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.