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Donovan, like “most of the U.S. soccer community”, criticizes Dempsey’s USMNT omission

United States v Canada

DETROIT, MI - JUNE 7: Clint Dempsey #8 of the United States celebrates a second half goal with Landon Donovan #10 while playing Canada during the 2011 Gold Cup at Ford Field on June 7, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The United States won the game 2-0. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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There’s no question Landon Donovan has less of a politically-correct bent since leaving the playing field.

Donovan knows he’s more willing to open up now that there’s less chance to harm his future with the national team or club teams.

[ MORE: How will the USMNT line-up in Friday’s World Cup qualifying opener? ]

And, in a way, he seems to relish it. As one of the best players to ever don a U.S. jersey, he’s now quite prepared to speak his mind on any number of issues

In a recent interview with Goal.com’s Seth Vertelny, Donovan shared his thoughts on everything from his hopeful coaching career to Clint Dempsey’s omission from Klinsmann’s first World Cup qualifying roster.

From Goal.com:

“If I’m the manager, I want Clint to be part of what we’re doing – period, end of story. Maybe if it’s a friendly game that’s different and you can start to look at other players but in a World Cup qualifier, there’s no room for error.

...

“I didn’t agree with it. I think most of the U.S. soccer community didn’t agree with it. But it is what it is. Clint accepted it and did a good job at least publicly of dealing with it, but I would still want him on my team. If I’m a guy in that camp, I’m saying ‘I want Clint on this team.’”


Dempsey has been invisible if not plain bad during his past few trips to put on the U.S. shirt, but he’s still a legendary part of the American set-up who has scored nine times in nine appearances this year. Seven of those came in the Gold Cup, and his last goal against non-CONCACAF competition was against Portugal in the World Cup. But his success against CONCACAF competition is the argument here, no?

In a lot of ways, Dempsey’s omission -- if it isn’t short-lived -- bears a striking resemblance to Klinsmann’s ouster of Donovan from the World Cup roster. But does “the majority of the U.S. soccer community” agree that he’s a necessary part of this round of call-ups?

Donovan’s allowed to say what he pleases, but what bothers me is his highly-influential voice dropping the “If I’m a guy in that camp” line. When players like Geoff Cameron are trying to pull the group together, Donovan sure doesn’t mind kicking the Deuce’s nest.

Follow @NicholasMendola