Saturday, June 2, 2007

Donovan will go

Ok, here's my run-down on the list of reasons I think Landon Donovan will go to the Copa America.

He's willing to do so. Landon won't sit out. He's not Terrell Owens or all those basketball players who didn't want to go to the Olympics.

Despite his asking to be allowed to stay with his club, Landon isn't insisting on it, and if no one powerful enough to make a difference backs him up, it won't happen.

U.S. coach Bob Bradley wants him to go. He's already made that clear.

I think US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati wants him to go.

I had a phone interview with Sunil where he was parsing out Landon's quotes on the topic after they'd first come out. Sunil was insistent that Landon saying that he didn't want to miss too many Galaxy games in the summer with national team duty did NOT mean he couldn't play Copa America or didn't want to play there.

Sunil has a lot riding on a good U.S. showing at the Copa America. He's the one that's put the U.S. back in the tournament.

Frankly, I think the move was partly appeasement to the U.S. soccer fans. Obviously, if the team had done well at the World Cup, Sunil could easily say that the squad had proven themselves against the best and could afford to play only one tournament this summer or field a very young squad at the Copa America to get them experience.

Instead, after realizing with glee, "Wow, the U.S. team can attract hordes of fans!", the federation realized a lot of those fans were pissed off.

Why doesn't Lalas move to block the federation using his star in such a way? I'm guessing it's the same reason that Lalas didn't simply say "Hell no!" when the league came up with its post-Beckham arrival schedule for the Galaxy. He essentially is powerless here, especially under the single-entity structure of MLS, to act for the good of his team.

Anyway, it all adds up. Landon is going to the Copa.


Galaxy Fan said...

great attached article, Andrea. First time I've ever heard LD talk about competition for starting spots on Nats and club. You seem to get him to open up and talk more indepth, not cliche type stuff.

Anonymous said...

MLS should step in. It's in their best interest to maximize the number of games Beckham plays. Making sure the Galaxy isn't out of playoff contention by the time he shows up (or Donovan returns from Copa America) should be their priority given the ridiculous number of injuries and the fact that Beckham might miss games due to England call-ups.

Nick said...

Good for the Venezuelan fans who will pay to see the US play that we will send our best player. I know Landon will draw a ton of interest in Argentina as well in the lead up to the opener. Landon's presence gives the US team a big buzz, as he is really the only American player that moves the interest meter in South America...

Anonymous said...

I hope you'll ask Alexi, Andrea, why he doesn't step up to protect his player and his team.