Landon Donovan was left off the U.S. World Cup team by Coach Jurgen Klinsmann after playing for the Americans in 2002, 2006 and 2010. At first, he seemed to take it in stride, even filming a tongue-in-cheek commercial that gently mocked his stay-at-home status:
But now, with the United States eliminated after its 2-1 loss to Belgium on Tuesday, Donovan isn’t joking around anymore.
“I think we’re all disappointed in what happened yesterday,” he told MLS.com after practicing with the Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday. “I think the most disappointing is we didn’t seem like we gave it a real effort, from a tactical standpoint. I thought the guys did everything they could, they did everything that was asked of them, but I don’t think we were set up to succeed yesterday, and that was tough to watch.”
“It’s a results-oriented business, and so, results-wise, you can hold your head high,” he said. “If you really look at the performances, there were some good performances by guys, some not-so-good performances by guys. As a whole, I think tactically, the team was not set up to succeed.
“They were set up in a way that was opposite from what they’ve been the past couple years, which is opening up, passing, attacking – trying to do that. And the team’s been successful that way. Why they decided to switch that in the World Cup, none of us will know. From a playing standpoint, I think the guys will probably be disappointed in the way things went.”
Donovan wasn’t done, saying Michael Bradley was played in an “unnatural position” at attacking midfield when he should have been played deeper with someone in front of him (like, say, Donovan). “Michael was put in the wrong position,” he said. “He was put in a position that he’s not used to playing. … I think that was clearly an error.”