Countdown to Brazil: Jurgen Klinsmann discusses roster decisions

World Cup talk still centers around Landon Donovan’s omission from the U.S. roster. (Getty Images)

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United States Men's National Team manager Jurgen Klinsmann met with the media Friday, and the main topic of conversation was, you guessed it, Landon Donovan.

Here is, for the most part, everything Klinsmann said with regard to Donovan:

"We coaches felt that the guys we chose are a little step ahead of Landon in certain areas. It wouldn’t do justice if I mentioned these fields. Where maybe he has a little bit of a weakness, another guy has more strengths, and where the other guy has more weaknesses, Landon has his strengths. It is a very tight race for those spots, and at this moment, we feel like the other players, without naming any of those guys, are a tiny bit ahead of him. That’s why we made that decision, which is obviously and understandably the biggest topic out here.


"We read everything. Where [Donovan] maybe is not the one to go one against one all the time and go into the box, he brings other values to the table – his outstanding passing game, his experience, which is a big factor always, and other elements. He’s changed his game over the past four years, which is normal at this stage of his career. Those things, we coaches discuss. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the other guys that we have and then we have to make a decision. He has done an amazing job in the last 10 days he was here, and has done everything right, like all of the guys did. They all had strong cases. With every player yesterday to kind of go through those couple minutes, it’s been not easy. It’s just part of the process.


"He took it highly professionally and with amazing composure. Obviously big disappointment is expected. He said that he doesn’t understand it -- he thinks he should have been in the 23, which is well taken. I want the player to speak up and say that. I tried to lay out a couple of reasons, and those are technical parts, to explain why this and why this, and I just told him that I hope for his understanding and I hope that he stands by us. If something happens tomorrow, I can call him and he’s back right away. He assured me that he is at our disposal 24/7. If a call comes, he is ready to go. He expressed his disappointment, but in a very professional way. I admire that a lot.


"It’s very important to us that he is around the clock available. If something happens today, God forbid, or in the next couple of weeks before we have the first game – because before the first game we can always sub an injured player – that is huge. He said that right away in that meeting yesterday. I also have the strong hope that he absolutely continues after, and all the players that were told yesterday, that now they are not part of the 23, move on with it. If they are not coming down to Brazil, a new cycle starts. How this new cycle will start after Brazil obviously depends on the outcome in Brazil. That is our wish, that Landon continues his National Team career. No doubt about it."

Counter-point: Former USMNT coach and current LA Galaxy manager Bruce Arena expressed his feelings regarding the decision to keep Donovan off the national team.

"If it was my decision he’d be on the team," Arena said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "But it’s not my decision so I leave it at that and only time tells whether these things make sense or they don’t make sense.

"When coaches make decisions you've got to support those decisions unless they’re proved otherwise. The last thing I’m going to be is a Monday morning quarterback like everyone else in this world."

Fab 5, kinda: Only five players on the USMNT roster have played in the World Cup: Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley, and Jozy Altidore. The rest are newcomers on the world's stage.

This better work, Jurgen.

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