Soccer / Sports

Klinsmann defends decision to cut Donovan from US team

STANFORD, Calif. --U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said Landon Donovan promised to be ready "24/7" if needed despite being cut from the World Cup roster.

Klinsmann defended his roster picks Friday, speaking to reporters before the Americans practiced at Stanford. The coach praised Donovan, the United States' all-time leading scorer with 57 goals in 157 appearances, for how he took the news. He said the Los Angeles Galaxy star promised to be ready whenever the team needed him.

"You just break it down, strengths and weaknesses," Klinsmann said. "It's not comparison of what you bring to the table and others bring to the table. It's what the coach wants to bring."

Klinsmann also said if any forwards are injured before the U.S. plays Ghana on June 16 Donovan will be his first call.

But Klinsmann declined to explain specifically why the face of American soccer failed to make the 23-player roster.

"Maybe he is not the one going one-on one anymore in the box," Klinsmann said. "He's changed his game over the last three years, which is normal. He has done an amazing job the last 10 days."

Klinsmann said it was not a decision against Donovan, 32, who had the support of his teammates. The coach said it came down to performance.

"I have to do what I believe is the right thing today," he said. "Time will tell if it was the right move, the right decisions on players. As of today I am very strongly convinced this is the right way to go."

Klinsmann appreciated that some of America's top veterans vocally supported Donovan in the past week.

"It's great when they mention to the media their thoughts," he said of players such as goalkeeper Tim Howard. "It's a lot of admiration coming with that. Landon has a lot of admiration. At the end of the day, we are the only ones to look after everyone. Our picture at the end of the day is different than players."

Klinsmann also addressed a tweet his teenage son Jon posted a few hours after the decision that make fun of Donovan. The coach said Jon Klinsmann, a goalkeeper who has orally committed to Cal starting in 2015, has a Donovan jersey in his room.

"He has a father who put him in line," Klinsmann said. "It was highly disrespectful. He got his biggest social media lesson imaginable."

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