At first look I tried not to overreact to the omission of the greatest US soccer player of all time, Landon Donovan, from this World Cup squad. I would read up about how his play in MLS had declined and how the burst and drive was suffering. I took the articles and statements Donovan made about how he couldn't do it day after day anymore and I took it as the truth.
Then my love for what Landon Donovan has done for US soccer came into the picture. I was 17 years old when Donovan and Beasley came into the US fold in the 2002 World Cup in S. Korea. Fell in love with his speed and burst, he was one of those video game guys you could hit the sprint button with and blow by everyone, on Playstation and in real life. He has been the only one of those the US has ever had.
I hoped that this was a ploy by Coach J.K. To light that final fire under Donovan. We couldn't really have a team without him could we? Most US soccer fans don't know life without Landy Cakes. That there would be an "injury" at some point right before the cup and Donovan would be back. I read the articles and reactions for 3 days and I finally figured it out. Coach J.K. Is a genius. He put together the most talented roster top to bottom the US has ever had. I am not disputing Donovan could or could not improve the team. But the expectations should be higher now than they have ever been on these players. But they are not. There is no talk about expectations in the players anymore. Only talk about how Coach made a mistake and it will come back to haunt him. This squad no longer has the spotlight and pressure on them. He made them the underdog.
if Donovan was on the team, all the pressure would be on the lesser known commodities on the world stage such as Zusi, Altidore, Chandler, Besler, Gonzales and so on. If the US loses it would have been on them, not the coach. The talk would been about how Altidore couldn't finish, how Chandler got dismantled by Ronaldo, how Gonzales made the one mental lapse that good center backs don't make. That WOULD have been the talk. But now it's all on the coach and the individual pressure is off. Genius...hopefully.