Landon Donovan will not be going to his fourth World Cup. The United States’ all-time leading scorer didn’t make the final cut for the 23-man roster named by coach Jurgen Klinsmann on Thursday.
Donovan had struggled in recent matches, but he still was the team’s most surprising cut. The 32-year-old star was selected to the U.S.’s 30-man preliminary roster earlier in the month. Klinsmann called leaving Donovan off his final roster the toughest decision of his coaching career.
One of Donovan’s final performances came against Costa Rica when The Ticos defeated the United States, 3-1, in San José last October. The Costa Rica match was Donovan’s first with the United States since June 2012, an absence of 10 games. He had earned his way back on the team after taking a four-month sabbatical from the sport. But ultimately, he couldn’t do enough to stick around on a roster highlighted by its youth.
Donovan will be remembered best for scoring one of the most dramatic goals in team history during the 2010 World Cup. In the waning minutes against Algeria, Donovan knocked in a frantic goal that saved the United States from elimination.