FutbolMLS.com Digest: Breaking down Landon Donovan's USMNT cut, plus Robinho to Orlando City?
FutbolMLS.com is the go-to source for Spanish-language coverage of MLS and the upcoming World Cup, and every Friday we will be bringing you an English-language digest of the best content they have to offer. Oh, and don't miss everything you need to know about the upcoming weekend in MLS in the Starting XI.
1. LANDON ESTÁ FUERA: Let’s not make any bones about it — Landon Donovan’s exclusion from the USMNT was the biggest news to hit the North American soccer world in some time.
Naturally, the exclusion prompted a massive reaction not just among the US soccer community, but across the globe. FutbolMLS.com’s Diego Pinzon can barely believe it — "it's worse than a breakup."
It's easy (and accurate) to say that Landon was not at his best this year, having offered the LA Galaxy and the US little in the way of offensive punch. But what raises eyebrows, Pinzon argues, is the man who's presumably going in LD's place, 18-year-old Bayern Munich prospect Julian Green.
But, "playing in the reserves is not the same as playing for [Bayern head coach] Pep Guardiola," and it's hard to disagree, especially when his lone showing so far for the US and a three-minute Champions League cameo have not shown most viewers otherwise.
It's a debate that will rage on through the summer and beyond, but for Spanish readers this is a great place to start.
2. ROBINHO TO CITY?: Could Orlando City be ogling a Brazilian besides Kaka, with whom they've had a long-standing connection?
According to Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport, Robinho’s representatives have talked to AC Milan president Adriano Galliani about the possibility of terminating the player’s contract by mutual accord at the Italian giants, paving a way for a move to MLS.
Gazzetta also claims that “Robinho hopes to end his career in the United States” and that he would accept a break from playing, now that the European season has finished, until the MLS season starts next year. Meanwhile, according to Galliani, Kaka is "99 percent" certain to stay at the club for the 2014-15 campaign.
(An Orlando City spokesperson declined to comment to FutbolMLS.com on the report.)
3. ROSTER REVIEWS: The dust is still settling – not just from the USMNT roster announcement, but from similar announcements across the globe. (Yes, every coach has to make these kinds of decisions.)
Don’t feel overwhelmed, though – FutbolMLS.com’s Tiro Libre podcast has all you need to know as the news starts to filter through.
The gang discussed the (now-confirmed) possibility of Julian Green heading with the USMNT to Brazil, as well as some drastic measures being taken by Mexico manager Miguel ‘El Piojo’ Herrera to keep his team focused. (I won’t spoil it here, but let’s just say fraternization outside the team will be far from encouraged.)
FutbolMLS.com profiled the Chelsea star, looking at his exceptional vision and passing and array of individual and team honors, as well as some little-known facts about Hazard.
For example, did you know not only does Eden have a soccer-playing brother who also plays for Chelsea (Thorgan is 21 and spent the last two years on loan in his native country), but both his parents played soccer? His father was a semi-pro player in Belgium, while his mother played in the country’s top women’s division.
Also be sure to check out profiles of some other up-and-coming stars that will grace the world stage next month: Algeria winger Sofiane Feghouli, South Korean goal-getter Ji Dong-Won, and crafty Russian midfielder Alan Dzagoev.
5. MARTINS IS THE MAN: Obafemi Martins is another one of the high-profile snubs in this summer’s list, having not made the cut for Nigeria head coach Stephen Keshi.
That rankled FutbolMLS.com freelancer Jad El Reda, just a bit, who asks if Keshi really has that many other top-quality forwards at his disposal that can outshine Martins, or if the coach has simply forgotten the player's 18 goals in 39 games for the Super Eagles. Oh yeah, and there's the matter of his five goals and six assists in 2014 alone for Seattle.
It's good news for the Seattle Sounders, though, as Martins is the man in form for them at the moment, and showed just that with this peach of a goal for Seattle this past weekend. It's also good for the player himself, El Reda argues, as it gives him an opportunity to shine as a star in his own right in Seattle. (Not that Sounders fans need much help appreciating that caliber of player.) What say you?