Why Landon Donovan Breaking MLS Goal Scoring Record Doesn’t Mean He Should Be In World Cup

If you think for one minute that Ghana, Portugal or Germany will be anywhere near the hopeless level of the Philadephia Union, think again. I give Landon Donovan credit where credit is due. He absolutely dominates Major League Soccer. Always has and always will. But after watching his Los Angeles Galaxy dismantle an utterly useless Union squad on Sunday evening 4-1, I have come to the conclusion that if I get fit and am willing to live off of $35,000 a year, I too can play for the Union.

And therein lies the biggest problem in MLS. The bad teams are so horrible that we all think we can just get fit and play for them. And we might be right!

So the Union were the perfect partner to launch Landon’s revenge. He had a good assist and two goals from open play goals, and then broke the MLS all-time scoring record. He is the King of MLS, that I do not dispute. But that is also what kept him off Jurgen’s roster for World Cup 2014.

The way the Union played Sunday evening at the Stub Hub Center, there wasn’t a player amongst them that could make Ghana, Portugal or Germany’s under 16 national team rosters. And that is how Jurgen looks at all this. The things that Landon did Sunday don’t work in top flight international play. The game doesn’t open up that much. Philly looked like they were playing with each other for the first time. They have no clue how to play a flat-four. But did they ever adjust during the game? Of course not!

It almost looked like they were setting it all up for Landon’s heroic night, but that would be giving the Union players way too much credit. Tearing up pathetic MLS defenses does not get you onto World Cup squads. Just look at last year’s regular season MLS MVP Mike Magee.


Exactly! He was never even in Jurgen’s mix and he was voted the league MVP last year. How, I don’t know. But it happened.

This article isn’t meant to rip MLS. The league has come very far, and is here to stay. But when you have a world-class player as your international team coach now, it takes more than slicing up incredibly unorganized defenses to get you to the most elite sports tournament in the world.

Landon owns MLS, and probably will for many more years because his domination of the league comes so easy for him. And that, ultimately, is his downfall with the national team. Jurgen doesn’t want guys in his mix who like things to come easily. And unfortunately, Landon is the epitomy of that.

Editor’s note: Mark Vincent Lincir is the author of The Gift of Stoppage Time and A Soccer Life in Shorts.

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