penalty goes unawarded by referee Nestor Pitana.

Atlanta comes back to draw 10-man Seattle (video)

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A scrappy if not downright venomous affair between the lowly Seattle Sounders and high-flying Atlanta United ended in a 1-1 draw in Georgia on Sunday.

The Sounders went ahead through a Nicolas Lodeiro penalty kick, awarded via VAR a la this morning’s World Cup Final, but Atlanta leveled the score with a highlight which show every bit of the game story.

[ MORE: FIFA awards Golden Ball, Golden Glove ]

Just check Josef Martinez’s barking at Stefan Frei, who made an uncharacteristic error on the play, after his 19th goal of the season (Nice cross, Julian Gressel).

Martinez needs nine more goals to break the MLS single season record, and he has 13 games to score them.

Jordan McCrary was sent off for Seattle in the 63rd minute for a second yellow, but Seattle navigated the final half hour or so to scoop up an unlikely point.

Atlanta still sits first with its earned point but opens the door for New York City FC to reach the top of the table when it plays its match-in-hand, while Seattle is now 11 points back of the West’s final playoff spot.