Landon Donovan makes MLS history in an “emotional” week

Landon Donovan scored his 135th and 136th goals in LA Galaxy’s 4-1 win against Philadelphia Union tonight to become the all-time leading goalscorer in MLS history, to cap off what he described as “an emotional three days”.

The American was left off the USMNT’s World Cup squad by coach Jurgen Klinsmann last week, but ensured that he channeled all his disappointment into a strong performance for the Galaxy on Sunday night.

Donovan has been waiting eight months to score that elusive 135th goal, and it came in the 50th minute of last night’s game, after Robbie Keane found him with an open goal to fire into, capping off a tumultuous week in the best way possible.

“It’s been an emotional three days. A lot of down and a lot of up honestly. The love I’ve received from everybody here, including when I walked out for warm-ups with signs and people staying stuff, has been amazing. And I’m really happy it ended this way for this week.”

“It’s been a while so there are a lot of emotions. Just getting on the scoreboard again was nice. Hitting the net was nice. Getting the 135 on the back of what happened this week. It was a good feeling,” Donovan said speaking to Time Warner Cable Sportsnet after the game.

The emotion was clear for all to see after Donovan netted the goal, as he celebrated with teammates to an enduring standing ovation by supporters throughout the StubHub Center.

Donovan’s record-breaking goal in last night’s with via MLS on YouTube:

He then added a second later in the game to move to 136 goals in his illustrious MLS career, and his spectacular performance will only add fuel to the debate that he should be in the USMNT World Cup squad.

All 136 of Landon Donovan’s career goals in Major League Soccer can be viewed via this link.

 

 

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Twitter erupts as Klinsmann omits Donovan from World Cup squad

Jurgen Klinsmann left Landon Donovan off of his final 23-man World Cup squad on Thursday night, sparking a Twitter explosion with the views of stunned fans. Here are some of the reactions:

https://twitter.com/Jmillionzzz/status/469627704439234560

https://twitter.com/Rexha97/status/469602408897605632

See also: Klinsmann names World Cup squad without Donovan but MLS is the overall winner

Fans were clearly left disappointed by the bold decision to leave the talismanic LA Galaxy midfielder off the final squad, but the team must now regroup and focus on trying to get out of a very difficult group in Brazil next month.

It will be very intriguing to see how Klinsmann’s side gel together, and he must be respected for picking a side he believes can succeed.

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(Photo: Jurgen Klinsmann feels Landon Donovan is not needed for the USMNT to succeed)

The USMNT face Azerbaijan in a friendly on Tuesday night, with the 23-man squad now fully focused on preparing for the World Cup.

 

Klinsmann names World Cup squad without Donovan but MLS is the overall winner

Jurgen Klinsmann named his final 23-man squad for the World Cup last night, and there is a strong MLS presence in the side, despite the shock decision of cutting Landon Donovan.

Landon Donovan will not be going to Brazil with the USMNT this summer, barring an injury to a player in the final 23, as the LA Galaxy midfielder is now on the standby list.

Klinsmann said the decision to omit the all-time leading goalscorer was “one of the hardest he has made in his coaching career” and it will be interesting to see how the side cope without their talisman.

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(Photo: Landon Donovan will not be travelling to Brazil with the USMNT)

Despite the absence of Donovan, ten Major League Soccer players are set to travel to Brazil with the squad, a good implication of how well the league is developing.

Only four MLS players made the squad in 2010, and there is a vast improvement on this in the team, just four years later.

Seattle Sounders right-back, DeAndre Yedlin, made the final 23 and is the first homegrown MLS player to travel to the World Cup, another crucial implication of just how well Major League Soccer is progressing.

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(Seattle’s Yedlin has made the final 23, the first homegrown MLS player to make the World Cup squad)

Klinsmann shocked many with his final roster, but he has to be respected for making the decisions that he thinks gives the side the best chance of success in Brazil.

Many are suggesting that by cutting 32-year-old Donovan for the likes of young Julian Green means that the German is planning for the 2018 World Cup, but the average age of the side is older than that of the team in 2010.

In South Africa four years ago, the USMNT’s average age was 26, whereas this side has an average age of 27.2, and the mix of experience and youth could prove beneficial in the intensity of the tournament.

Five of the seven players cut from the original 30-man squad play in MLS, and it would have been encouraging to see as many make it as possible, though it is reassuring to see so many involved in the first place.

The absence of Donovan will have many left stunned and disappointed, but they must now get behind their team and support the players that Klinsmann has selected if they are to have any chance of getting out of the ‘Group of Death’.

The USMNT open up their World Cup campaign against Ghana on June 16, before playing Portugal and Germany in the group stages.

The final 23-man USMNT squad in full:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

STANDBY LIST (7): Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Wien), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew)

How much do you really know about Jurgen Klinsmann?

Born in 1964 in Göppingen, Germany, Jurgen Klinsmann’s parents were bakers and Jurgen served his apprenticeship as a baker achieving a diploma.

His father said he could pursue a career as a footballer if he got a degree, and we are all thankful he studied hard! His family still run the bakery business in the suburbs of Stuttgart, Germany.

Jurgen is married to a former American model, Debbie Chin, they have two children and live in Huntington Beach, California.

Jurgen is fluent in four languages.

His son, Jonathan, is following in his fathers’ footsteps, but at the other end of the pitch. He is a goalkeeper and has been called up to the USMNT under-18’s camp.

He may look serious on camera but Jurgen has a good sense of humour. In 1994, when he was signed by Tottenham Hotspur, he was known as a diver by the British press following his appearances for Germany.

And when he arrived at the press conference he asked the journalists if they knew of any diving schools in London.

When he then scored his first goal for Spurs, he celebrated by diving headlong onto the pitch, and he became an instant hero among Tottenham fans. The fact that he scored 21 goals that season helped quite a bit too!

He has a helicopter pilot’s licence, and enjoys relaxing by flying around California.

The 49-year-old managed the German National side for two years and lead them to a third-place finish in the 2006 World Cup.

Now managing the USMNT, he made this statement about Brazil 2014:

In Germany it is a bit simpler because there is only one expectation … we say we want to win this thing, for us in the U.S., it is a growing process. We can surprise people in Brazil, but obviously our expectation is to get out of the group no matter who we draw. After that, we need to make the players understand it is all about mind games. Every game becomes 50-50 and will be won by the team who is better prepared and believes in themselves more.”

The US are not expecting Jurgen to take them to third place, but are hoping they put up a good fight in the group stages and then who knows? It’s a funny old game!

Jurgen runs a children’s charity foundation, Agapedia, together with some close friends. Agapedia translates from Greek into “Love for children”.

He is the 35th USMNT coach and he is currently contracted as coach until 2018.

Jurgen represented his country 108 times from 1987 to 1998 and scored 47 goals for Germany.

In 2003, he was enjoying retirement but missing the game, and at the age of 39-years-old he made a comeback, by playing in the American Development League for Orange County Blue Star.

He used the pseudonym Jay Göppingen, (His home town name in Germany), to disguise himself. He made 8 appearances and scored five goals.

He never lost his eye for goal. In 1988 he was top scorer in the Bundesliga and was voted German Player of the year.  He was also voted English player of the year in 1995, following his second stint at Tottenham Hotspur.

Jurgen donated the entire proceeds of his final testimonial game in Stuttgart to children’s charities. This amounted to around $1million.

Jurgen may or may not have a good World Cup run with the USA, but one thing is certain…he will give it his best shot!

Julian Green: Wildcard wonderkid

Julian Wesley Green was born in Tampa Bay, Florida, but moved to Germany with his parents when he was two-years-old.

Born from an American father and German mother, the talented striker possesses dual citizenship with both nations vying for his allegiance.

He has played at youth level for both nations, but on the 24th march FIFA accepted his request to change nationality to American with immediate effect.

And he has now been selected by Jurgen Klinsmann as a part of the USMNT preliminary World Cup Squad.

After having been educated in Germany, Green possesses the ability to play as either a striker or a winger, a philosophy created by Klinsmann during his time coaching the German national team.

The 18-year-old is currently playing for Bayern Munich, and he made his professional debut in the UEFA Champions League in November 2013, and now looks sets for a bright future.

Since changing allegiance, Green has already made his USMNT debut, coming off the bench in a friendly against Mexico in April.

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(Photo: Julian Green in action against Mexico in his USMNT debut)

A bit of an unknown commodity amongst fans, Green has the potential and the skillset to transform American soccer.

In a new age where US soccer is constantly evolving, Green could be the man to guide them through the transition.

Critics will question why he decided to change allegiance, seeing as he played for the German under-19 side at the young age of eighteen.

However, having scored fifteen goals in twenty-three games this season for Bayern Munich II, it looks as though he may have the tools to transform the USMNT into a dangerous attacking force.

All we know about him so far is that he has bags of potential, but selecting him to go to the World Cup could do one of two things for Green; he could be selected with the aim of gaining valuable experience, or he could go and set the group alight.

Oh, and he could also line-up against Germany when the two sides meet in Group G, the country he opted against playing for.

The forward clearly has talent, as he looked set to play for Germany, but the option to play for USA may prove to be the right choice, as he will certainly win caps quicker due to less competition in the US side.

Green will know if he’s on the plane by the 2nd June, although with Klinsmann being German and Green giving the team a new dimension, don’t be surprised to see him make the final 23.

United States to play Belgium on opening day of World Cup in final preparation game

By Louis East

The USMNT will play Belgium in a behind-closed-doors friendly on the 12 June as both sides look to finalise their preparations for the tournament just days before their opening games.

While the rest of the World will be gearing up to watch Brazil take on Croatia in the opening fixture, the US National team and Belgium will be focusing on a friendly to make any last minute adjustments.

FIFA announced on Friday that the two sides will cap off their World Cup preparations by playing each other in Sao Paulo on the opening day of the World Cup.

Some fans will be concerned by the late friendly, as any injuries suffered will affect the nations tournaments.

Though the Belgian football federation have described the game as more of a training session that a competitive match: “It will be a kind of training session for each side.”

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The United States and Belgium are two footballing nations where the sport is rapidly developing, and the Belgian side have an abundance of talent in their squad.

A ‘golden generation’ of Belgian’s are playing across the major leagues in Europe, with several shining in the Premier League.

Whereas the USA’s national league is growing by the year, with Major League Soccer showcasing a better standard of football every season.

These two met in a friendly last May in a six-goal thriller, with Belgium coming out on top 4-2 on that occasion.

It will be the fourth, and final game for Jurgen Klinsmann to assess his side ahead of their World Cup opener against Ghana on June 16.

They will need to get something out of their opener against the Black Stars as they also face Germany and Portugal in the ‘Group of Death’.

The USMNT play against Azerbaijan, Turkey and Nigeria in the United States, before travelling out to Brazil in July.