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The Donovan Conundrum

by Neal Sayatovich
May 28, 2014 3:44 AM EDT



Sunday marked a special day in MLS history as LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan scored his 135th and 136th goals against Philadelphia Union. The game ended in a 4-1 bushwhacking of a downtrodden Philadelphia Union squad and cemented Donovan's legacy. This was the second straight win for the Galaxy, who have been slowly clawing their way up the west.
Of course all of this was overshadowed by the breaking of the record. Jeff Cunningham's long standing mark was brushed back to second when Robbie Keane set up Donovan for the long awaited goal. The moments afterward were nothing short of emotional as subs and coaches each took turns hugging the ecstatic Donovan.
Twitter exploded moments after with advent fans mocking national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann on his choice to cut the all time leader in goals and assists for the national team. Some individuals got just plain insulting about the issue. Eventually every tweet asked roughly the same question--should Klinsmann regret cutting Donovan?
Absolutely not.
What the devoted Donovan fans fail to realize is that Donovan scored a brace against a decimated Union team. Scoring against the very best of Portugal, Germany or Ghana are a completely different story. Saying that Donovan could dominate based off the recent win is like saying you can knock over a castle wall with a water balloon... it isn't going to happen.
Before his heroics in the Union game, Donovan's run of form has been atrocious, and that is being kind. This is not Klinsmann's first time in a World Cup, he knows what will he needs to succeed. Donovan is a legend, no doubt about that. But he has not kept the form of fellow MLS players like Clint Dempsey and Chris Wondolowski.
In fact, Donovan has had a horrific year in terms of scoring. If you really think about it, he has only scored four goals this season. Maximiliano Urruti, Federico Higuain, Dom Dwyer and Bradley Wright-Phillips have all scored more and never even received phone calls from their respective countries. You read that right folks, Urruti has scored more than Donovan this year.
This shows us a lot about Klinsmann. The national team boss is not selecting people based off of name recognition. Of course I still question the Julian Green selection, I think all of us are. My main point is a simple one. Donovan has done something special, something that may never be broken, but he should not be on the national team.