9214_isi_donovanlandon_usmntmj070513332 Michael Janosz/isiphotos.com
U.S. National Team

Klinsmann Wants to Put Smile on Donovan's Face

Jurgen Klinsmann and the man he famously left off the 2014 World Cup team, Landon Donovan, will be reunited on October 10 for a friendly against Ecuador. Klinsmann hopes it is a positive experience.

BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
September 02, 2014
8:08 AM
PRAGUE—Jurgen Klinsmann today addressed the media in a roundtable discussion with a small group of reporters and one of the topics that came up was the Landon Donovan farewell game scheduled for October 10 against Ecuador in East Hartford, Conn.

Donovan, 32, has made several comments criticizing Klinsmann's decision to leave him off the 2014 World Cup roster. Despite that, Klinsmann insisted that it will not be a difficult situation for him to reconnect with Donovan in Connecticut.

"It's not awkward at all for me," Klinsmann said.

"As a player, obviously he deserves every piece of recognition for an amazing career. [He has] done so much for the national team program. It's a pleasure to give him that farewell match and give him that recognition. That he is upset about that decision and not going to the World Cup is, for me, a good reaction. It means he cares."

Klinsmann then went on to say that the decision to leave Donovan off the squad was purely a soccer decision and that he respects Donovan's accomplishments with the national team program. Hosting a farewell game for the California native, he added, was completely justified.

"He built his case going up to the World Cup and I decided the players in his position, whether it is forward or midfielder or whatever, are just ahead of him," Klinsmann said.

"That he's made some statements that he's not content, sees it differently, that's legitimate and that's totally fine with me," Klinsmann added. "We'll give him a blast in that moment and hopefully the stadium will give him standing ovations. We'll give him the best farewell we feel that we can do—make it a huge event that he deserves.

"Hopefully, he has a smile on his face."

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