By IVES GALARCEP
When the U.S. Men’s National Team training camp roster is revealed later today, all signs point to Landon Donovan not being a part of the squad. That decision by Jurgen Klinsmann has the USMNT fan bases divided between those who feel Donovan should be on the team and those who agree with Klinsmann’s expected decision to leave him out.
Donovan’s virtuoso performance on Wednesday night, delivering a goal and two assists in the Los Angeles Galaxy’s 4-1 thumping of Philadelphia, only served to boost his candidacy in the eyes of U.S. fans who have years of good memories of Donovan delivering for the national team.
What Donovan’s showing on Wednesday didn’t do is erase the fact that he chose to skip three important World Cup qualifiers to start the year. His self-imposed sabbatical, which saw him take a break through late March, clearly struck a negative chord with the national team and Klinsmann seems intent on sending a message that Donovan’s decision to skip matches was unacceptable.
That is where some people are not looking at the real motives behind Klinsmann’s stance on Donovan. It isn’t entirely about his form, and whether or not he is one of the top 23 players in the USMNT pool. Klinsmann’s own words on Donovan make it clear the team has come together in recent months, and have endured some challenging times together, and he clearly feels it would not send the right message to simply bring back Donovan as if nothing happened. As if he didn’t choose to skip some important matches.
All that said, there is still something that just feels odd about Donovan not being a part of the national team. While he has missed several matches during Klinsmann’s tenure as head coach, he was still part of three World Cup teams and three World Cup qualifying cycles. It is those memories that have many U.S. fans believing he has earned the benefit of the doubt with regard to his decision to take a break and miss important matches.
So what would you do if you were Klinsmann? Would you ignore his missed games and welcome him back with open arms? Or would you force him to sit out the next group of qualifiers and make him play in the Gold Cup?
Cast your vote after the jump:
How did you vote? Are you hoping he gets called up? Do you think having him wait for the Gold Cup, and have him serve as a leader on that team, is the right way to re-integrate him into the team?
Share your thoughts below.