Despite being controversially left off the 2014 U.S. World Cup squad, Landon Donovan will make his contribution to the tournament–from the booth.
— Mac Nwulu (@MacN_ESPN) June 11, 2014
ESPN reached an agreement this week to bring the LA Galaxy star and veteran of three World Cups onto its team of analysts, though he still doesn’t get to travel to Brazil according to the company’s press release: “Donovan will contribute analysis from ESPN/ABC studios in Los Angeles. He will make his debut today during ESPN’s two-hour FIFA World Cup Preview (3 p.m. ET).”
US Men’s National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann has received significant criticism recently for what amounts to blatant honesty.
Landon donovan has scored more goals in the world cup than cr7 and messi combined. Tell me again why he’s not on the team?? — Rafiki. (@ChadSchelly_) June 11, 2014
He has gone on record twice saying the U.S. cannot win the World Cup.
“We cannot win the World Cup.” –USA coach Klinsmann to Sam Borden of the NY Times. ***** What kind of coach says that to his team? — Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) June 6, 2014
This came on the heel of Klinsmann’s decision to travel without the country’s all-time leader in goals and assists on his 23-man squad, who he compared to another aging star athlete.
Klinsmann’s loss is ESPN’s gain.
“Adding Landon to our ESPN roster just before the World Cup is a coup because he knows the United States team better than anyone having played such a huge role in its success, especially at this event,” said Jed Drake, ESPN senior vice president and executive producer. “Landon is also one of this country’s biggest sports stars and we believe that he will help attract even more fans to our month-long coverage.”
The Ontario, CA native made it clear that Klinsmann’s decision left him perplexed, especially when he expected to contend for a starting spot. But the 32-year-old is moving forward while still contributing to the USMNT cause, just not on the pitch. “I am excited to be joining ESPN’s coverage of the 2014 World Cup from Los Angeles, and I look forward to working with the talented ESPN broadcasters to provide unique insights for our amazing US Soccer fans,” Donovan said.
Though we’d rather see him suit up in red, white and blue, watching Donovan discuss Klinsmann’s roster moves and tactics will be high drama–especially if the Yanks struggle to score goals and fail to get out of the group stage.
Will Klinsmann regret leaving Donovan off his World Cup squad? Air your opinion in the comments below.