Landon Donovan Returns to U.S. National Soccer Team for Gold Cup, Carlos Bocanegra Omitted

APTOPIX South Africa Soccer WCup US AlgeriaNEW YORK — Landon Donovan is returning to the U.S. national team after an absence of nearly 11 months, but Carlos Bocanegra was bypassed for the American roster for next month’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Donovan and veteran defender Oguchi Onyewu were among 23 players picked Thursday for the regional championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Bocanegra, the U.S. captain at the 2010 World Cup, was among 12 players cut from the preliminary roster, which was announced May 31.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann bypassed most of his Europe-based regulars, who are on vacation before their 2013-14 club seasons.

Donovan has played in three World Cups and hopes to regain a place on the first-tier roster when World Cup qualifying resumes in September. The 31-year-old forward has an American-record 49 international goals in 144 appearances but hasn’t played for the U.S. since the 1-0 exhibition win at Mexico on Aug. 15. Donovan strained a hamstring during that match, causing him to miss a pair of September qualifiers, then hurt a knee and wasn’t available for two more qualifiers in October.

He took a sabbatical of nearly four months after the Los Angeles Galaxy won their second straight MLS Cup, then returned on March 30.

“He needed time to get back in a rhythm, get back in shape and work on his game again. I think now the process is on a good roll,” Klinsmann told the USSF website. “He’s getting sharper every game and every week. We’ve watched his games and believe now is a good time to get him back into the national team and give him the opportunity to prove his point. He knows that the group that played the World Cup qualifiers is ahead of the curve and have a very strong position right now, and that he’s been observed by us and has to rebuild his case. We have all respect for what he has done in the past, but sports are about the present and about the future.”

Bocanegra, who turned 34 last month, has not appeared for the U.S. since a November exhibition at Russia but was dressed for February’s qualifier at Honduras. Klinsmann said this spring that Bocanegra had dropped out of the top four of American central defenders and he no longer saw him as a left back.

Onyewu, 32, made just two league appearances and nine overall for Malaga last season. He has not played for the U.S. since the opening qualifier against Antigua in June last year.

Six players cut saw time during three World Cup qualifiers in June: defenders Matt Besler, Brad Evans and Omar Gonzalez; midfielders Brad Davis and Graham Zusi; and forward Eddie Johnson.

Also cut were goalkeeper Tally Hall; midfielders Benny Feilhaber and Brek Shea; and forwards Alan Gordon and Bobby Wood. As many as four of the dropped players can be added to the active roster after the group stage.

Ten players on the roster are from Major League Soccer, seven from European clubs and six from Mexican teams.

The Americans play Guatemala in an exhibition at San Diego on July 5,. then open the tournament against Belize at Portland, Ore., on July 9. They play Cuba at Salt Lake City four days later and close the first round against Costa Rica at East Hartford, Conn., on July 16.

The winners of the 2013 and 2015 Gold Cups will meet in a playoff for a berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup.

The roster:

Goalkeepers: Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago), Nick Rimando (Salt Lake)

Defenders: Corey Ashe (Houston), DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla, Mexico), Tony Beltran (Salt Lake), Edgar Castillo (Tijuana, Mexico), Clarence Goodson (Brondby, Denmark), Oguchi Onyewu (Malaga, Spain), Michael Orozco (Puebla, Mexico), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg, Germany)

Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Helsinborg, Sweden), Joe Corona (Tijuana, Mexico), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg, Norway), Joshua Gatt (Molde, Norway), Stuart Holden (Bolton, England), Jose Torres (Tigres, Mexico)

Forwards: Will Bruin (Houston), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), Herculez Gomez (Tijuana. Mexico), Jack McInerney (Philadelphia), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose).

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