It is going to be tough enough already and will require the USMNT to be the strongest cohesive unit they possibly can be, but with aÂ decision as divisiveÂ as leaving Donovan at home, this is now looking very difficult for Klinsmann to pull off.
It is widely known that soccer is still a growing sport of interest to Americans and the World Cup is the biggest stage of them all. This is the biggest opportunity to â€˜sellâ€™ The Beautiful Game to a wider audience here and with this yearâ€™s competition not only on a much closer timezone to the US than many recent ones have been, but also coming with the guaranteed spectacle of their boys facing Germany and Portugal, the decision to take by far the general publicâ€™s most popular player,Â seems insane.
The situation reminds me of whenÂ Steve McClarenÂ droppedÂ David BeckhamÂ from the English national side, a tenure that didnâ€™t really work out so great, so hopefully Klinsmann isnâ€™t sealingÂ himself a similar fate.
Donovan has appeared at 3 World Cups preceding this one and even made his debut at the Finals against one of this yearâ€™s opponents, Portugal, even forcing an own goal for the 2nd ofÂ USAâ€™s 3 goals that day.
He also appeared in their disappointing 2006 campaign but did gain what couldâ€™ve been some valuable experience by playing Ghana.
I understand that Donovan is past his best and doesnâ€™t have the pace of a younger player but on such huge stages, experience can be invaluable.
Donovan is also much more accustomed to the pressure of these games and couldâ€™ve been a great cool-as-a-cucumber asset in these tough games they face.