Rapids have their say on Klinsmann's 23

There's shock and surprise in the locker room at omission of Donovan, Goodson and Evans

Landon Donovan and Jurgen Klinsmann

Photo Credit: 
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Amid the cheers and jeers during the latest ping-pong match, there was just one topic of conversation in the Colorado Rapids locker room this morning. Like the rest of the soccer-loving fans across this great land, chatter in the work-place was dominated by the USA's 23-man squad for next month's World Cup in Brazil.

Big names with big reputations were left licking their wounds, as head coach Jurgen Klinsmann sliced seven players from his initial 30-man party. The most notable 'victims' of Klinsmann's axe were the USA's all-time leading scorer, Landon Donovan, as well as 2010 World Cup veterans Clarence Goodson and Maurice Edu.

"We played LA Galaxy three weeks ago, a side containing Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez, but it was the thought of facing Landon Donovan which kept me awake the night before," admitted Rapids defender and captain, Drew Moor.

Others to miss out were Seattle Sounders' defender Brad Evans, a close friend and former teammate of Marc Burch,

"I'm just really disappointed," Burch told me. "Of course you back the 23 that he (Klinsmann) puts on the plane, but there are guys who helped our team get to this point, and proved that they can play, and proved that they can shut down teams.

"It's disappointing for them not to be going, and my heart goes out to those guys. The World Cup comes around once every four years, and once you get to a certain age, there's no more ... it's tough."

Evans took his omission with great grace, sending out what was arguably the top tweet of another-wise dark day for the 29-year-old.

The USA are in Group G, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal, Klinsmann's native Germany and African powerhouse Ghana but, despite his humorous tweet, Burch admits Evans will be bitterly disappointed at missing out.

"Deep down it's gonna hurt," suggested Burch. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for him. Being 29 years old it's probably his last shot.

"You know he's gonna be disappointed, but he's a man and one of the best people I know, and he dealt with it the right way. His frustrations, he'll keep them in, and use those to motivate himself and I'm sure he's gonna do well for Seattle from now on."

Moor was left puzzled by the decision to leave Donovan on the sidelines, undoubtedly the big talking point from the USA's final squad announcement.

"I've had mixed emotions about it," he said. "It's an interesting decision. I was real heated about it this morning when I came in, but Pablo (Mastroeni) made a fair point that 'judge the squad and the picks that the head coach made after the World Cup', but if we had 30 minutes, 45 minutes, I think I'd still have plenty of points to make about it."

The USA open their World Cup campaign on June 16, when they take on Ghana in Natal. This is followed by a testing trip to the Amazon to meet Portugal in Manaus on June 22, before tackling Germany four days later in Recife.

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 (Nurnberg), 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).