Miami, FL, United States (4E Sports) – US men’s soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann has left off veteran campaigner Landon Donovan in the team’s final 23-man squad for the World Cup.
Aside from Donovan, defenders Michael Parkhurst, Brad Evans, and Clarence Goodson; midfielders Joe Corona and Maurice Edu; and forward Terrence Boyd also missed the cut for the team that will play in Brazil.
The 32-year-old Donovan has played for the U.S. in the past three World Cups dating back to 2002. He has been the face of the national team for most of the past decade, but spoke in recent months about how his body is no longer what it had once been.
Donovan was a mainstay of the national team before he took a sabbatical of about four months after the 2012 season, spending part of the time in Cambodia.
Klinsmann restored Donovan to the roster for last summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, where he excelled. He also played Donovan for World Cup qualifiers later in the year but Klinsmann kept him out of the starting lineup for last month’s exhibition against Mexico due to knee problem.
Donovan has appeared in more World Cup matches, 12, than any other player. He is also second on the list of all-time appearances for the United States.
“It’s an exciting moment when you have narrowed the roster down as a coaching staff, and these 23 players that you’ve chosen can focus now purely on Brazil,” Klinsmann in a statement.
“We can go into more specific things about technical approaches, and about the opponents. For the players, it’s very important to know that they are now part of it and they can relax and know they are on the list going to Brazil and taking it from there. After almost 10 days of work right now, we thought the point has come to make the decision,” he added.
Taking Donovan’s place are young playmaker Aron Johannsson, 23, and MLS veteran Chris Wondolowski, 31.
Wondolowski was a hero of the U.S.’s triumph in last summer’s Gold Cup with five goals in the first two games. He also scored twice in a friendly against South Korea in February, and once against Mexico in April. He has five goals in nine games for the San Jose Earthquakes so far this season.
Johannsson was the third-top scorer in the Dutch Eredivisie this season for AZ Alkmaar with 17 league goals.
Before traveling to Brazil, the Americans will play Azerbaijan on May 27 in San Francisco, Turkey on June 1, in Harrison, N.J., and Nigeria on June 7 in Jacksonville, Fla.
The full squad:
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders: 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: 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: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)