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May 21, 2014

Donovan's omission leaves inexperienced U.S. roster

FC's Steve Nicol describes how politics can influence managers into making decisions regarding their team.

The United States announced its 2014 World Cup squad today, and the headline was the omission of Landon Donovan, who scored the last-gasp goal against Algeria at the 2010 World Cup to send the U.S. to the knockout round. Here are five notes on the roster release...

•  Donovan is the United States' all-time leader in goals and assists. Donovan's 57 goals are 21 more than the second-best total of Clint Dempsey, and Donovan's 57 assists are equal to the next three players on the list combined. Donovan scored eight goals in 2013, his second-highest single-year output with the national team.

- On Twitter: Soccer world reacts to Donovan news
- Poll: No Donovan, fair or foul?
- McIntyre: Shock waves, repercussions on Donovan news

•  Donovan is also the United States' all-time leader in World Cup caps with 12 and in goals with five, and he could have been the first U.S. player to appear in four World Cups or to score in three. With Donovan off the team, six players on the final roster have been on previous World Cup teams, and they've combined to score three goals in 25 matches.

•  In Donovan's absence, only Clint Dempsey can be the first American to score in three World Cups. This also means that DaMarcus Beasley will likely be the first American to play in four World Cups. Claudio Reyna and Kasey Keller were each on four World Cup rosters but did not play in all four.

•  Looking at the U.S. back line, Beasley is the only one with previous World Cup experience, and his seven appearances were in the midfield. None of the potential U.S. center backs have previously played at a World Cup, making this the first U.S. team since 1990 without a center back who had played at a World Cup.

•  Julian Green turns 19 on June 6. He'll be the second-youngest player ever on a United States World Cup squad, trailing only 17-year-old Joseph Martinelli in 1934. If Green plays, he will be the youngest American ever to appear at a World Cup, a year younger than DaMarcus Beasley in 2002.

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