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Continued U.S. attrition will only enhance the call for Landon Donovan

May 27, 2013, 7:34 PM EDT

Jurgen Klinsmann

It’s really no big deal if the United States is left to thrust and parry with a stubby sword in Wednesday’s friendly with Belgium.

Yes, Belgium looks like the tougher of this week’s two opponents, considering the depleted German roster set to arrive into Washington, D.C., for the weekend’s friendly there. But, again, it’s a friendly. So who really cares if the United States gets punched in the nose in Cleveland?

Reinforcements are on the way and by the time Klinsmann’s kids face Germany, the roster will look far more muscular.

But the withdrawals of Corey Ashe, Maurice Adu and Brek Shea do subtract from the larger picture when it comes to two areas: midfield depth and options along the flank. As for those choices to provide quality in wide areas, there really wasn’t a lot to begin with.

All of this is to say: the pressure to add Landon Donovan over the coming four weeks will continue to mount.

(MORE: Ashe, Edu, Shea subtracted from U.S. roster)

Klinsmann is attempting to deliver a larger message here in not naming Donovan, reinforcing the tenets that he wants to guide the players and the program: that nothing less than 100 percent commitment to personal betterment and to the team’s larger aims can be acceptable. He needs guys to “buy in,” as he likes to put it, and fair enough.

But isn’t “buying in” somewhat relative? Isn’t Donovan’s “buy in” a little cheaper than, say, Shea’s? Donovan has substantially more “been there, done that,” after all.

Consider that Klinsmann has just six midfielders available for Wednesday’s match in Cleveland, and one of those is really just a practice player for the time being, Stuart Holden. Otherwise there’s Brad Davis, Brad Evans, Jermaine Jones, Sacha Kljestan and Graham Zusi. Of the five real choices for Belgium, there is a notable lack of foot speed there. Donovan could help solve that problem.

If the United States takes down Belgium, great. If they boss the field against Germany and then go get a result as qualifying resumes in Jamaica, wonderful. The call to add Donovan will remain on back-burner simmer.

But an injury here, a yellow card suspension there, and with perhaps a bad result … you don’t need a crystal ball to see what’s coming then.



  1. pjbowmaster - May 27, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    Just my opinion……but it seems like the relationship has been bad since Donovan played for Klinsy on loan at Bayern Munich in 2009. Landon showed well in 5 friendly matches during the winter break, but was not really given much of a chance to show in Bundesliga play. I remember watching a couple of games when guys wouldn’t pass the ball to him when he was in space.

  2. charliej11 - May 28, 2013 at 2:46 AM

    If you saw Brad Evans play on Saturday, there are 4 1/2 midfielders. In all seriousness, I think Brad is there for right back as much as midfield…maybe versitality.

    • Steve Davis - May 28, 2013 at 9:36 AM

      No disagreement here on Evan, re mostly there to provide cover at outside back. But it seemed unfair not to at least mention that he IS a midfielder by trade.

  3. wandmdave - May 28, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    “But isn’t “buying in” somewhat relative? Isn’t Donovan’s “buy in” a little cheaper than, say, Shea’s?”

    no, no, no…just no. Why is this question even being asked? What kind of crazy dysfunctional team dynamic does that set up? 100% commitment to the team should be mandatory for everyone regardless of talent, history, or any other excuse for half-assing it you can think of, period, end of discussion.

  4. talgrath - May 28, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Donovan just hasn’t looked that good lately. Even in the thrashing of the Sounders that LA put on on Sunday Donovan’s name was almost never heard. The one memorable moment he had was a single shot that was blocked. The names we kept hearing were Zardes and Keane, not Donovan; right now I’d consider Brad Evans to be in better form than Donovan.

    • joeyt360 - May 28, 2013 at 6:39 PM

      The first goal started with a Donovan corner, the second with a Donovan cross. The fourth, Keane’s second penalty, Zardes was wide open because Donovan’s run drew the only defender in the area. And per OPTA Chalkboard, Donovan was the ‘busiest’ player on the field. (He also had 4 of the Galaxy’s 10 key passes).

      His accuracy in that game was pretty hit-or-miss, though.

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