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)