Donovan left off U.S. national team roster

Landon Donovan has returned to competitive soccer but apparently is not ready to return to the U.S. national team.

Coach Juergen Klinsmann left the program’s career scoring leader off the roster for two friendlies, including a June 2 match against Germany at RFK Stadium, and three World Cup qualifiers next month.

“Landon is catching up,” Klinsmann said. “We’re all excited that he has decided to continue to play. That was the first major answer that we needed to get, and now he’s just working himself back into shape and back into a playing rhythm. He will get sharper and more confident with every game he’s going to play now. So we’ll watch that, we’ll monitor that and we’ll decide then when to bring him back into our picture. It’s not going to be for these upcoming games, but maybe later on we’ll definitely expect him back in the team.”

D.C. United’s Bill Hamid is among four goalkeepers who will rotate through the U.S. camps and serve behind veterans Tim Howard and Brad Guzan. Hamid, 22, will join the squad in Washington on May 30 for three days of workouts before the Germany game, then rejoin United on June 3.

Former University of Maryland players Clarence Goodson, Omar Gonzalez, Maurice Edu and Graham Zusi were also named to the roster.

Citing emotional and physical burnout, Donovan took a sabbatical from the sport after guiding the Los Angeles Galaxy to a second consecutive MLS Cup title in December. He was not involved in training camp and did not suit up for the club until the fifth game of the season about six weeks ago.

After a sluggish return, Donovan enjoyed his finest performance of the campaign Wednesday night, scoring once, assisting twice and playing a part in another goal during a 4-1 victory at Philadelphia.

Donovan, 31, has not played for the U.S. team since last August at Mexico, missing seven qualifiers as well as two friendlies.

“I’m disappointed but I’ll keep going and I’ll keep working hard and I hope that I get the chance,” he told Reuters. “I would love to be in Brazil next year [for the World Cup] but I can’t completely control that. My job is to make it as difficult as possible for the coach to leave me out.”

The Americans will face a full-strength Belgium squad on May 29 in Cleveland and a second-tier German team four days later in Washington. (Belgium is preparing for a World Cup qualifier; Germany is not.)

Many top-flight German players have lingering club commitments, most notably with Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Top players scheduled to appear at RFK include Lazio striker Miroslav Klose, the second-greatest scorer in national team history; Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski; and Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker.

As of Tuesday, ticket sales for the Washington match were approaching 37,000.

Germany, which will begin its U.S. tour May 29 against Ecuador at Florida Atlantic University, announced its roster Thursday.

The Belgium list is here.

Klinsmann plans to trim his roster to 23 before the U.S. team’s first qualifier, June 7 at Jamaica. The Americans will also play Panama on June 11 in Seattle and Honduras on June 18 in Sandy, Utah.

USA ROSTER

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake).

Howard and Guzan will remain with the squad the entire time. Johnson will serve May 26-30, Hamid May 30-June 3, Hall June 2-8, Rimando June 9-19.

Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Tijuana), Omar Gonzalez (L.A. Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg).

Midfielders: Michael Bradley (Roma), Joe Corona (Tijuana), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor), Stuart Holden (Bolton), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (Stoke City), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City).

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders).

*Veteran right back Steve Cherundolo (knee injury) recently returned to action for Hannover, but as a precaution against long-term issues, he has been advised to rest when the Bundesliga season ends this weekend.

*Other notable absences: Right back Timmy Chandler (knee injury), center back Carlos Bocanegra, midfielder Jose Torres.

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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Steven Goff · May 15, 2013

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