Klinsmann ready to see more of Donovan 

November, 23, 2011

CARSON, Calif. -- Landon Donovan looks drained as much as elated. He's sitting next to coach Bruce Arena and David Beckham at a podium inside the Home Depot center on Sunday night, shortly after scoring the goal that won his L.A. Galaxy the MLS Cup, as Arena answers a question about the star's decision to skip the Americans' recent friendly in France.

"Landon had no choice in that matter, to be honest with you," the former U.S. boss said. "Landon's been playing injured ... he needed the time off. If Landon could get on a plane and play for the national team, he would do it. He was at a point physically where he couldn't do it, and that's the reason he made that decision."

Current U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann let Donovan make the choice, but wasn't thrilled with it. Since taking over in July, Klinsmann has made a point of publicly challenging his veterans, including Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard, and the German's relationship with Donovan -- the country's all-time scoring leader -- promises to be one of the more fascinating subplots of 2012.

Luke Cyphers is a former senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.
Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.