The main storyline going into the World Cup for the U.S. Men’s Team was easily the exclusion of superstar forward Landon Donovan. Arguably the best player in U.S. World Cup history, Jurgen Klinsmann made the soccer world go “whaaaa?” by leaving the 32-year-old forward off the roster in May. Bill Plaschke from the L.A. Times caught up with Donovan, who’s playing for the L.A. Galaxy, on Friday. In a candid interview, Donovan admitted to rooting against the U.S. Team when they began FIFA play. Via the LA Times:
“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 said. “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.”
Stop. Don’t think he was pulling a full Benedict Arnold yet. Those feelings changed quickly:
“Then the next day I woke up and said to myself, that’s a really crappy way to feel,” Donovan said. “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.”
Though of course the gut reaction is to question his patriotism, I think that’s a little silly. Look, I love the United States as much as anyone else (as Donovan obviously does), but I’d feel just as slighted being cut after performing brilliantly on the world stage in the last two World Cups.
But what do you guys think?
Pic via Mark J. Rebilas/USATODAY Sports