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May 22, 2014

Landon Donovan left off U.S. squad

Jurgen Klinsmann has some difficult decisions to make regarding some of his star players. Watch this and more in episode 2 tonight at 10 pm ET on ESPN.

Landon Donovan has been left off the United States' final 23-man squad for the World Cup.

Carlisle: Donovan absence sends shockwaves
Five Aside: Inexperienced squad
Experts' Twitter reactions
SportsNation poll: No Donovan, fair or foul?
U.S. notebook: Gonzalez on the mend
Donovan: I'm very disappointed

The following players also missed the cut for the team that will play in Brazil: defenders Michael Parkhurst, Brad Evans and Clarence Goodson; midfielders Joe Corona and Maurice Edu; and forward Terrence Boyd.

U.S. Soccer announced the squad on Twitter on Thursday.

Donovan, 32, has played for the U.S. in the past three World Cups dating back to 2002. He has been the face of the national team for most of the past decade, but spoke in recent months about how his body is no longer what it had once been.

He expressed his disappointment at his omission on Facebook on Thursday night.

"I was looking forward to playing in Brazil and, as you can imagine, I am very disappointed with today's decision," he wrote.

Donovan was a mainstay of the national team before he took a sabbatical of about four months after the 2012 season, spending part of the time in Cambodia. U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann said Donovan would have to earn his spot back.

Klinsmann restored Donovan to the roster for last summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup, where he excelled, and played Donovan in World Cup qualifiers later in the year. But Klinsmann kept Donovan out of the starting lineup for last month's exhibition against Mexico, saying he had practiced poorly because of a knee problem.

Donovan has appeared in more World Cup matches, 12, than any other U.S. player. He is second on the list of all-time appearances for the United States.

"It's an exciting moment when you have narrowed the roster down as a coaching staff, and these 23 players that you've chosen can focus now purely on Brazil," Klinsmann in a statement. "We can go into more specific things about technical approaches, and about the opponents. For the players, it's very important to know that they are now part of it and they can relax and know they are on the list going to Brazil and taking it from there. After almost 10 days of work right now, we thought the point has come to make the decision."

When Klinsmann announced his 30-man preliminary roster on May 12, he said he viewed Donovan more as a forward than a midfielder. In his place are young playmaker Aron Johannsson, 23, and MLS veteran Chris Wondolowski, 31.

Wondolowski was a hero of the U.S. triumph in last summer's Gold Cup, with five goals in the first two games. He also scored twice in a friendly against South Korea in February, and once against Mexico in April. He has five goals in nine games for the San Jose Earthquakes so far this season.

Johannsson was the third-top scorer in the Dutch Eredivisie this season for AZ Alkmaar, with 17 league goals.

Donovan can also play on the wing, but Klinsmann instead chose Bayern Munich youngster Julian Green, who at 18 years old is the youngest member of the squad. He made his first and only appearance for the U.S. as a substitute against Mexico in April.

Edu and Goodson also played on the 2010 roster but did not make the final squad this time.

Five of the cut players compete in Major League Soccer, while Corona plays in Mexico for Tijuana and Boyd plays for   Rapid Vienna in Austria.

They have been placed on a standby list and will be returned to their club teams.

Among defenders, MLS players Evans, Goodson and Parkhurst were overlooked in favor of three players who compete in Klinsmann's native Germany:   John Brooks,   Timmy Chandler and   Fabian Johnson. Brooks, 21, has made just three appearances with the Americans.

Parkhurst said he thought he did his best in the training camp in Stanford, Calif.

Evans was able to take his omission with a smile:

Before traveling to Brazil, the Americans will play three matches: Azerbaijan on May 27 in San Francisco; Turkey on June 1 in Harrison, New Jersey; and Nigeria on June 7 in Jacksonville, Florida.

The full squad:

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)

Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

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