Landon Donovan may 2014

There has been a lot of outrage over the exclusion of Landon Donovan from the Team USA soccer roster for the 2014 World Cup. Some of it is undoubtedly due to the skill the man has exhibited in past international tournaments.

Donovan finishes his career with the USMNT the owner of every major goal scoring record there is. It is unfortunate that this is how his tenure came to an end and if the U.S. lays a stink bomb at the World Cup, then that combined with this decision will be the undoing of head coach Jurgen Klinsman.

More of the outrage is probably due to how fun outrage can be. But it also might have something to do with the fact that Donovan has been the face of American soccer since he busted onto the scene in 2002. For Americans who watch soccer once every four years, he was their rock. Their constant.

The idea of finding another player to pin your longshot hopes on can be too much for most to bear. But fear not. The next star of American soccer will emerge. There will be more highlights and someone (hopefully many ones) on this squad will be providing them.

Let's examine some of the stars who could become household names or possibly heroes during this World Cup.

Michael Bradley might be the most talented American to ever play in a World Cup. He is a world class controlling mid. Having him is like having Chris Paul run your offense. He remains calm under pressure, plays with finesse and makes his teammates better with his skill as a distributor. Every quality side in the tournament would love to have a Michael Bradley, but only we do. USA!

Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey are two of the most well known players on this squad. But they are also among the most physical forwards in the tournament. Chris Wondolowski (Wondo to his friends) is one of those players who is always in the right place at the right time. He's an opportunistic goal scorer.

Omar Gonzalez is a beast, and at 26 he's playing in his first World Cup. At 6-foot-5, he is a beastly figure to have on your back line. He is imposing and a bit of a bully. If he can shake off his recent training injury and play to the form he had for the Los Angeles Galaxy, then he could be our greatest defensive asset in Brazil.

We have two players who are of German decent on the U.S. roster. Both played for the German youth national teams, but since they had duel citizenship, were able to make the switch to the U.S. side.

Fabian Johnson (left back) and Jermaine Jones (midfield) both have extensive experience in the Bundesliga and played on youth teams with the German players whom they'll be facing in Brazil. Familiarity breeds contempt. Expect these guys to try to lay it on their former teammates.

Julian Green is the youngest player on the squad, but at the tender age of 18, he has already accomplished a lot. Green had 15 goals in 23 appearances for the youth division of Bayern Munich before graduating to the full squad last year. That's right, a teenager from Tampa was actively playing for one of the top four clubs in soccer.

Green is a wing/striker with exceptional footwork and blazing speed. He is tiny but quick. He could be the next breakout star for the U.S.

With all that international experience, what I am going to say next may be surprising. Graham Zusi, a player who has never played a second in South America, is the most Brazilian player on the squad .

Zusi sees angles and passes that others do not and has an incredibly high motor. He mixes it up and is an incredibly fun player to watch. Also he's kind of handsome , so he is sure to be your mom's favorite player. Get ready to hear, "Why can't you be more like Graham Zusi?" from most of the women in your life.

So, you see, even without Landon Donovan, there are lots of good guys to root for. One of these players, or maybe even someone else not on this list (Brad Davis, Timmy Chandler, Alejandro Bedoya, etc.), may become the next Landon Donovan.

Or maybe this squad will do something Landon Donovan was never able to do and get to the semi-finals...


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