Well, there you have it: the United States is heading into a World Cup without the biggest name in US Soccer history.
But Landon Donovan isn’t the only player to have missed the final cut for Jurgen Klinsmann’s trek into Brazil to face Group G opponents Germany, Ghana and Portugal. As JK goes youth movement — some would say a 2018 movement — let’s take a look at the unlucky seven, whose ages are: 32, 28, 30, 32, 29, 23 and 23.
Landon Donovan: So much to be said here (and you’ll want to stay tuned for Richard Farley’s scheduled piece on LD’s omission). Donovan carries the hearts of so many U.S. faithful, but should this move really be as surprising as it is for some? He’s 32 and has lost a step. Icon? Yes. Feature player? Debatable.
There’s already plenty of fan outrage on this cut, and surely Klinsmann is displaying plenty of guts. Why not make the omission when the 30-man roster was named? It leads you to believe something happened at camp to show Klinsmann that Donovan wasn’t the player he wanted. That seems out of place.
Then again, this is a player who took a soccer sabbatical during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying when his place was not secure. You could easily see that as something that rubbed Klinsmann in an extremely awkward way. Either way, the Donovan era is over. Wow.
Maurice Edu: A part of you has to feel for Edu as much as any of these cuts. He’s struggled to establish himself anywhere since Rangers fell apart, and his time in Philadelphia has clearly showed that he’s still got something left in the tank. Yet between 2012 and his return to MLS, Edu played in just 12 matches for club (One for Stoke, and 11 on loan to Bursaspor).
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Throw in the fact that his “no goal” in the last World Cup should’ve stood as one of the most important goals in American history, and it feels like he’s dealt with 4 years of “What ifs?” and will deal with some more.
Michael Parkhurst: It almost felt like Parkhurst’s revitalization and strong play for Columbus had him as even money to make the roster. You have to think the 30-year-old’s age was the biggest factor in his removal. And, again, you’re also forgiven if you think Klinsmann’s staring at 2018 almost as much as 2014.
Clarence Goodson: I projected that either Goodson or Evans would make it, and clearly I’m a genius. We’ll never know if Goodson’s return to Major League Soccer was a factor in Klinsmann’s decision, but the defender was strong in Gold Cup play. It’s a big of surprise that his size and experience weren’t enough to move him onto the 23.
Brad Evans: Maybe there was only room for two Brads? The versatile 29-year-old Sounders player seemed a bit of a long shot but had performed well sliding in at right back for the States. A breakout year was not enough to push his climb to a World Cup to the summit.
Joe Corona: The 23-year-old San Diego State man was one of just a few Liga MX players to make his way onto the 30-man roster, and could not last through the final cuts. With 124 appearances for Tijuana, and 10 goals, at his young age, it’s unlikely we’ve heard the last of him.
Terrence Boyd: Klinsmann wants his best players in the best leagues, and while Boyd’s 20 goals in Austria featured some in the UEFA Europa League, they were still scored in an Austrian league that would struggle to compare with Major League Soccer, Liga MX or Eredivisie. Boyd may have a future here, but it won’t come at the expense of Julian Green. The inclusion of Green makes you wonder if there was a roster promise involved…