The United States men's national team today announced their preliminary 30 man roster for the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil, as selected by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez were both named on that preliminary roster, and will report to Palo Alto, CA for training camp by Wednesday. Donovan has been selected as a forward on the roster.
The Galaxy pair are two of fifteen MLS players on the preliminary roster, by far the biggest contributor to the nation team equal to all of the other top flight leagues combined. The Galaxy join Real Salt Lake, the San Jose Earthquakes, andSporting Kansas City in contributing two players, while the Seattle Sounders gave up three.
Lanodn Donovan is one of ten players who were also on the preliminary roster for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Donovan and DeMarcus Beasley have appeared on three World Cup rosters (2002, 2006, 2010), and those two plus Clint Dempsey have over 100 caps.
"First of all, we want to thank all of the players who have been a part of the process these last three years," said Klinsmann. "It's been an incredible journey, and everyone has worked tremendously hard. We had some difficult decisions to make, and we are very excited about the 30 players coming into camp. There is competition in every position, and these next couple of weeks will allow us to make the final determinations on the best 23-man unit to represent the United States in the World Cup."
The three year process began after Klinsmann took over the national team in July of 2011 after the US lost in the final of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup. He's made several changes from Bob Bradley's regulars, moving on from Carlos Bocanegra and naming Clint Dempsey captain. He went with an unproven center back pairing of MLS Defender of the Year winners, throwing them directly into the fire of World Cup Qualifying. While Klinsmann expressed some reservations about Donovan's sabbatical in 2013, that seems to have blown over.
The national team will play three friendlies in the buildup to naming the final 23 man roster which will represent the United States in Brazil. The first takes place on May 27th in San Francisco.
For the LA Galaxy, this means they will be without Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez until the United States conclude their run through the World Cup. With MLS taking a break during the group stage of the cup some of that absence is negated, but there are plenty of matches between now and then which will see Bruce Arena have to put together a starting XI without them and with a number of injury holes.
In the immediate future, Kofi Opare can step in for Omar Gonzalez. Gyasi Zardes may see more of the field in Landon Donovan's absence, but looking at bench options Robbie Rogers may be a better choice to step into Donovan's shoes. Zardes tends to be more of a wide player, and Donovan has been key to the central part of the offense.