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Landon Donovan critical of Jurgen Klinsmann's World Cup tactics

The leading scorer in U.S. Soccer history says team was not set up to succeed, specifically against Belgium and Germany.

SB Nation's 2014 World Cup Bracket'

Now that the United States has been eliminated from the World Cup the armchair analysts will be coming out in full force. Jumping to the front of the line -- perhaps predictably -- is Landon Donovan, who aimed a few bombs at U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

"I think we're all disappointed in what happened yesterday," Donovan told reporters following Wednesday's training session with the LA Galaxy. "I think the most disappointing [thing] is we didn't seem like we gave it a real effort, from a tactical standpoint. I thought the guys did everything they could, they did everything that was asked of them, but I don't think we were set up to succeed yesterday, and that was tough to watch.

"As a whole, I think tactically, the team was not set up to succeed."

Donovan was willing to say that making it out of the group stage should be considered a significant accomplishment and he even admitted that it's much easier to second-guess tactical decisions with the hindsight of knowing how they played out. But he was also firm in his assertion that Klinsmann did not follow the same kind of aggressive, free-flowing philosophy that had guided the United States through qualifying.

Among the specific critiques Donovan had were allowing Clint Dempsey to play as a lone forward against Belgium and Germany -- while failing to acknowledge the USA also set up that way against Portugal -- and using Michael Bradley as more of a pure attacking option.

"Michael was put in the wrong position," Donovan said. "He was put in a position that he's not used to playing. He does a better job, as you saw with Julian Green's goal, being in a deeper position. And having someone in front of him, someone to help Clint also, makes him that much better because he's got more opportunity to pick out different passes, more attacking options ahead of him. I think that was clearly an error."

Among the topics on which Donovan apparently refused to comment was whether he felt his inclusion on the team would have changed anything. Donovan had starred for the United States in each of the past two World Cups and was in line to make his fourth roster until he was one of the more surprising cuts just a couple weeks before the tournament.