Like many observers, Ray Hudson, a former professional soccer player and coach in four countries, was stunned by Coach Juergen Klinsmann’s decision to leave Landon Donovan off the U.S. World Cup team.
But unlike many observers, Hudson has his own radio show on SiriusXM. And he used that pulpit Friday to talk about the decision. Here are some of the highlights:
“This move to leave Landon Donovan out, a player that’s got more experience, leadership, vision, inspiration, a two-way player, committed, driven, at 32 years old after the achievements he has done in his career, leading the United States by their bootstraps every World Cup, and you’re telling me that Brad Davis, [Alejandro] Bedoya, [Fabian] Johnson, [Graham] Zusi, [Mix] Diskerud, [Clint] Dempsey is better than Landon Donovan?”
On Klinsmann: “I have backed this coach all the way down the line. I never seen this one coming. I find it inconceivable that DaMarcus Beasley, as great a player as DaMarcus has been, is going to four World Cups and Landon is going to three.”
On the coach’s message: “Maybe he might not have been a starter. He may not have been an absolute automatic-choice starter. I get it. I’ve seen him play some quiet games, flat games if you like, for Los Angeles Galaxy. I’ve been a little disappointed. It’s a different world at the World Cup! And this man that picks them knows it. Klinsman has been to the top of the mountains. Klinsy is a good man, he’s a good coach. This one, he has sent out an S.O.S. message to his squad: ‘There ain’t any [muck]ing around now. There’s no [muck]ing around now in my team.’ He’s put more pressure on all of his players because every time they make a bad pass or they miss a goal in front of goal they’re going to say, ‘Well, Landon could have done that.’”
On who is left behind: “What about Jozy Altidore? Oh, he’s been brilliant for Sunderland. You just go to the northeast of England and ask them about Jozy Altidore. Clint Dempsey. Are you kidding me? Did you see him last season, at the end of last season? Did you see his football, his play, his decision making? That’s what we’re talking about coming to the heat of battle in the intensity of a World Cup game -- decision making. And Landon makes better decisions than anybody because he’s cerebral. The game, when it comes to this age, it’s not all about speed. If you want speed go out and get your fastest runner. That’s not what football is about. … OK, he may have lost a half a step, or a step. I’ll take it because of what he brings to the table!”Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times