A World Cup without Landon Donovan? It could happen.


(Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

Landon Donovan has played in three World Cups for the U.S. men’s national soccer team, and no American man has more goals or assists in international play. His last-minute goal against Algeria four years ago in South Africa…

… caused people to lose their minds, more or less.

But will the 32-year-old get one last World Cup go-around in Brazil next month? Kelly Whiteside of USA Today says…maybe?

Donovan may be a legend, but U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann isn’t interested in building a team based on the past.

When Klinsmann met with his 30-man team for the first day of World Cup training camp Wednesday, Donovan was there. But will he be there when Klinsmann takes 23 players to Brazil?

Heading into the team’s exhibition against Mexico last month, Donovan failed to impress during training, so Klinsmann kept him out of the starting lineup. If Donovan is that player during the next three weeks, his spot will be in jeopardy. But if Donovan is the player he was Sunday in the Los Angeles Galaxy’s 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers, he’ll be in the starting lineup.

After the Los Angeles Galaxy won the 2012 MLS Cup, Donovan stepped away from the game, citing a need for “time where I can just pause, and breathe and rest, let my body heal, let my mind refresh,” he told ESPN at the time. He ended up missing the United States’ first three World Cup qualifiers in 2013, and Klinsmann didn’t include him on the roster for the team’s qualifiers in June. He returned to the team in September and had a goal and an assist in the Americans’ 2-0 win over Mexico that clinched the World Cup bid.

Klinsmann was frank about Donovan’s chances in Tuesday’s first episode of an ESPN documentary on the USMNT’s run-up to the World Cup. “The media thinks he’s untouchable,” he said about Donovan to USA Today. “That’s not how it works.”

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