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Landon Donovan on US national team recall: “I deserve to be here”

Sep 4, 2013, 2:20 PM EDT

Honduras v United States - 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup Getty Images

Speaking about reclaiming his spot on the USMNT squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico, Landon Donovan is pleased to be back.

The guys over at US soccer sat down with the all-time leading goalscorer for the USA as he spoke about what it feels like to be back in the mix for his nations biggest games.

Confident as ever after signing his new multi-year deal with the LA Galaxy last week, Donovan feels as though he belongs with Jurgen Kinsmann’s team as the creme of CONCACAF come calling.

“I really feel l like I deserve to be here. I feel like I’ve really earned it, and I also feel like I can really help,” Donovan said. “So even if I’m not playing, I think there’s ways I can be impactful and help the group. In a perfect world I get to play, but at the end of the day I want us to qualify and I want us to do well in the World Cup regardless of how much I contribute on the field.”

Do we agree with Donovan?

His outings in the Gold Cup put him on another level compared to the rest of the USA’s “reserve squad” and proved that he should be an integral part of Klinsmann’s World Cup plans going forward.

(MORE: What must happen for the US national team to qualify on Friday)

Yet will that be the case? I guess we will have a better idea on that when the starting lineup is announced Friday night down in Costa Rica but for right now you have to think Donovan will start on the bench. Yes, that may seem crazy but if Klinsmann is going to be loyal to the guys who have been around for the entire World Cup qualifying campaign when Donovan hasn’t, then he probably shouldn’t throw the LA Galaxy straight back into the staring XI.

In my opinion he should. Nothing against Graham Zusi but if you want to get a positive result in Costa Rica to set up qualification potentially being sealed against Mexico in Columbus next Tuesday, you start LD. His experience in these hostile environments will be positive on the rest of the squad an the 31-year-old is a born leader who lets his actions speak louder than words. He will be fired up more than ever to impress and this is crunch time in World Cup qualification. He’s been here, seen it, done it before.

Klinsmann needs his most experienced and deadliest players on the field in San Jose. Landon Donovan heads that list.

  1. hildezero - Sep 4, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Is this roster the best roster US Soccer has ever put on? I can’t think of any roster in the past that’s more talented than this one.

    • jimmycrackcorn99 - Sep 4, 2013 at 4:20 PM

      I think this is the core message for 2013 and leading up to WC2014. Hard to believe that we are discussing NOT using LD in the WC qualis. He’s a great player, both as a scorer and a playmaker. You have to be nuts not to include him with the other names on the roster.

      Otherwise, it’s great to have options, especially in the case of yellow cards and injuries.

    • dac545 - Sep 4, 2013 at 4:24 PM

      It’s up there. 2002 World Cup squad was pretty outstanding also.

      Friedel, O’Brien, Stewart, Cobi Jones and especially Claudio Reyna were of an extremely high quality and technical ability. Also, Joe Max-Moore and Clint Mathis are two of my favorite US players ever, which doesn’t hurt.

  2. charliej11 - Sep 4, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    Let me go out on a limb, like I always seem to do with Donovan ( not going to Everton, etc )
    Side note, how is he controversial ? That has to be a big black mark against US Soccer fans no ?

    He will start. Whoa !

    First he predicts LA will resign him and now this. Oh my.

  3. boscoesworld - Sep 4, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    If it means sitting Eddie Johnson………LD starts EVERY time. If its at the expense of someone like Zusi I still like his odds. It certainly depends on formation but say a 4-4-2.
    Beasley, Besler, Gonzalez, Evans
    Fabian Johnson, Jones(don’t like him but JK does), Bradley and its Zusi or Donovan
    Altidore and Dempsey
    Howard of course.
    So who sits? Dempsey? Zusi?

    • outlawsoccer - Sep 4, 2013 at 3:43 PM

      yes jk love Fabian and jurmain and we see them as only half baked
      and eradict I don’t really prefer that, it reflects a high work rate and
      a youthful enthusiasm.
      Fabian comes out better and right now jones is out of sorts I think,
      zusi is coming back from injury but did score last game out.
      bedoya is unstoppable on his work rate, jozy is not 100% with the hammy
      clint is not fit yet but getting close, Donovan is fit and ready so is mix
      dixerud like bedoya and Bradley whom sat roma sat Bradley in their
      last match very strange. he was almost sent to England.
      Beasley is going to get the left back spot with Fabian the wing spot in front of him
      on the other side with evans sidelined by injury we will get another midfielder
      playing defense yuck!!!! but I love Cameron on the right side with bedoya in front of
      him at wing. good choices very good.
      with jozy not ready I still think jk will go clint Dempsey and landon Donovan to start
      now. he may go eddie Johnson and landon Donovan as clint just hasn’t looked 100%
      so far out this season. but as clint has a lot of goals in these tight central American games
      its possible we see clint and eddie up front and Donovan takes a midfield spot but
      I sure doubt it.

      • boscoesworld - Sep 5, 2013 at 7:16 PM

        I posted that before the Evans injury so yes, I agree with Cameron on the right and I still think Zusi ahead of him with Bedoya a change of pace sub. If Jozy can’t go then Clint up top with LD tucked in behind him would be swell. I like FJ blazing up that left wing all day.

    • nchav123 - Sep 4, 2013 at 3:45 PM

      Evans is out. Geoff Cameron is in at right back. He was excellent for Stoke City last weekend and looks to be in great form.

      The USMNT seems to play its best in a 4-4-2, but adding Donovan to the mix creates new opportunities. He’s at his best when he roams a bit and creates attacking opportunities wandering into the middle of the pitch. He’s not exactly traditional out-wide.

      I wonder if JK would ever consider sitting Jones and trying out an even more aggressive 4-3-3 where Fabian Johnson, Bradley, and Zusi are manning the midfield with Dempsey, Donovan, and Altidore playing 3 forward positions? Imagine the creativity, strength, and pace of attack with those three keeping defenders on their heels.

      • outlawsoccer - Sep 4, 2013 at 4:01 PM

        if we get ahead early we may see a more aggressive front line

      • NowWaitJustAMinute - Sep 4, 2013 at 6:24 PM

        I’m with you. So tired of the “Evans is a RB” crowd. No, he’s not! He played a game there as a stopgap, provided good cover, and happened to score a goal when we threw everything forward. Fantastic outcome, but nothing in that game, or any other, makes me think he can start as a RB in a WC qualifier or, God forbid, a WC game.

  4. outlawsoccer - Sep 4, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    we all know klinsmanns favourites
    but its hard to tell who gets the starts
    I would have to see the practices all week.
    clint Dempsey eddie Johnson
    Fabian Johnson Michael Bradley landon Donovan mr. bedoya
    d marcus Beasley mr gonzalez mr besler mr Cameron
    mr howard

    I would rather see landon and clint up front absent jozy
    with mix dixerud Bradley bedoya and sacha kljestan in the midfield.
    to me zusi Fabian and jurmain are not playing as well right now.
    our defense sucks it wont matter who we put in there I prefer
    Castillo gonzalez goodson besler
    brooks has a good shot at the no 5 the stopper who comes in late to get
    up in the air and prevent anything from developing, same role for Beckerman
    hes awesome at stopping up the action and holding like Michael Bradley
    who moves backwards better than forwards.

  5. outlawsoccer - Sep 4, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    eddie is a great sub late due to his speed but if were ahead
    I would not expect it, only if we need a goal.
    if we are ahead and don’t need a goal we will get aaron johannnnssssson
    as a sole striker, and 2 big defenders to hold for the rest of the match.

    so if it is 1 to zero usa in the 2nd half look for
    to be brought in and hold the ball

  6. outlawsoccer - Sep 4, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    out will be the forwards and the most tired midfielder probably bedoya

    how messed up is jozy?
    is he paired with clint or landon?
    does eddie have to be coming in off the bench even when jozy is down?
    right now
    1 jozy
    2 landon
    3 eddie
    4 clint
    5 aaron
    as far as a list goes im thinking landon is better right now than eddie, but neither
    is as hot as jozy, and with zero goals and all clint looked invisible next to gareth bale
    and the other great forward they had so its good he is home now, I just wish I could
    say he looks like hes playing great and I cannot. landon and eddie have proven
    to enjoy a good deal of chemistry when paired together on the attack.
    I sure wish we had Robbie keane up front with landon like LA man they looked
    good against SJ

  7. outlawsoccer - Sep 4, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    costa rica plays counter attack with a good forward,
    but they put the entire team back in defense all the game.
    so its quite difficult to run the ball in to the box on them.
    its a situation where sharp shooters can damage them
    with long range blasts. I would keep that in mind.
    difficult to get in behind a team with 8 players in the box
    the entire game and sometimes 9.
    the Mexican referee will be another sore spot for both teams
    because he can surely help mexico by seeing to it that costa
    rica losses, and that the 9 americans playing with a yellow card
    get one more and are excluded from the mexico outing.
    not unusual for soccer to be a complete fraud when it comes
    to officals administrations policing the fans etc.
    completely derilect fraud cheating

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