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Landon Donovan says he rooted against the US after being left out…for a bit

Jun 29, 2014, 6:07 PM EST

Donovan Getty Images

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.

  1. kellybeck15 - Jun 29, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    Non-story.

  2. navyeoddavee9 - Jun 29, 2014 at 7:03 PM

    Same emotions, anyone would feel, being left out of squad, total non issue

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 29, 2014 at 7:06 PM

      agreed… I’d feel that way too…

      but SAYING it took balls and there will be some that hold this against him…

  3. ryanw822 - Jun 29, 2014 at 7:52 PM

    so rooting for the US to win means he rooted against the US?

    nice to see the media try to create stories instead of reporting on them.

  4. lyleoross - Jun 29, 2014 at 10:08 PM

    I understand LD’s position, after all, everyone knows the U.S can’t win without him so it seems logical to root against them.

    • braxtonrob - Jun 29, 2014 at 11:25 PM

      @lyle, Is that supposed to be sarcasm? (‘Cause we ain’t won anything … yet.)

      • lyleoross - Jun 30, 2014 at 7:51 AM

        Does it matter? And I do believe that we beat Ghana,

      • lyleoross - Jun 30, 2014 at 7:53 AM

        BTW – there was this whole qualification thing that happened last year, without LD. I believe that went pretty well.

  5. patriotsdefense - Jun 29, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    Brad Davis has no purpose in Brasil. LTD should be there. Davis was in devastatingly poor form on Thursday.

  6. bonerchamp - Jun 30, 2014 at 7:38 AM

    LD is being honest here. Clearly Kyle prefers BS coach speak.

  7. lyleoross - Jun 30, 2014 at 8:01 AM

    You know, maybe it’s because I’m older, but when I was being raised the notion that you would have rooted against your country or team would have been considered anathema. “Gee, coach didn’t start me, I hope ya all lose” was not a rallying cry. And admitting that you thought such a petty and childish thing wasn’t considered a mark of honesty or character, it simply showed that you didn’t have the maturity to place your me me attitude behind you when you grew up, and that you were dumb enough to let others know that you were immature.

    I have to wonder if this comes from the, “my child is perfect” phenomena that so pervades our society now? If my child did it, it must be right…

  8. pike573 - Jun 30, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    More Landon, as lyle said best, “petty and childish”. He’s still the same dude he always was…

  9. egb234 - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    The worst part about Donovan’s statement is that it is classic pandering. “I rooted against them, but didn’t want them to lose” is the soccer equivalent to “I smoked but didn’t inhale.” Then, he uses a proxy to offer his own opinion: a Mexico fan said that even he could see that what happened to Donovan was wrong and disrespectful? Right. Think of those two adjectives. Those are Donovan’s words. Donovan is savvy with how he uses the media. His statements are always measured and well thought out. The more you notice that fact, the less he comes across as Mr. Just Being Honest.

    Listen, I’ve never had anything against Donovan before this summer. I loved him in 2002, forgave him for disappearing until 2010 against Algeria, and felt bad for him when he wasn’t selected for this summer’s squad. But his behavior lately has had me focusing on all of his well-known flaws.These beatification pieces from hacks like Plaschke will only support him for so long before it wears off and everyone realizes he needs to let it go.

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