Jurgen Klinsmann didn't just sign off on Landon Donovan's United States send-off. He thinks its a great idea that the American star will wear the Stars and Stripes one more time on October 10 against Ecuador in Hartford, CT.
"As a player [Donovan] obviously deserves every piece of recognition for an amazing career with that farewell game, and has tremendously done so much for the national team program," Klinsmann told a group of reporters. "So it's a real pleasure to give him that farewell match, and give him that occasion and give him that recognition."
Seeing as Klinsmann generally gets what he wants in U.S. Soccer, it's hard to imagine the federation forcing him to give Donovan a send-off if the manager was totally against it. It's Klinsmann's federation, at least on the men's side.
But just because Klinsmann thinks Donovan has ton a lot of good for the U.S. and should get one last run out doesn't mean that he regrets leaving the 32-year-old off of the World Cup roster.
"He built his case leading up to the World Cup, and I decided that the players that were in his position, whether it's forward or midfield, are just ahead of him," he said. "For me in my evaluation as a coach, it was a simple decision. Obviously it was a big deal, I knew that too, but at the end of the day, I needed to take those players that I believe would make a difference. That was my decision."
That this is still a topic of discussion is crazy, but entirely unsurprising. Maybe you think Donovan should have been on the roster, maybe you think he shouldn't have, but was he clearly one of the U.S.' best players? I don't think anyone would argue that.
Donovan put himself in the gray area and the manager made a call. That he has been inconsistent, at best, for the LA Galaxy this season didn't help his case, and his play in MLS since the World Cup hasn't screamed "snub." He was a borderline player who got left out.
Klinsmann insists that it will not be awkward at all between he and Donovan when Donovan joins the team for one last match. Whether that or true or not, Donovan will pull on the U.S. shirt one more time, in front of a presumably full stadium, and his relationship with Klinsmann will be irrelevant. In that moment, Donovan will be the center of attention, 16 years of greatness for the U.S. in the spotlight, and one final goodbye for the man who deserves every applause he gets.