landon-donovan-02-240I know very little about soccer but this Landon Donovan story is strange to me. Donovan was left off of the USA World Cup team due to his age (32) or his “lack of heart.” He went on a sabbatical a year ago and came back a changed person which was noticed by Jurgen Kinsmann the coach of the USA team. Landon may not be in his prime, but doesn’t the leading World Cup and MLS goal scorer deserve a spot on the team?

mccann-datalab-donovan-goals2The World Cup roster consists of 23 players. 11 players play at a time and the team gets 3 subs. By my count this leaves a lot of players who won’t be getting into the game.  Without watching Landon play in the past 10 years, it’s hard for me to comment on his declining ability but based on the coach not picking him, I’m sure he’s not as good as he was.  Is this good enough reason though to leave him off?

mccann-datalab-donovan-scoringI vote no.  Here is another graph of scoring chances Donovan created since 2013 on the men’s national team.  That’s 13 more than the next closer player going to Brazil.  I’m obviously missing something here about his loss of talent in the past year.  He is the leading USA World Cup scorer with 5 goals in the past 3 World Cup’s and he has experience like no other.  Is Kinsmann saying that the 23rd roster spot is going to have more of an impact than Landon Donovan?  Doubt it.


Suck it Kinsmann

Donovan scores 2 goals on Sunday night to become the leading MLS scorer of all time.