Donovan ruled out of World Cup qualifiers
Landon Donovan will not play for the U.S. team in a pair of
upcoming World Cup qualifying matches because of an injured left
knee, adding to what will be a pressure-filled few days for the
U.S. Soccer said Tuesday that Donovan – who has more goals and
starting caps than any other player – will likely not be replaced
on what was a 24-man roster for the upcoming qualifiers, first on
Friday on the road against Antigua and Barbuda, then in Kansas City
on Oct. 16 against Guatemala.
Donovan was injured while playing Saturday for the Los Angeles
Galaxy. He was selected by U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann for these
qualifiers anyway, and the team’s athletic trainers wanted him to
be evaluated one more time before he started training.
Donovan had scrapped plans for an MRI in Los Angeles on Monday
because he thought his knee had improved.
”Landon was very optimistic over the weekend when his knee was
feeling much better, but now he needs time to recover,” Klinsmann
Brek Shea was also was ruled out of the qualifiers on Tuesday
because of an abdominal injury. Barring a change of plans, that
means Klinsmann will take only 22 players to Antigua for what would
seems to be a must-win match on Friday night.
”We knew Brek was a question mark coming in, and now we have a
clear picture of where he stands,” Klinsmann said. ”We feel
confident that the group we have will get the job done.”
It is not shaping up as an easy task, with three teams playing
for two spots in next year’s regional finals.
The U.S., Guatemala and Jamaica all have seven points after the
first four matches of play in this qualifying round, while Antigua
and Barbuda has one point. For the U.S. to reach next year’s
regional finals, four points – a win and a draw – would seem to be
the most probable requirement.
Guatemala figures to have the toughest draw remaining of the
three teams atop Group A, having to play both Jamaica (which would
currently be the odd team out because of a goal-differential
tiebreaker) and the U.S.
If the Americans win on Friday, they would control their destiny
as far as reaching the next round, no matter what the
Guatemala-Jamaica result is that same night.