Landon Donovan will not travel with the United States to Europe for friendlies against France and Slovenia after asking off of the team as he prepares for MLS Cup with the Los Angeles Galaxy. Donovan was initially named to the team by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, but the attacker's Galaxy team qualified for MLS Cup on Sunday evening and he expressed his desire to remain in Los Angeles and prepare for the match. Klinsmann will not call in a replacement for Donovan on the roster.
"The plan was to have Landon come in for the match against France and then return to the LA Galaxy in preparation for MLS Cup, but after further discussion Landon expressed his desire to stay in Los Angeles," Klinsmann said. "While my preference was to have Landon with us for this important match, I respect his decision.
That Donovan has asked out of the friendlies is not a surprise. Many predicted it would happen if the Galaxy made it to MLS Cup. He had battled a calf injury prior to the MLS Cup playoffs and his sub-par play in the Galaxy's three playoff games have led some to question if he has fully recovered from the injury. With that possibility and the long travel to France and back before the Galaxy play for the MLS championship, Donovan's absence is no surprise.
In Donovan's absence, Klinsmann is left with a bit of a problem. Since taking over the U.S. team, Klinsmann has yet to be able to get Donovan and Clint Dempsey on the field at the same time as one of the two have been absent for every match either due to injury, club commitments or exhaustion. He won't get the two on the field against France now or Slovenia, something he could have used as the team continues to struggle with the German at the helm.