Landon Donovan was U.S. soccer’s all-time leading scorer before head coach Jurgen Klinsmann left him off the team roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in late May. Donovan admitted to being disappointed at the time he was cut, but on Friday he revealed feelings that may be a bit more controversial.
When watching the U.S. take on Azerbaijan in a warm-up game on May 28, only days after he had been notified that he would be kept off the team, Donovan admitted to rooting for the U.S. to play poorly.
“I’ll be completely honest, watching them play Azerbaijan, inside, part of me was thinking, I hope the game doesn’t go very well today,” Donovan told the Los Angeles Times. “In my heart of hearts, I thought, if we get a 1-0 win and the team doesn’t perform well, that would feel good.”
Donovan even said that, given the way he felt, he wasn’t originally sure if he’d even be able to watch his former team play.
“I was sad, angry, upset, disappointed, some low days, not fun days,” Donovan said. “As athletes, we all have egos, we all think we can help, and when you’re not given that chance, it’s hard to watch.”
The 32-year-old forward for the Los Angeles Galaxy did say, though, that he has since gotten over the situation, and no longer feels jealous of the slight.
“Then the next day I woke up and said to myself, that’s a really crappy way to feel,” Donovan said. “That’s a bad way to live your life, it doesn’t help me, it doesn’t help the team, it doesn’t help the energy that the team needs.”
Donovan has joined ESPN as an analyst during U.S. World Cup games, and now says that he carries no grudge with him during the country’s current run.
“I love playing for that team, I love playing for this country, I’m not going to turn my back on them all of a sudden,” Donovan said.