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The Writing was on the Wall for Landon Donovan

Landon Donovan

courtesy of espnfc.com

Now that 24 hours has passed since Landon Donovan was not included in the final 23-man roster for Jurgen Klinsmann and the US Men’s National Team, lets step back and take a look at why he wasn’t selected.

We all know that Donovan is the most decorated player to ever where a USMNT jersey. He is the all-time leading scorer and assist leader for the national team. He has played in three World Cups in his career and probably never had a more defining moment in his career when he scored the winning goal in stoppage time against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup. His last World Cup goal came on a penalty kick against Ghana in the knockout rounds. Needless to say he finished that World Cup scoring a goal in three straight matches and will always be remembered as one of the best to wear the stars and stripes.

The writing was on the wall a long time ago, and when Donovan was omitted from the starting lineup for the recent friendly against Mexico because he “looked sluggish in training,” according to the coach. Some began to wonder what his chance were to make the roster for the 2014 World Cup.

I believe his decision to take a sabbatical from the game raised questions about his motivation. When he decided to take that sabbatical it was right before the final stage of qualifying began. If I’m Klinsmann, I’m asking myself what is this player doing?

Do I want a player on my team that has to take time off to find himself?

The short answer? No.

Some are saying that it is a huge gamble by Klinsmann and a brave call. I can admit that it is a bit of a gamble but I applaud Jurgen for making that decision. We all know Donovan isn’t as fast as he was at the beginning of his international career. That happens with age and it is unfortunate that it happens but it is a fact of life.

Donovan has had a slow start to the 2014 MLS season as he has yet to register a goal and he doesn’t look like the same Landon for whatever reason.

Now Klinsmann and the USMNT move on to a younger squad with the likes of Graham Zusi, Julian Green and Mix Diskerud to see if they can provide the creative spark this team will need in a daunting group alongside Ghana, Germany and Portugal.

It is only fitting that what could possibly be his final international goal, that it came against Mexico. Donovan scored a total of six goals against Mexico in his international career.

So for the first time since 1998, Landon Donovan will have to watch the World Cup from his house in California. I would like to thank Donovan for all he has done for the US Men’s National Team in 14 years.

Chris Blakely writes for Stoppage Time Soccer. You can follow him on Twitter @TheRealCBlakely.

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