SAN FRANCISCO – Aside from a stray poster lovingly hung by a fan over the railing at Candlestick Park, there wasn’t much mention of Landon Donovan on the eve of the US national team’s first World Cup preparation game without him.
But center back Omar Gonzalez admitted the he had always envisioned his LA Galaxy teammate on the plane to Brazil when the time came, a dream he shelved after Donovan was cut from Jurgen Klinsman’s 23-man roster last week.
“It sucks not having him here,” Gonzalez said before the team’s final workout session ahead a tune-up match against Azerbaijan on Tuesday night (10 pm ET, ESPN2). “Since I began this journey in trying to make this team, I always figured he would be here, and we would play in a World Cup together. But that’s not the case.
“And those decisions aren’t up to me. And that’s the way it is.”
Gonzalez said he texted Donovan congratulations on Sunday night after Donovan scored two goals in the Galaxy’s 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Union, and set Major League Soccer’s all-time scoring record in the process.
“Landon is a great friend and a great teammate, and we’ve shared some great memories at the Galaxy together,” he said. “I was hoping to make some more memories together here. And since he’s not here, I have to make some memories of my own, and it will be tough not having him here.
"But me and the rest of the other guys all deserve to be here and we all have to come together as a team and figure it out.”
Klinsmann declined to comment Monday about whether any current player will wear the coveted No. 10 jersey often reserved for the team’s most dynamic attacking player – the number worn by Donovan for the US team since 2007. Claudio Reyna and current USMNT assistant Tab Ramos also famously wore the No. 10 jersey in the past for the US.
Instead, Klinsmann insisted, US Soccer will make a “special announcement” about the jersey designation at some point in the future.