Refreshed and refocused, Donovan looks to win back national team place

Donovan (Getty)

By THOMAS FLOYD

WASHINGTON — On a rise above the Potomac River, among the Gothic architecture of Georgetown University’s two-century-old campus, one could find American soccer’s absentee star.

As Landon Donovan braved the cold, windy conditions during the Los Angeles Galaxy’s training session Thursday morning, he juggled a ball on his head, turned and hit a 35-yard volley from the right flank, grinning as it bounced into an empty net.

Having been away from soccer since the Galaxy won their second straight MLS Cup on Dec. 1, Donovan returned to practice this week, reinvigorated after a nearly four-month sabbatical. All told, he skipped five Galaxy games and a trio of crucial World Cup qualifiers for the U.S. national team, including a win over Costa Rica on Friday and a draw at Mexico on Tuesday.

“I wanted to get the enjoyment back,” Donovan said. “This week was pretty difficult watching the U.S. in those games when you want to be a part of it. So that feeling, I’m glad that feeling is back. That’s sort of what I wanted.”

During his absence, Donovan focused on his family. He felt the need to make up for lost time, after all, considering the all-consuming nature of a globe-trotting career that saw him labeled the face of U.S. Soccer as a teenager.

Now 31 years old and a three-time World Cup veteran, Donovan is more reflective, more concerned about life beyond the beautiful game. But his Galaxy teammates still see the same player who has been such a dominating force in MLS for the past decade.

“It’s like he never left,” said Galaxy and U.S. centerback Omar Gonzalez. “It’s good to see his face again around the team. … He looks refreshed, which is good.”

Donovan returned to the public eye Tuesday, gifting a jersey and ball to President Obama during a White House ceremony honoring the Galaxy and NHL champion Los Angeles Kings. Later, he answered children’s questions as part of the Obama administration’s “Let’s Move” initiative.

That night, some 2,500 miles away, the U.S. ventured into Estadio Azteca without Donovan and earned a valuable scoreless draw against El Tri. So when the U.S. (1-1-1) resumes the hexagonal stage of qualifying in June for three matches, does Donovan hope to be a part of it?

“I have a long way to go, both on the field and off the field, to work my way back into the national team, and that’s my goal,” Donovan said. “If that’s something that presents itself, that’s something I want to do. I miss being a part of that and I want to represent my country again.”

While U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann has offered only tepid public support of Donovan’s self-imposed hiatus, the midfielder-forward feels good about the clarity of their dialogue. If nothing else, there seems to be an understanding between them.

“Jurgen and I have always been very open and honest with each other,” Donovan said. “That’s one thing I really respect most about him. He certainly hasn’t agreed with a lot of my choices, and that’s understandable. … But he’s always been very respectful, he’s always been supportive.”

Without Donovan, Klinsmann recently has leaned on the technically proficient play of Graham Zusi and Herculez Gomez on the flanks. Should Donovan return to form and fall back into Klinsmann’s good graces, the program’s all-time leading scorer can add another valuable dynamic to what lately has been a stagnant U.S. attack.

“He’s just another option to threaten teams from behind,” Gonzalez said. “He brings a lot of speed and teams respect him, teams respect who he is. He’s also a great leader, so having him back could be great for everyone.”

And if Donovan, who is targeting early April for his return to game action for the Galaxy, had any doubts about his desire to get back out there, they were snuffed when he watched Los Angeles take the field for its season opener March 3 against the Chicago Fire.

As the Galaxy rolled to a 4-0 win, he felt something he hadn’t truly felt in some time.

“I really had that itch again to play,” he said. “And I knew that I was ready.”

This entry was posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- LA Galaxy, U.S. Men's National Team, U.S. Soccer, Uncategorized, World Cup Qualifying. Bookmark the permalink.

243 Responses to Refreshed and refocused, Donovan looks to win back national team place

  1. Tony in Quakeland says:

    He is going to kick butt

    • Jimmy Bobo says:

      Until his next existential crisis.

      • Jake says:

        Give it a rest. See how he does after his first real break in how many years? Over a decade?

        • Jeb says:

          Truth. Burn-out is just as real in sports as any other profession.

          • Sandy Box Donovan says:

            Yup, some people are tougher than others. For every Kobe that plays through anything and truly loves the game (Dempsey), there’s a Vince Carter who’s talented but just doesn’t care as much they should (Donovan).

            • HoBo says:

              Let’s see you do better, give Donovan a break. He has helped our national team greatly and the galaxy, he’s coming back. So shut up and give the hate a rest! :)

              • AzTeXan says:

                Obviously I’m not as good as Donovan. That’s a stupid argument. Truly great players compete against themselves.

                Example: Lebron left a NBA title on the table in 2011 when he lost to the Mavs. People were saying he needed to get a low post game and he didn’t do it and it cost them the title. Even if LeBron become the greatest player even it doesn’t change the fact that he cost himself a title.

                Landon is great but I have the right to call him out for choosing to waste a piece of his potential. You can now continue your ball washing.

              • AzTeXan says:

                PS Exhibit A: MJ competed every single day of his life and gave the game everything he had. It’s why he’s the best and is loved even if he’s a jerk sometimes. The dude can’t even play a cash game of poker with thousands of dollars at stake without being bored out of his mind.

                link to terezowens.com

              • jg says:

                Actually AxTeXan, you don’t have the right to call him out, even if you have devoted your life as exclusively to a single thing for as long and intensely has he has, and achieved his level of excellence, which is extremely unlikely. His life is his life. The rest of us should shut up and let him live it in peace, and we can only hope the world will accord each of us the same courtesy.

              • AzTeXan says:

                @jg Are you being serious? Being a famous person or any other public figure means you are open both to praise and to ridicule. Anybody can say anything about LD in a public forum. If LD doesn’t like it he can go on a permanent sabbatical.

                Plus LD won’t ever read a word said about him in the press or in comment sections if he just chooses to not read them.

                If I start calling his phone or sending him hate mail or digging in his trash then I’ve crossed the line.

                What you just said may be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

              • jg says:

                AzTeXan: May your life go well.

            • Artie Armstrong says:

              Donovan is exactly like Vince Carter, except Donovan has five MLS titles, has more internationals goals and assists than any American ever to play the game, and scored some of the biggest goals in this nation’s history, while Vince Carter is… Vince Carter.

              “doesn’t care as much as he should”: that’s just irresponsible and wrong-headed.

              • AzTeXan says:

                The NBA is the best basketball league in the world league in the world. If Vince played basketball in a lower tier league I’m sure he would have won lots of titles. I love and support MLS and attend lots of Dynamo games but the MLS isn’t shit. Vince was a top 10 player in the ENTIRE world at his peak with the Raptors. Landon Donovan probably hasn’t ever cracked the top 100 players world wide. Probably not even top 250.

              • tw says:

                +1. Haters gonna hate. The most successful US soccer player of all time definitely deserves to be criticized for not caring(?)

            • beachbum says:

              Donovan and Vince Carter…LMFAO!!!

              he took a sabbatical for 3 months. You sound jealous and bitter about it. Ever earned yourself a sabbatical? MJ took one for more than 3 months smarty pants

              • unbeknownst says:

                Off topic. But Jordan took that “sabbatical” because of his involvement with and addiction to gambling.

              • AzTeXan says:

                @Unbeknownst MJ was rumored to have a gambling problem but that’s what is known as a conspiracy theory. That very well could be true (as you can see by the photo I posted I’m aware he likes to gamble) but unless you have a source I’m going to take MJ at his word.

                Do you really think a guy who’s that homicidally competitive would agree to walk away from the game on his own free will? Do you really think the NBA would willingly force him out when he WAS the NBA at that point in time. Nobody stood to benefit from MJ retiring?

              • AzTeXan says:

                Please make your way down to my comment below where I already referenced MJ and his sabbatical. Pretty amazing how I could predict your uninformed, comment. I’ll just paste it right here so you don’t have to find it:

                “PS Don’t even think about bringing up MJ. He quit basketball because he conquered every won player and won every title there is and he got bored. Winning a couple MLS cups and making it past the groups stage in the WC a few times is nice little career for an American player but if Landon is as good as people make him out to be, he should always be thirsty for more.”

              • AngelofLA says:

                True MJ took a sabbatical time to go out and play Baseball and golf. Baseball he did suck big time and what happen next after that? He want back to the Bulls and won Three Championship Titles in a row. So give Donovan a rest maybe now he’ll be hungry to win more and to kick ass in the Hex.

            • Really? says:

              The NBA has an offseason, soccer does not when you’re playing national team, MLS, and Premiership on what little break you get. And nice choice of rapist Kobe as a role model — I pity your children should you have any…

              • Landy Cakes says:

                To be fair. I seriously doubt Kobe is a rapist. No one knows what went down in that hotel room. But that chick was hella sketchy. And no its not ok to put the victim on trial, but you have establish their is a victim. to quote chappelle.

                link to youtube.com

            • Landy Cakes says:

              GTFO of here. Donovan could take two years off to plays baseball and he’d still be greatest American ever. The guy has been playing excellent football for 11 years straight. Besides, Kobe, and I’ll give you Kobe (but that guy is basically nuts and over compensating for deep seeded insecurity) That type of consistent performance is rare. After a certain point he’s gotta ask himself what he’s playing for. And if its not to fill a void inside himself, then its got to be for love of the game. He’s never going to be Messi, He’s not gonna win a world cup. So what does he have left? Loving what he’s doing.

          • Sandy Box Donovan says:

            PS Don’t even think about bringing up MJ. He quit basketball because he conquered every won player and won every title there is and he got bored. Winning a couple MLS cups and making it past the groups stage in the WC a few times is nice little career for an American player but if Landon is as good as people make him out to be, he should always be thirsty for more.

            • Sandy Box Donovan says:

              *conquered every player

            • quozzel says:

              The guy has logged an insane number of miles and games over the years. In Europe players play in much smaller countries and log probably something like a tenth of the travel miles Donovan has…the guy has literally been EVERYWHERE – on loan stints in England with Everton, across the county a gazillion times with the Galaxy, down to every Banana Republic south of the border to get pelted with batteries and urine bags and the hatred of not just CONCACAF but often his own countrymen because he’s not Lionel Messi and the USA’s best player isn’t as “great” as they want him to be.

              Well, he’s the best we’ve had. And he’s toted the heavy mail for more than a decade. Do I find it reasonable that somebody who has been maintaining that schedule and pressure for years could start to burn out?

              Well, yeah. And I for one am glad he’s back. Is he ever going to be our Messi, our Maradona? Well, no. The USA hasn’t produced one of those yet and probably won’t for awhile, as young as we are as a soccer nation. The grassroots just aren’t there yet…but guys like Donovan have surely done their bit planting them, you know? Hard to knock what he’s accomplished. In his generation, arguably only Clint Dempsey has accomplished more, and that more at the club than national level.

              • AzTeXan says:

                I’ll settle with you guys. If Landon takes his game to another level after his break I’ll let it go. If he returns to the same level and nothing more than I simply won’t be able to respect him on the level of other guys who never take a break. I like Landon and think he’s been a fantastic contributor to US soccer but I just get the feeling he’s not reaching his full potential.

              • AzTeXan says:

                PS Yes I’m the same guy as Sandy Box Donovan. My work computer doesn’t save my posting info so I make a new one up every day.

              • pancholama says:

                +100,000

            • tw says:

              Not a nice little career – the best career ever for an American player. Let’s say he had transferred to Everton and then to Chelsea for 2-3 years and then fell out of favor. Would that greatly change your opinion of him?

              Maybe you should be thirsty for more than commenting on a soccer blog during your work day. See – being a pundit is easy!

              • AzTeXan says:

                I’m in grad school. I work hard every day. I’ve maxed my potential. I’m not afraid of a challenge. I’m not afraid to fail. Donovan can do whatever he wants. Just don’t tell me he’s reached his full potential.

                Dude probably would have gone to Europe but he boxed himself into staying with LA when he helped Grant Wahl write that Beckham book about how Becks was a diva and not a team player. Turns out Landy is every the diva Beckham was.

                In sum: LD is a great player, probably the best the US has ever produced. Also a huge hypocrite. Squandered some of his potential.

              • Jamie Z. says:

                You’re posting on your work computer you say, AzTeXan? You wouldn’t be posting on here if you had the same kind of dedication to your work as Gary, who is sitting in the cubicle next to you and Powerpointing up a storm. Frankly, you’re letting yourself down and you’re letting us all down. You’re soft, AzTeXan. Now get back to work and stop wasting everybody’s valuable time.

                Right?

              • AzTeXan says:

                @Jaime I’m a tutor this semester. If nobody comes in for tutoring I do other things that include commenting on blogs from time to time. I’d don’t take off 3+ months to do so. I didn’t say LD should play soccer every second of every day. He should show up to his job, because he’s a professional. Simple as that.

        • Travis in Miami says:

          +1000000000000000000

      • Sandy Box Donovan says:

        Leave Landy Cakes alone!!!!! Leave him alone!!!!!

        link to youtube.com

    • Josh D says:

      The Donovan of last year would struggle to get into the current side, I’d argue. Zusi has proven a good fit in Klinsi’s system and is having a stellar start to the season, as has Gomez who is finding a Renaissance under Klinsi, the likes of which he never had under Bradley. Then you have Shea who’s growing stronger in the Premier League and Gatt who Klinsi appears to favor as a project for bench options.

      He’s better than Johnson who keeps getting games, so there’s that. However, Klinsi has proven multiple times that he picks a team and sticks with them, preferring to develop a team as opposed to individuals.

      Donovan is a great player and if he has come back to the game ready to work, let’s see it. He shouldn’t get back in based on his past. He asked for a reset, let’s give him a Nats one too. He screwed over the team, Klinsi, his teammates, and the fans. Just because it’s the home stretch of US qualifiers, doesn’t mean he gets to be back on the bus to Brazil. He can prove himself, but we have to force him to do so.

      • Ramsizzler says:

        I’d say Zusi is more threatened by Donovan’s return than Gomez. As shown in the last few games, Klinsmann thinks Herc can play on the right OR left wing, while Zusi has predominantly only played on the right. While yes, Donovan can also play on both sides, having Donovan and Gomez potentially swapping sides throughout the game (a la Dempsey and Donovan with Bob) is something Klinsmann would love to have. Plus, Gomez and Donovan both offer more than Zusi in terms of defense, and Klinsmann defends first and attacks second.

        Right now, the team is pretty structured and stationary once Klinsmann rolls out the lineup. Donovan coming back and taking Zusi’s starting spot would give Klinsmann some attacking “freedom” that he so desperately craves, plus put Zusi in the super-sup role that he’s probably more suited for at the international level. Inserting Donovan in to the lineup would put more defensive and attacking qualities on the field from the start, while giving a substantial bump to the attacking options coming off the bench with Zusi available.

        • Josh D says:

          I don’t see Zusi as a supersub. I see Donovan as one.

          Zusi’s best attributes are his work rate and passing, both of which are hard to integrate 70 minutes in. Whereas Donovan’s strengths are his speed and offense, which are easy to sub in.

          It’s like trying to sub in Jozy expecting magic to happen. He’s not an impact player. Nor is Zusi or Gomez. They don’t change games. However, they are useful for starting.

          • Riggity says:

            Josh, I understand you think LD screwed over the team, but Zusi couldn’t carry Donovan’s jock. Zusi has literally done nothing offensively for the USNT and going forward we need more offense. I get your point that Donovan could make a better impact in a shorter period of time, but Donovan(if he can resemble himself) is in a different league than Zusi. Just becauze Zusi needs more time to make an impact doesn’t mean he should start. I’m not saying he shoukdn’t earn his way back but does anyone have any doubt he won’t? It may sound crazy but I could see Kaiser Gulati forcing JK to call himin eventually if JK drags his feet. Not saying it would happen but it’s not an insane thought.

            • Josh D says:

              I’m not saying Donovan is better than Zusi. What I’m arguing is at the moment Zusi fits perfectly into Klinsi’s system and it’s up to Donovan to steal that spot away. The team, as whole, managed to perform better in Azteca without Donovan.

              I doubt Donovan will earn back his spot. Last year’s Donovan was no better in MLS than Zusi. And Zusi has started this season off well.

              I like Donovan as a player. We could use the 2010 version. What I don’t like is everything thinking he deserves to start. He needs to work himself back in because the team has moved on without him. He has to catch up.

              • CG says:

                I agree with your points, but I don’t think most people would suggest he deserves to start straight away based on reputation. I think most people just feel that given a fair shake from Klinsmann he won’t have any trouble earning it back. I count myself as one of them.

              • Lil' Zeke says:

                That’s a lot of column inches to devote to a prediction that won’t pan out for you. I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you’re nearly immediately reminded of Donovan’s value; but the fact you’ll be suprised is beneath the level of your usually top-notch analysis. Maybe you haven’t been following the game for as long as I thought..?

              • Josh D says:

                I’ve followed the game since I was five. Sometimes you have to play devil’s advocate!

                Let’s see. It’ll be interesting to follow the Zusi v. Donovan story. Or maybe it’s the Donovan v. Gomez v. Shea story. Or can the sly Gatt sneak in? Stay tuned!

          • Judging Amy says:

            Zusi had his best game as a nat last game imo. I wasnt a big fan but he certainly proved me wrong. Tremendous workrate and fearlessness but also plays with real intelligence.

            I could see Herc fading. He didn’t look good yesterday and I think that’s how he’ll look against better teams as his heart and work rate can only carry him so far.

            • Falls City Outlaw says:

              He had a good defensive game (and I’ll take a point from the Azteca!) but his offensive contribution was next to nil. Herc’s wasn’t any better, but we need goals.

              • Josh D says:

                Jozy and Dempsey’s offensive contributions were next to none too. Let’s face it: Defensively we held our own. In midfield we kept possession. But offensively, we were crap. Jamaica out performed us in Azteca by tenfold.

                The Azteca has always been an emotional and psychological block to the USMNT. After Klinsi’s two performances there as a coach, I don’t expect us ever to fear that stadium again.

          • PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

            I like Zusi…but if you think that his best attributes are his work rate and passing and Donovan is 2-3 times better at both than Zues….why would you sit LD? “speed and offense” easy to sub in….and who was that in the last couple of games? EJ? Shea? Davis?
            It will take Donovan all of 15 minutes to fit in with the team dynamics. and the U.S. team will be better by a multiple of the 3 shots on goal they’ve managed in the last 3 games.

            • Josh D says:

              The comment was that Zusi would make a great off the bench player. I was trying to explain that he wouldn’t and if we were comparing the two, Landon is the better choice.

              Again, Landon can be that great player. And again, he wasn’t last year and he has to usurp Zusi. If Landon comes out and scores 10 goals in 5 games, great! But if he’s at two goals and an assist, while Zusi is still putting up his high numbers, Donovan should not start.

              Donovan wanted a restart, he got one. He has to prove himself at the club level before we allow him to start again.

              • Riggity says:

                The Donovan you saw last year wqs burned out and questioning his own will to compete. I think it is fair to say that anyone that goes through such a period would probably not perform as well as they could have last year. With his competitiive fire back blazing I think it would be silly to not expect Donovan to return to the form that we all remember and loved him for. I can’t speak for him but (after reading his comments) I would imagine when he watched the last 2 qualifiers he came to the realization that not only does he have an opportunity to become an extremely important player the was desperately need, but also that this is his last opportunity to represent his country on the biggest stage in soccer. Yes, I know that he has already played in 3 World.Cups but I am sure that during the last World Cup it never crossed his mind that this was his “last ride”. I can’t see any other outcome than him killing himself to get back to get back to the form that can take the NATS to another level.

              • Josh D says:

                Donovan burned out by not evening playing the same number of games as a typical EPL player. He burned out thanks to a weak psych.

          • Dan says:

            “I don’t see Zusi as a supersub. I see Donovan as one.” OR Put Donovan in for Jozy…
            Herc’
            Shea–Deuce– LD/Zusi
            niiiiice

        • Paul says:

          Who’s to say that Donovan can still play at such a high level? Sure, the Donovan of 2009-2010 is much better than a present day Zusi, but I think it is premature to pencil Donovan into the starting lineup before he even kicks a ball again. After all, his form could suck, and he could be left out of the team for years. Or the lack of training and conditioning could lead to injuries. I mean, look at Beasley.

      • Tom says:

        Josh, I agree in general with your first premise that Donovan is not the lock on the national team that he was 4-6 years ago…but your second paragraph/comment that Klinsmann “picks a team and sticks with them”….ahhhhhhhh…that’s a joke, right? Klinsmann has fielded a different lineup literally EVERY SINGLE GAME. How could he stick less to a team than he is? Now, I’m not making a value statement when I say that…it might be a good or bad thing that he constantly changes the lineup, and some of the time it’s dictated by player availability…but you can’t say he picks a team and sticks with them.

        • Josh D says:

          His line-ups are different, however, the majority of his team are picked every time. He has a core group. The four or so slots up for grabs changes. Donovan is fighting for one of those.

          Boyd, Davis, Beasley, and Beckerman were the four this time around. Others were new like Beltran, but their inclusion was out of desperation more so than being a fringe player. However, now I expect Beasley to be a mainstay.

          • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

            I’d expect a slight tactical change when Donovan returns. Lets not pretend he isn’t coming back. Yes, he has to “earn it.” He will because he is undoubtedly still one of our 2-3 best players. I’d be in favor of something like this.

            ———————–Howard
            ————————Back4———————-
            ———-Bradley—-Jones——Zusi
            —————Donovan—-Dempsey
            ———————–Altidore

            • Herschel Skywalker says:

              Agreed. Actually, I think a 4-2-2-2 is our best option, with the fullbacks playing as wingbacks, Donovan and Deuce playing as CAMs, and two strikers in middle (Josie needs a partner). That way, the CAMs can get freedom to roam and when Deuce gets tired of running, he can play up front. We have a wealth of CAMs that we should use, but D & D are still the best and that is their natural position.

              • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

                I like the 4-3-2-1 as it gets our creative attacking players in a position where they can succeed and keeps us solid though the center. When either Donovan or Dempsey gets on the ball, the other can push forward as a 2nd striker. We also have Bradley, Jones and Zusi who would make their money working hard defensively and making late runs into the box. Outside backs give us width. I’m biased but I only see positives here.

            • Dan says:

              Gomez out-plays & out-hustles Jozy in very category….LD coming back should reduce Jozy’s time

              • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

                At this point its still Jozy’s job to lose, but he has to start contributing some goals soon enough or Klinsmann will look elsewhere. I’d still expect to see Jozy in the starting lineup for the next two qualifiers.

          • beachbum says:

            this I disagree with more than many other things you’ve posted here today and the lineup changes show that out. I’m not complaing about it but disagreeing with your take on things. It’s an ever evolving unit, that’s what’s going on

      • Dan says:

        Agreed. His form last year was suspect. I think it had to do with his head not being in the game. He’ll return to form. I’d take a wager that he’ll be lining up for the next round of qualifiers.

      • wilyboy says:

        There’s one crucial thing that Donovan provides that Zusi lacks- goals and assists.

        And speed.

        Let’s face it, Donovan is just better.

        It would be difficult for any player to come back to the team in the organizations history but Donovan. I wish it was, but should we really expect him to prove himself? What could be possibly prove in a few months that he hasn’t proved a hundred times over?

        Donovan is a rock star. You can hate who he is and the choices he makes, but he is always going to walk back in whenever he wants to. And the band will have to grit their teeth and keep playing.

        Honestly, it’s about time.

      • MikeG says:

        Donovan only needs to prove he is fit, game ready, and not injured. The rest will take care of itself. It’s more a question of what position he is put in at the time he comes back. I’m glad he took time off. It may look selfish on his part, but it was for the right reasons. Now, he sees the right reasons to return. We do not have to force Landon to do anything. Landon will put enough pressure on himself.

      • keithbabs79 says:

        If you believe that the Donovan of last year would struggle to get into the current side, than please explain how he screwed over the team, Klinsi, and his teammates.

      • CorkSoccer says:

        Dude..whavever you’re smoking I’ll like some. Seriously???? Donovan>>>>Zusi

      • Bruce says:

        Has Landon ever NOT been ready to work? he is the fittest, hardest working player around. Welcome back LD!

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        There’s no way Zusi, Jozy, Boyd, EJ beat him out if he gets back fit and in form. He offers speed, fitness, crossing, technical aspects at a level they can’t. You can bring in the big fellahs late, or Zusi off the bench, which is about as much as he deserves on his play.

        Chandler all over again. He was pretty open about what he was doing, and he’s been a quality player for us. If he establishes his bona fides — and he would have two friendlies to do it — I think you have to at least have him on the roster. At minimum, bring him into camp and see what he has. Assuming he stays healthy.

      • Paul Miller says:

        Zusi? Really?

        I suppose JK will make Donovan sweat it out for a bit: “3… 2… 1… okay, we’ll take you back. Got your bags packed?”

    • danny says:

      Nice beard!

    • chris_thebassplayer says:

      Yep, in a major way. JK will rightfully make him earn his place and we’ll see the very best from LD.

    • Chicago Pete says:

      Tony
      I hope so unlikely. All of you must understand, Landon has has the best career for an American in the US. Yes, he went to Everton and played very well but you cant tell me that every true US fan didn’t want him to stay there and be the best American player ever. He did not because he waned to be the best here, in the US. Again, he has had a great US career but anyone who says he has had a better career then Keller, Friedel, McBride, Dolo, Dempsey, Bradely, or even Ricky Davis (sorry, had to put him in there for fun) is flat wrong. There guys played (or are playing) at a higher level CONSISTENTLY the Landon ever did.
      I have been on the Landy Cakes wagon for a while but I also understand that he is a HUGE part of the USMNT success for the last 10 years. Do I want him back? Yes. He brings something to the team that even I cannot understand but he will make himself a presence on the team as a very important role player, a player who does his role perfectly but not expected to take over a game.
      WOW. That was a lot of rambling. Love to hear your thoughts.
      All the Georgie Best

  2. JC says:

    Between MLS and CCL he’ll get plenty of playing time to get back in the picture. He’ll be with the team USMNT against Belgium & Germany. He’ll be used as a substitute and then JK will see how well he fits in with the team. I would guess that that most players would welcome him back no questions asked.

    • Jake says:

      Not sure if they plan to play him in the CCL. Its only a week or two away (or 3?) unless they make the finals in which case he’d easily be ready for those games. I suppose he could play in the 2nd leg possibly.

      • JC says:

        You’re right, next Wednesday probably isn’t going to happen but after that there is a chance. Would love to see a Galaxy vs Sounders final so I hope he’s able to contribute something and get back in position for USMNT by late May. Its time an MLS team wins CCL.

      • NC Jeff says:

        Well, if the Galaxy don’t use him in their CCL games, they obviously have to use others … others that could use a rest during league games beforehand or afterwards. So, with the Galaxy’s MLS and CCL games, and the USMNT’s friendlies, I think he’ll get enough time to possibly be a starter for the June friendlies … of course, he may not have to start and play all 270mins. of those 3 games.

  3. JkR~ says:

    er, why is Galaxy still in DC?

  4. Steve says:

    Klinsmann doesn’t have to love Donovan taking this sabbatical, but he does need to do what is best for the team….and it’s impossible to argue starting Donovan on one wing in June instantly makes the US markedly better. The only exception to this would be if the players objected, but I can’t see how a team led by Howard, Bradley, Dempsey and Altidore wouldn’t take Donovan back with open arms. He needs to be on the field in June.

    • PD says:

      Having said that, I do think it would be good for LD to be in a situation where someone really fights him for a starting spot.

      I think this is much more likely to happen in LA rather than on the USMNT, mainly because I do not think Zusi, Gatt, Bedoya, Diskerrud, Feilhaber or even Chandler, Williams or Torres have really shown anything that trumps what LD has historically shown on the flank.

      That said, he’s gotta show it now.

    • steveo says:

      if Timmy Chandler can walk back into the after the two years of melodrama, I don’t see how LD would not be welcomed back…considering that LD’s contribution to the team has been only 1000-10000x greater (might be an underestimation)-compare a few friendlies for Chandler with 3 world cup, qualifying campaigns, Gold Cups, etc…. There isn’t a single US player who can pull rank over him-he’s been the longest tenured from this group, ex-Beasley.

      Every member of the current team set-up came into the squad with LD as one of its veterans and leaders.

      • biff says:

        + 1,000,000, steveo. well put.

      • Steve says:

        +1,000,000

        I was completely forgetting about Chandler when I wrote my post. No way you can punish a player who has given so much to the USMNT over 12 years for saying he needed a rest while instantly handing a starting spot over to someone who turned down invitations while actively looking to play for another country.

      • beachbum says:

        ding ding ding

  5. Irant and Irave says:

    I wish my boss was as understanding…

    • Kevin_Amold says:

      Me too. Then again, if I had a skill as indispensable to my boss as Donovan is to his, then I might get the same leeway. My only world class skill is snarky comments on the interwebs.

  6. dantheblue says:

    I ran in to him at an organic grocery store in Redlands, CA in late February. He was setting up a new apartment and getting his foodstock in order. I approached him and he was very cool. Didn’t take or ask to take a picture so my wife went over and asked him if he minded… So when she called me over to do so he started mocking her words to me mimicing her voice… lol… Anyways, I’m very happy to have him back in the gaLAxy fold… maybe he gets on the pitch Wednesday vs Monterrey… That would be very VERY nice… I want to BLAST that team out of HDC, especially if they bring a top squad…

    • Gnarls says:

      Setting up an apartment in Redlands? Good for him if that’s the case. Sounds like he’s made some real changes in order to reconnect with his family.

  7. Gnarls says:

    Glad to have him back. It’s great to hear he’s found his old fire. Now let’s hope he finds his old form.

  8. DanO says:

    Welcome back. Now earn your place.

    A healthy and in form Donovan makes everyone better.

  9. RedBull to CO says:

    Sure thing bud, you got some rookies to compete with…hungry rookies

  10. Ramsizzler says:

    Welcome back, LD. Klinsmann’s new found appreciation for the 4-2-3-1 looks like the right flank just got shored up. June qualifiers could be a fun time for a team that looks like it’s coming together, both on and off the field. Hopefully with a potent attacking option that can also defend the flank pretty dang well on the right now, the 3 defensive mid formation will continue to stay far far away from the field.

    Potential lineup come June with everyone healthy again:

    ——————–Howard——————-
    Chandler—-Gonzo—-Cameron—FJ
    ———-Bradley——Jones————–
    Donovan—————————Gomez
    —————Captain ‘Merica————-
    ———————-Jozy———————

    • PD says:

      Again, Deuce has not traditionally been referred to as Captain America. He already has a nickname.

      Please stop making me be that guy.

      • Ramsizzler says:

        Because law dictates a guy can only have one nickname…

        Tough crowd.

        • Nick says:

          And it’s different, Captain America is Claudio Reyna, but why can’t Deuce be Captain ‘Merica? I’m in.

          • CplDaniel says:

            Because he is already Deuce and Captain Great State of Texas & Those-49-lessor States. Glad that Dallas man, Omar Gonzales has shown so well for the Team USA in their hour of defensive need. Cometh the momen, cometh the man and that man is Omar Gonzales.

            • TomG says:

              I would like to also submit the following possibilities:

              1. Captain Nacogdoches
              2. Captain Deuce Face

      • JC says:

        Does that mean we shouldn’t refer to LD as both PrimaDonovan and Landycakes?

      • "That Guy" says:

        A tip for PD, if you want to keep the few friends you have I would take it upon yourself to simply not be the “guy” that ramsizzler seemed to rub the wrong way. And shame on you for making me “that guy”, but thank you for new nickname.

    • MLSsnob says:

      I love Gomez but I dont see what he’s done in a US jersey that warrants him being an unquestioned starter. He’s a goal poacher whose only goal I can think of lately has been on a well taken free kick.

      • Skyman says:

        Wih all due respect, you need to watch what he does more carefully. He challenges for the ball constantly, holds up very well, is incredibly mentally AND physically tough – the guy is one of my favorites for all of the said attributes. Oh, and he will deliver a needed goal occasionally, unlike any of our other strikers to date.

      • Marcus says:

        In my mind, he’s the only other potential winger/forward besides Donovan who brings BOTH effort and skill. That makes him a starter for me.

    • baropbop says:

      Starting Jozy alone up top is an awesome idea. Super effective.

    • bryan says:

      i’d seriously consider Beasley on that left wing. tough though because Gomez is great too.

  11. ChiTown says:

    Judging by the comments from Howard and such about Landon’s walkabout, it’s going to take a lot of making up with his teammates and pushing hard in camp to return to that starting line up with respect.

    • biff says:

      I bet you, ChiTown, that Howard regrets those comments. Plus, they came at a time with a lot team tension in Honduras as we now know from the Sporting News article

    • chris_thebassplayer says:

      I don’t think he’ll need to win back his teammates. I think they know what he’s all about and understand what he did will ultimately benefit the team long term…they love the guy.

  12. Indigo Montoya says:

    yes.

    shane, come back!

  13. DC Josh says:

    Welcome back Landon. Sorry to hear he still has the “itch,” maybe he should try some tough-acting Tinactin.

    • Ramsizzler says:

      I would love to see people analyze whether the locker room will welcome him back “with open arms” on this comment, and this comment only.

  14. biff says:

    ——————Herc———-

    Beasley—–Dempsey—–DONOVAN

    ——————–Jones——–
    ————MB————

    Castillo–Besler–Gonzalez—Cameron

    • JC says:

      I like it, especially moving Beasley from LB. BUT as soon as FJ is healthy, he’s going right back into the starting lineup.

      • biff says:

        I am a huge fan of Fabian Johnson, JC, but his form has dipped this season, while Castillo’s has skyrocketed. I don’t think either has a lock on the LB slot at this time and if both are competing for the slot will be great for the team and also great to have a top-class back up LB. Same at left wing with Shea breathing down DMB’s neck. Can only be good for the team.

        • JC says:

          FJ has dipped and Castillo is playing great. Guess I still need to see him more on a national level before I’m sold as the starter. I could see him being the starting LB for the Gold Cup roster this summer and really have a chance to impress. I’m 100% with you on DMB on the left wing and fighting Shea for minutes. They bring something different to the team but we could use each of them effectively against different teams.

      • danny says:

        really Biff? Beasley and Castillo on the Left? What has Castillo shown for the Nats? Fabian Johnson is one of our most talented players and has show the potential to be a standout for many years to come. I do like continuing to try out Gonzales and Besler combo and I like the idea of competition with Chandler for outside back. Also worth considering playing Chandler on the right wing. Beasley is a good guy to have as a utility/backup player with experience.

        • biff says:

          I repeat, danny, i like F. Johnson and have been a stong advocate of him from the very beginning. But I also like Castillio. You know, the form of of players is not static. Things change. When is the last time Castilo played in a US shirt? I think it was Mexico last August and he was excellent that game. We beat ‘em, and without MB and other regulars. Castillo is even better now. No one owns a spot on the USMNT. You got fight to keep it, and that inlcudes the great (no sarcasm intended) Fabian Johnson. Actually, I think Fabian and Castillo are among our most gifted technical players.

        • byrdman says:

          I got to agree with Danny. No way FJ does not start when he comes back. Now Biff may think Castillo needs a run, but if both are healthy. Sorry Biff JK is going with FJ.

    • Arty says:

      My only comment is: what are we Italy? That’s the oldest front 5 (sans Bradley) we would have ever fielded. That said, I wouldn’t feel bad fielding it. If Klinsman deserves credit for anything, it’s that we have a pool of players from young guys to seasoned vets like Beasley and Goodson who are ready to step in and assume the responsibility and pressure. Not sure we’ve ever had that before, and definitely a positive to come from his 24 different lineups. Before we always knew what 11 guys we had, and god help us if there was an injury. At least that’s how it felt.

      • biff says:

        funny thing, Arty, I was thinking the exact same thing when I posted that. But I think right now in the here and now those older guys offer us the strongest starting line. I agree they might not be the option next summer in Brazil. But right now we are in a dogfight and have to win games. Maybe if we are lucky enough to clinch WCQ with a few games to spare, then Klinsmann can bring in the younger guys. but also, having the older guys starting gives the younger guys aching to win a starting spot for WC 2014 something to fight for and will potentially make them that much better.

      • chris says:

        Klinsmann deserves credit for that??? Are you sure it isnt the fact that we have more players playing at a higher club level?? No youre right thank god, actually thank JK, that he found Goodson, Beasley, Gomez, Castillo, Parkhurst, Cameron, Chandler, Gonzo, Jones, Dempsey, Jozy, Donovan, Shea, Howard, Guzan, Rimando, Corona, Orozco fiscal, Buddle, Edu, Beckerman, Klejstan, Torres, Gooch, Cherundolo, Feilhaber, Agudelo. Its too bad all these players were called up by Bob Bradley

  15. IvanRG says:

    Heck yeah, welcome back Landon, this US team needs you, the offense will definately improve with Landon.

  16. Enrique says:

    At 31, Donovan is better than Suzi or Shea and will be back for the next qualifiers. I know people are upset he took time off but we all function differently. He needed time to sort out his personal life and that is not a crime. By the time qualifiers are done no one will be talking about this anymore.

  17. jidax says:

    Altidore will be scoring again once Donovan is back with the MNT

  18. David says:

    It would be great if he could come back and add some incisiveness to a very dull offense on the national team, but like he admitted he has to earn it. As of today, he’s had a couple serious training sessions with the Galaxy and no competitive games since November. So, he has some work to do to catch up physically. And, as many pointed out, he might have to do some fence mending with the coaching staff and the players who have been busting butt in the qualifiers. If he really gets going, the June games aren’t out of the question, but Klinsmann might leave him out until fall depending on who is fit and in form at the end of May when he calls the camp together.

    • JC says:

      If the June games are out of the question, would we consider him for the gold cup roster? Seems strange to have him be on the “B” squad but could that help him prepare for the Sept/Oct qualifiers if he’s not ready in June?

    • Riggity says:

      With some of the roster fillers that JK brings in for the qualifiers (Brad Davis, Orozco-Fiscal…) there should be no reason LD doesn’t make the roster(assuming he is healthy and back in form). Yes, I know that there were plenty of injuries causing many fringe or below fringe players to be called in but IMO if he is going to call Kljestian and not play him for a minute then he should leave Sacha in Belgium and bring Donovan in asap to begin integrating with the team again. It is funny how people wanted us to call him in for the CR& MEX matches but now people are saying he shouldn’t be called in for the June WCQ’s but the Gold Cup instead.

  19. 2tone says:

    Maybe not an automatic starter right away, but he will definitely be in Klinsmanns final 23 player roster for the June qualifiers. My guess he is starting for the USMNT again when they take on Panama in Seattle.

  20. malkin says:

    Anybody got those stats on Jozy’s goals when Landon is and isn’t on the field?

    I think there’s only 2 of 13 where Landon wasn’t there (Poland and Slovenia). But I’d also be curious to see the percentages (ie goals per game) since if he’s played 6 times more games with Landy than without, the stat is meaningless.

  21. Indigo Montoya says:

    Seriously, if fit, how does LD not walk straight back into the first 11? Nobody else in the current squad brings to the table what he can if fit.

    • Don says:

      +1. No american player, past or present, can walk into an EPL side and impact a team the way LD did at Everton.

      • CrankyOldRef says:

        -2. Please take a look at Dempsey’s EPL career. Note: that is a career, not a few cameos when not on sabbatical. Then there was McBride, and that’s just the field players….

  22. Crazy Jon says:

    Hey can pound sand. I’m over him.

    • Crazy Jon says:

      He*

    • Raymon says:

      Until he provides service and assists to Jozy, Herc, or Clint. Until he smashes one in front of Ochoa. Until he puts in 90 solid minutes working with MB90 to own the middle of the park,

    • whoop-whoop says:

      I understand the impulse to respond that way, but there is another way of looking at it.

      It’s not like the man can just show up and go through the motions. He has to perform at an elite level under intense scrutiny and plenty of pressure.

      Having been through 3 previous WC qualifiers and tourneys, I’d say LD is well aware of what it demands. If he feels he isn’t in a place to give !00%, stepping away is not turning his back on anyone, it is respecting his team mates, the guy who is willing to step into his spot and give his all…his coach, and the the game.

      I’m glad he’s back and sounding ready to go. If it’s the case, he brings elements no one else has been able to provide that we’re sorely in need of. Think the vets on this team aren’t well aware of this? Think Bradley doesn’t want options to pass to, that Gomez, Demps and Altidore don’t crave some of that inter-play and service and the space he’ll immediately provide? Without question, he comes in motivated, he’ll be welcomed with open arms and playing in June.

    • Bruce says:

      he is not into you either.

  23. ATX_Colin says:

    I dont really have a problem with LD sabbatical but I do find part of his reasoning (reconnect with family) odd. I am assuming he is referring to his sister and parents as I dont believe he has any kids and is divorced. I am not downplaying the importance of those relationships it just seems whenever athletes or politicians use the ol “need to spend more time with the family routine it involves spouses and kids. Me personally I can only spend a few days with my parents and siblings before I would go running but that’s just me.

    • Your local psychiatrist says:

      Your not supposed to understand all of it because it’s his life and you don’t know what his situation really is.

  24. MikeG says:

    Klinnsman has no hatred of Donovan. Donovan only has to prove he is game ready and in form with no injuries. Fans upset with him, I was one of them for awhile, will soon get over it. After his first game or two back all will be forgiven by everybody and it will not matter anymore. He is not a super sub on the USMNT..that is something fabricated by fans upset with his time off. Donovan can still scorch opposing teams in MLS or international level. Donovan is still in his prime and has not peaked, but getting close to it. His time off may have added a year or two to his playing time..something we can all appreciate.

    • Riggity says:

      Totally agree about those who are labeling him as a super sub. They feel like he broke up with them and they want to make him beg for them to take them back. Just like Daryl’s big brother Meril, HE AIN’T GONNA BEG.

  25. bryan says:

    assuming LD is back for June, and we’re fully recovered from these injuries, here is what I think the 23 will be:

    Howard, Guzan, S. Johnson
    Dolo, Chandler, Cameron, Goodson, Omar, Besler, F. Johnson, Castillo
    Bradley, Jones, Donovan, Zusi, Beasley, Corona, Shea, Edu
    Gomez, Jozy, Dempsey, Boyd

    personally, I would call Hamid in but I’m sure Hamid will be the Gold Cup guy. Edu could easily be switched for Williams, but Klinsmann likes Edu, so I can only see Williams getting selected over Edu if he is in top form. Players like Gatt, Mix, Bedoya, etc. can obviously all play their way in, but again, I think they’ll be more Gold Cup players. Torres could easily make his way into this lineup as can Kljestan, but I’m not sure who they would replace at the moment.

    and this goes without saying, this is assuming these players come back from injury and get back to the form they were at, or better.

    • bryan says:

      and Parkhurst has to start playing to be considered.

      • MikeG says:

        IF I remember correctly, Parkhurst was set to start and take over at RB, but got sick, and had to pull out. I have no idea what has been going on since then…he definitely needs playing time. He stepped up a league and he needs to step up as well.

        • bryan says:

          yeah, there were a few issues with his health. but still, he needs to actually get the start now.

  26. Brain Guy says:

    LD is saying all the right things, and he seems to have a sympathetic ear Coach/Psychologist/Motivator Klinsmann, but it will be fascinating to watch the process of his trying to fit back into the team, both tactically and personally. He has not played a competitive match in four months, so normal application of JK’s rules would put him way down on the depth chart. Still, if he shows the same skill and spark with LA as always, JK will surely find a spot for him. I wish I could eavesdrop on the MNT locker room conversations, though.

    • Riggity says:

      You don’t have to, some angry fringe players will eventually go to a writer and tell them everything you want to hear…just give it time

  27. Hector says:

    Let’s not get carried away with guys who help the US national team for a game or two. Landon Donovan is the best American player ever produced. Does anyone remember who helped us qualify for the 2010 World Cup with a crucial goal in the 2009 hex? None other than Conor Casey.
    Was he on the World Cup roster? No. Landon Donovan will be on the team as soon as he is ready.

  28. Adam M. says:

    For the Nats, Donovan needs to play a false 9 role, pushing high into a striker role but also tracking back all around the final third, using his speed to make diagonal runs and play off of Jozy and Dempsey. Donovan has a tendency to lose the game sitting wide on the wing, particularly if no one is making an overlapping run that gives him freedom to cut inside a little, and crossing isn’t a strength. We really don’t have another player who can pull off this role (Gomez doesn’t have the midfielder instincts, Shea doesn’t have the striker’s nose for goal), and its also exactly what we need to unleash Jozy and get a little more consistently dangerous on offense. DMB was so successful last week in part because he brought incredibly energy. That’s what Donovan has the potential to bring back to the offense, a churn that is entirely lacking right now. Hope he comes back with fire under his feet and that Klinsman uses him the right way.

    • jon says:

      that’s the role JK has deuce playing. he ain’t push his captain out for dononvan. Donovan will be on wing, where i think he’s very effective – and I think he crosses and passes from out wide quite well.

  29. chris says:

    Jozy, Bradley, Dempsey and Donovan linking up is what we need

  30. baropbop says:

    Donovan discussed his timeline and intentions with JK before leaving. If you don’t think he will quickly become a starter, you are delusional. The USMNT midfield has looked horrendous in almost every game they have played. I don’t see how anyone is satisfied with anything close to the current lineup even if they are getting results by the skin of their teeth.
    My fantasy scenario is:
    ————-Guzan—————
    cam—gonzo—besler—-castillo
    ————-edu———————-
    FJ———————Beasley
    ————-Bradley———-
    —–Donovan——-Dempsey

    A very solid ACCOUNTABLE defense and an extremely fluid offense where all players are capable of advancing as well as covering.
    Love the recent clean sheets. However, the recent lack of goals makes me go for a strategy where you put the 3 guys most likely to score forward and let them go for it. Plus MB,LD, and 2 have chemistry and history. Love the fact that it also gives outside mids and fullbacks who can swap on counters. Willing to tolerate JJ for Edu, but I over all in this role I prefer Edu.

      • Steve says:

        2nd.

      • baropbop says:

        I know many people love Herc and Altidore and Zusi and others, but they aren’t getting it done. The fact that Jozy got pulled so early at Azteca is the most positive sign from JK yet. For whatever reason his club form does not translate. He isn’t getting it done. Probably has a lot to do with midfield play, but ultimately he has had many many many chances and just isn’t producing. How many more chances does Jozy get? At some point you have to pull the plug.
        If you want to put in Herc or Altidore or whoever this lineup can easily adjust to different positions due to the versatility of the players.

        • JC says:

          I thought Jozy “got it done” against CR. I think Herc has proven himself effective in qualifiers when playing alone up top. Depending on the opponent and strategy, I think the team needs either Herc or Jozy up top depending on the opponent and who’s in form. For CONCACAF qualifiers, i lean towards Herc.

          I don’t agree with:
          1. Dempsey and Donovan up top
          2. Bradley as a CAM
          3. Edu instead of JJ

          I’ll give you DMB and FJ on the wings though.

          • baropbop says:

            1. There isn’t anyone on this roster who can play the lone striker role effectively. Dempsey and Donovan and Bradley would all be free to move around up top as they see fit.
            2. Bradley has a turnover that results in a goal or at least a very good chance every game. He can’t drop back to fullback if the outside backs push up, Edu can. MB does however, stumble into goals from time, though not lately.
            3. JJ is just too much of a liability with fouls in my opinion. His upside isn’t great enough to outweigh that. He has played very poorly when placed on the wing. He just doesn’t fit into the JK system. At least not if that system ever wants to play possession and score multiple goals. I’m not saying he isn’t one of the best players. But he isn’t an offensive weapon, a composed player of possession, or a defender who can fall all the way back to fullback.

            • baropbop says:

              I realize MB and JJ have both had some great games indiviually, but it has been a long time since the midfield as a whole looked good. 4231 and 433 aren’t working like they should. Mexico was so unafraid of the midfield they played with 4 forwards and they still didn’t put much together.

            • Riggity says:

              …kinda a bad time to say Jones is too risky in the tackle and you would go with Edu after he mugged Aquno in the box 2 days ago…and Van Nistelroy would have the same amount of goals as Jozy in his last couple games if we put him up top. The guy is all alone up there.

        • pancholama says:

          They reason they “are not getting it done” is because our current mid-field play is top heavy on defensive back pedalling, back passing, and back tracking to recover lost possession (which by the way – the US has a bad, bad habit of giving possession up cheaply, way too often with errant passes, passes delivered with too much hesitation, telegraphing the direction of play to the opposition, etc.) The reason, Jozy, Herc and EJ are not “getting the job done” is because they are starving for service and the support of incisive, creative, possession minded, technical attacking mid-field play.
          Just listen to the British commentators, or if you have ears to understand the other foreign commentators, Mexican, Argentinian, Russian, Portuguese, what have you – they all say basically the same thing. We don’t have the skill on the ball to maintain an attacking style of play. It’s not the fault of the forwards, who in their respective leagues, surrounded by a decent supporting cast – do a decent job of putting the ball in the “old onion bag” when they are given the opportunity to.
          We need 3-4 guys who can direct the midfield, and work it on the wings with the speed of Donovan, the skill of Freddy Adu, and the defensive tenacity of Demarcus Beasley / Michael Bradley. Give me three or four guys who run like OJ Simpson / Adrian Peterson (or in the basketball analogy: run the back court like Jason Kidd, or Walt Frazier) and dribble like Freddy Adu and the rest of the soccer world is toast. Toast. We will be feared by all nations, at all times, in any stadium at altitude or at sea level.
          Until those guys appear, until we have 8-9 guys like that in the depth chart – we are going to be playing boot and run, defend and counter bunker ball.

    • Charles Barkley says:

      TURRIBLE!

  31. Jason says:

    Donovan’s going to kick some butt. It may take a while, but things are looking up. Donovan getting the hunger back. Holden about to start getting some games at Wednesday. June qualifiers and Gold Cup are going to be interesting. :)

  32. Chris2 says:

    Donovan needs to take it slow coming back. He is at the age where pushing too hard after time off can cause injuries (typically hamstring pulls).

  33. chris says:

    hahahaha i love it! Its ok for Chandler to walk right into this team after not feeling like committing but Donovan, the best player the US has ever produced, who has scored the most and played the most games for the USMNT ever decides to take a 3 month break from the game and he has to earn his spot back on the team?

    All i can do is shake my head at US fans these days. First Michael Bradley only plays because of his dad, then Dempsey sucks, then Bob Bradley sucks at coaching (JK is playing the same formations Bob did, the same core players and an even more defensive game plan while simultaneously killing our counter attack and set pieces while Bob has Egyt playing attacking soccer), now Jozy sucks, now Dempsey sucks again and now Donovan isnt good enough to start. I cant wait to see what theyre going to say next

    • Brian says:

      you sir, win the comments section for today. spot on how I feel. and whoever is saying Zusi over LD seriously need to be evaluated for medical conditions. I respect Zusi for his great workrate and “sometimes” good passing. But he was mediocre AT BEST offensively. Doesn’t provide anything besides the occasional outlet pass. While Donovan is our all time leading scorer and our best passer bar none and even at his age has the best pace on the team. You’ve got to be kidding me!!!

      • Riggity says:

        My favorite has been… Zusi’s game is the kind that can’t make an impact in just 30 minutes(which is how the LD haters say “ZUSI HAS NO IMPACT ON THE GAME!!”) and Donovan’s game is the kind that can with his speed and other abilities so naturally Zusi should start(while we waste an hour seeing if Zusi can make an impact and once we realize that he hasn’t and we are down 2 goals…) and Donovan should be a super sub so he can come on and change the game…Hey haters, here’s an idea, start the better player so he can change the game from the beginning and leave the stop gap on the bench where he belongs. I thought Zusi’s bigtime quality was his set piece delivery? We don’t even allow him to do the thing he does best, put him on the bench please. (not to say Gomez was stellar in that area)

    • byrdman says:

      Not saying JK is a world beater, but to go along with your account of BB’s tenure,(same players, same shape, yada yada yada…) How do you not see that JK’s teams put up better numbers than ANY other coach last year. They won at ITALY and in AZTECA. Do I think JK is a great coach, No way. But he has out performed BB with this group.

      The reality is, that I don’t really think this is the same group. Different Donovan, different Boca, no Bornstein (praise the Lord), Shea, Boyd, Gomez all getting time that they didn’t get with BB. The list could go on. It’s not BB’s fault or JK’s credit. It’s called time. Guys grow and guys grow older. But you have to manage what you have. JK had no defense, so he set out to solve that. He did it with 3 DMids every game. We played ugly football. I think he was surprised by the lack of talent in the back, and had to change from “attacking football with the mentality of the USA” to let’s grind it out until we find some guys who can cover themselves in the back.

      Now maybe Gonzo and Besler and Cameron can figure it all out. We have seen the double pivot recently. Hopefully things will continue to grow toward a more offensive style. Although some would say that 3 Dmids and sometimes more, was quite offensive.! As always, I enjoy the banter. Thanks to all who contribute

      • chris says:

        Of course people grow but all I’m saying is people try to act like bob was this horrible coach but he was better than people give him credit for. He did wonders with what he was given

  34. RedCru says:

    He brought us this…glad to have him back!!!
    link to youtube.com

  35. Steve says:

    It’s funny, but I felt like the US team was a wreck after the Honduras game, I didn’t even know what formation fit best never mind who would play. They were a wreck offensively and defensively.

    I actually feel *much* better about our offense seeing how our defense can now play. With Donovan coming back, we can keep Bradley & Jones in the middle and have more than enough creativity and attack.

    Chandler ————Gonzalez—————-Besler——————-Fabian
    Jones——————-Bradley
    Gomez———–Dempsey———-Donovan
    Altidore
    Cameron can compete with / back up both Besler and Chandler, and we could still use an improved right wing, but that lineup should be able to defend and score. For all the bashing on Jozy, his hold up play has been very good. I’d love to see how good it is dishing the ball to Dempsey and Donovan.

    • bryan says:

      bro, if you want to be realistic, you have to have Cameron in your lineup. he isn’t going to back up anyone, especially Besler. he’ll start over Besler all day, every day until Besler is in Europe or Cameron is at RB.

  36. Dimidri says:

    If he wants to, he could easily play in Russia in 2018. Perhaps not as a starter, and perhaps not on the wing ( a la Giggs), but he is that good. If he wants to.

  37. beachbum says:

    Wow. Any of you who don’t think LD would help the USMNT are seriously out to lunch. Or that he doesn’t deserve to wear the uniform, that’s comedy. Fact is LD is the exact kind of player the team has been missing and it doesn’t take a soccer brain to understand it

  38. Landon Donovan says:

    Good news folks. I had my vagina sewn closed so now I can play again.

  39. Andy says:

    Someday, this year, I hope to see the following in front of our back line…

    ————Jozy——————
    Herc–Dempsey–Donovan
    ——Bradley–Holden——–

  40. The Imperative Voice says:

    The subtle, almost taken for granted point here is he is interested and not internationally retired, if there was any question.

  41. Brian says:

    Donovan should take Zusi’s spot. Donovan is dangeous going forward particularly on the counter which is exactly what the USA needed against Mexico. It may not be as critical during qualifying against the teams not nicknamed “El Tri”, but would be imperative in the World Cup. It is a no-brainer.

  42. Mike says:

    I think in the end Donovan’s return will be decided by the guys in the locker room. Snubbing the National team and trying to reenter the team will be very difficult and I don’t care what the coaches and players might say publicly it could be problematic.

    I know a few have brought up Chandler but it’s different with Landon…he is more polarizing and sort of broke an unwritten code. The codes of the game, while some might consider silly, do exist and are not taking lightly by those who honor them

    • Michael F SBI Mafia Original says:

      Is that based on all your years on the national team?

    • beachbum says:

      who does LD polarize? what unwritten code?

    • Brian says:

      I don’t buy it. I don’t agree with LD’s little walkabout but no would question his commitment to representing the USA. And I don’t think he snubbed the team. He wasn’t playing at the time and therefore wasn’t fit. It’s plain and simple. When he is playing and fit, it would answer the call.

      The same can’t be said for Chandler.

      As far as the unwritten code…too bad it is unwritten because I’d like to read more about it.

      • Riggity says:

        The best part about it is that because it is unwritten people like mike and constantly amend it to help them make a weak point…

        • whoop-whoop says:

          Riggity, you just broke Article 3 of the unwritten code which is quite vague and unclear in stating one shall never ever divulge that dirty little secret about the unwritten code. If I remember correctly, Article 4 says something about not going swimming for 1/2 hr after you eat.

    • chris_thebassplayer says:

      They love and respect the guy. JK will make him pump up the balls , stack a few cones… they’ll all have a good laugh and move on.

  43. Stephen Healy says:

    Landon is a huge talent but his public stream of conscioussness and constant attention getting stunts are getting old. How many other stars have these many problems? Either stay on the usmnt or get off

    • Riggity says:

      Ya your totally right… other stars are shooting themselves, getting DUI’s, assaulting someone, cheating, doing drugs, trashing teammates, and trashing their coaches. Landon Donovan is definitely one of the worst American start athletes we have…”Either stay on the USMNT or get off.” he never retired from international soccer…he never retired from anything

    • Lil' Zeke says:

      Dunce

  44. HEB says:

    They should make a telenovela about this guy.

  45. AMPhibian says:

    you people are crazy. donovan is still among our top five field players, and considering his pace, experience, leadership, free kicks… if he is back, i will not be a stubborn lover, i will not be a bad father to a prodigal son. i will embrace him, and i’ll put that number 10 on his back.

  46. Dos a Cero says:

    He can help refresh the players with Gatorade.., no?

  47. D'oh D'oh says:

    Ideal 4-2-3-1:
    ————Howard/Guzan———–
    Dolo/Chandler–Gonzo–Besler/Cameron–FJ
    ——–Jones——Bradley———-
    Donovan—-Dempsey—Gomez/Shea
    ———–Altidore/Boyd————-

    Obviously, if Holden recovers form, that throws a wrench in the works and probably sends Clint up top in a two striker setup of some form…

    Ideal 4:1:3:2:
    —————Howard/Guzan————–
    Dolo——–Gonzo——–Besler——-FJ
    ——————Cameron——————
    —-Chandler——Jones—–Bradley—–
    ——–Donovan———Dempsey——–

    Wow, I was really just messing around with this, but if Gonzo and Besler hold form, and Donovan’s return is what it is likely to be, then we really do have the possibility of fielding some really strong lineups.
    Guys like Holden and even Onyewu(I know, I know, but I saw a beast-mode Gooch in person 10/2011 vs Ecuador so I’m not counting him totally out even though he crapped the bed in 2012) returning would only strengthen a VERY good squad…

    • dan says:

      I’d prefer:

      ————Altidore——-Gomez————-
      ——-Dempsey———–Donovan———-
      ————–Bradley-Jones——————
      Johnson–Gonzalez-Cameron—-Chandler
      ——————Howard———————

      or

      ——Dempsey——Altidore——-Donovan——-
      —————Holden——-Bradley—————–
      ———————–Jones————————–
      Johnson—–Cameron—Gonzalez——-Chandler
      ———————–Howard————————

      *assuming Holden recovers top form this lineup is crazy good and has a plethora of attacking/creative players.

      • Jamie Z. says:

        I think both are viable formations with healthy players, but Holden still has it all to do. If he does recover his pre-injury form, I’d be happy to see your second lineup, albeit in a 4-2-3-1 configuration.

  48. dan says:

    Galaxy are a force already and they don’t have Donovan and a 3rd DP. Watch out MLS, this is gonna get scary…

  49. boosted335 says:

    I don’t understand how Donovan is so controversial

  50. JG says:

    4-1-3-2 A Solid back line still capable of attacking, Jones protect the back line, and 5 players committed to the attack all with the ability to create, hold the ball, make intelligent runs run at people with pace! If Holden made it back bench JJ.. drop MB into the holding spot, and insert Holden there. Only thing scary is that 4 of the 5 attackers are 30+. Hopefully Corona, Shea, Zusi, Altidore, and Boyd all find their way soon.

    ——————-Howard/Guzan———————-

    -Cameron—-Gonzalez—-Besler—-F.Johsnon-

    —————————Jones—————————

    ———–Donovan—-Bradley—–Shea/Beasley-

    —————Dempsy———–Gomez—————

  51. Kirk Helberg says:

    I just hope he Shaves. That is one bad looking beard.