Landon Donovan: “The level of selfishness in that moment is beyond me. Honestly, it’s beyond me.” (www.AndyMead/YCJPhoto)
By Michael Lewis
Former U.S. men’s national team legend Landon Donovan, who set standards for club and country, says what got Weston McKennie banished from the squad “is almost beyond repair.”
McKennie, who broke team rules, was suspended from the 1-1 home draw with Canada Sunday night. On Monday he was sent back to Italy, where he performs for Juventus as the USMNT prepares for its third qualifier within a week at Honduras Wednesday night.
“It is almost beyond repair, and he has a lot of work to do with his teammates to make sure that he never does something like that again because you lose trust in your teammates,” he said on the Futbol with Grant Wahl podcast.
Donovan knows a few things about World Cup and the qualifying process, having performed in three quadrennial tournament (2002, 2006 and 2010).
“I am I am privy to what happened I’m not going to announce that publicly,” Donovan said on the podcast. “I will just say, I am incredibly disappointed in Weston, incredibly disappointed. Look, I can understand Juventus during a long club season, you’re sitting at home for months and months and months and you want to have people over. Is it the smartest thing to do? No, but I get it.”
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The exact details of what McKennie did has not been released by the team or head coach Gregg Berhalter.
In April, the 23-year-old McKennie held a party in Turin, Italy that included some of his teammates that ran past the curfew deadline in Italy. He was sanctioned by his club, Juventus.
“This is one week of your life with three massive games, not only for yourself but for your teammates and for your country, to go to a World Cup,” Donovan said. “The level of selfishness in that moment is beyond me. Honestly, it’s beyond me.
“I’ve made a lot of dumb mistakes in my life. I get it. I’m not here to be all righteous, but he is young. But he’s old enough to understand that you don’t do this, you don’t need to put yourself in this situation and worse, put your team in that situation.
“Would they have won the game if he’s on the field yesterday? I don’t know, but their chances went up a lot. I promise, if he was on the field and their chances of winning or getting a point in Honduras go up a ton on Wednesday if he’s in the lineup.
“I am just really disappointed with him. It doesn’t mean you write them off and he’s a horrible human being, he needs to learn from this. But his can never ever happen again. It is almost beyond repair, and he has a lot of work to do with his teammates to make sure that he never does something like that again because you lose trust in your teammates.
“This is their livelihood these guys want to go to a World Cup. Christian [Pulisic] knows what it feels like to sit on the field in Trinidad, crying because he didn’t go to a World Cup. You can’t put your team in that situation. So, it’s really disappointing. I hope he has apologized profusely. I hope he is able to make the trip on Wednesday for the game, and he needs to make amends. He really does.”
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