For the first time in 12 years, Landon Donovan won't be headed to the World Cup.
The United States Soccer Federation tweeted out the final 23-man roster that coach Jurgen Klinsmann will take to the 2014 World Cup. Absent is the player who holds the record for most goals and sits second behind Cobi Jones for most national team caps:
Donovan released a statement via MLS social media's Sarah Lerner:
On Friday, Ray Hudson gave his not so subtle feelings on the decision:
With his exclusion from the team, Donovan's international career appears over, meaning he will fall eight caps short of overtaking Jones' record of 164. Donovan has also been denied the opportunity to appear in four different World Cups, which would've been an astounding achievement.
According to Infostrada Sports, Donovan would've been the most capped player at Brazil, but that designation now falls to Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas:
Naturally, with such an earth-shattering announcement from U.S. Soccer, fans and experts alike have been sounding off on social media.
Soccer writer Jeff Bradley tweeted out that Klinsmann's decision led to an awkward conversation with his son:
The Orlando Sentinel's Paul Tenorio wonders if there will be some similarly awkward moments in the U.S. locker room:
Klinsmann did seem to find a kindred spirit: his son, per Steven Goff of The Washington Post:
Kick TV's Jimmy Conrad was among many wondering if taking 18-year-old Julian Green at the expense of a player like Donovan was a sound decision from Klinsmann:
F.C. Dallas employee Daniel Robertson also questioned whether Green would be more valuable to the U.S. in the crucial moments:
ESPN's Marc Stein noted that this heaps even more pressure upon Green to live up to his hype. Expectations were already high to begin with, but this ups the ante even more:
As ESPN the Magazine's Doug McIntyre and former national team player and current NBC Sports analyst Kyle Martino both pointed out, this is a big gamble for Klinsmann in terms of his status with the supporters:
Jason Davis of the North American Soccer Network countered that no matter what happens in Brazil, the coach's future is assured:
Klinsmann is already under contract with U.S. Soccer through the 2018 World Cup. This is how he approached his time with the German national team, and it proved a rousing success over the long term, per German soccer writer Christian Nyari:
Leave it to former national team star and current ESPN analyst Alexi Lalas to provide the most reasonable take on the situation:
The case could be made that even with Donovan, the United States would've had a hard time qualifying out of Group G. But that still doesn't lessen the shock of envisioning a U.S. squad at the World Cup without its talisman of the last decade.