Larry Brown Sports- The USWNT advanced to the final of the Women’s World Cup thanks to a 2-0 semifinal win over Germany on Tuesday, and Landon Donovan decided to use that as an excuse to take a shot at Jurgen Klinsmann. After the game, Donovan, who is the men’s national team all-time leader in goals and assists, took to his Twitter account to praise Abby Wambach and passively-aggressively zing his former coach.
Wambach has been a fixture for the women’s national team since 2001. However, she has been a reserve for the last two games and has come off of the bench three times during this year’s tournament. If there’s a person who knows about being on the unfortunate end of tough coaching decisions, it’s Donovan, who was infamously left off the squad Klinsmann took to the 2014 World Cup.
Alexi Lalas, an analyst for FOX Sports (and former member of the men’s national team) saw Donovan’s tweet and took the opportunity to fire a reply.
Oh man, it's got to be tough to be Landon Donovan. If you polled a majority of Americans, even after this past World Cup, he would probably still be the third most popular player behind Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey. Yet, amongst his peers on the pitch he is all but an afterthought. An afterthought that is just trying to stay relevant in the soccer world by subtweeting his former USMNT coach about a decision that is but a distant memory to the rest of the sport. He has the soccer version of PTSD. The decision to leave him home just eats at him constantly. I would say odds are pretty good that he hasn't a single good night's sleep since last June. Probably re-watches all the games on a monthly basis and talks to himself about what he would have done differently. You know you've stooped pretty low when you are referring to the infrastructure of a women's sports team to try to prove your worth one year after the fact. This is like arguing that NBA players should shoot more lay-ups because it's work so well in the WNBA. It's like a player on an National League team complaining that he has to play the field when he would be a designated hitter on an American League team. They may be the same sport, but they are different styles of play. Not all teams are built the same way. Especially when we are crossing gender lines.
I do respect that Donovan took a shot at the lack leadership though. Sure, The USMNT had a fairly impressive run, but who's to say they wouldn't have done better with an older, experienced guy rooting them on from the sidelines. Not only is the a value of a veteran presence priceless, but it's also immeasurable. Donovan could have taken a jab at their lack of scoring, or their ball movement, but nope. He went with the aspect of the game that can't possibly be proved right or wrong. I can't say for certain that Landon Donovan would have helped the United States progress farther in the World Cup, but I can't definitively say that he wouldn't have either. That seed of doubt is all that a bitter, scorned ex-player needs to take a retroactive parting shot at his former coach.