Landon Donovan knows a thing or two about winning Gold Cups — he won four of them (2002, 2005, 2007 and 2013) during his legendary international career — so when the U.S. national team’s all-time leading goalscorer and assist provider says the USMNT should be considered favorites to win the 2015 Gold Cup, we should listen to him, right?
Speaking in an interview with Yahoo Sports (above video), the recently-retired Donovan was unequivocal in stating his belief that the USMNT should be considered favorites to lift the nation’s sixth CONCACAF title (the tournament began in 1991) this summer.
“It increasingly more difficult to win because other countries in this region are improving constantly, and that makes it more difficult. But when you have a team that can compete at the world level the way they have, and consistently qualify for the World Cup in this region, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be considered favorites to win the Gold Cup this summer.”
Even before the USMNT’s latest defeat of rivals Mexico on Wednesday night, Jurgen Klinsmann’s side were likely thought of as favorites to reach the final i July, where they’ll likely meet Mexico once again. The fact that Donovan can pile a bit more pressure onto Klinsmann, who famously cut him from last summer’s World Cup team, effectively ending his USMNT career, is just the cherry on top for the increasingly outspoken Donovan.
Speaking of which, Donovan also revealed how he thinks Klinsmann should be judged for the job he’s done as USMNT head coach (below video).
“I think we will judge what Jurgen’s done when his time is done here. Obviously getting out of the group at the World Cup is no small feat. There’s many teams in the World Cup that don’t do that. That’s really where all of us get judged — whether we get out of the group or not.”
As for who should replace Klinsmann when his current contract runs out in 2018 (or whenever he leaves), Donovan was quick to point out the large number of young, American coaches currently managing in Major League Soccer, but also pointed out that being a national team coach is “a higher level” than managing in MLS.
Before you even let your brain wander there, Donovan has stated on many occasions that he’d not want to manage a professional soccer team, because he couldn’t deal with the egos, he says. Along with that “higher level” of the national team surely comes bigger egos as well.