Was Donovan unjustly left off U.S. roster? 

May, 16, 2013

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann goes to great lengths to communicate his thoughts and ideas to those who closely follow the national team, but sometimes he seems to leave observers with more questions than answers.

Take the 26-man squad Klinsmann named Thursday for next month's three World Cup qualifying matches (and the two friendlies that precede them). As expected, all-time leading U.S. scorer Landon Donovan was not included on the list.

"I think Landon is catching up," Klinsmann told U.S. Soccer's website. "... Now he's just working himself back into shape and back into a playing rhythm. He will get sharper and more confident with every game he's going to play."

That seems fair enough. After all, Donovan skipped the Yanks' first three qualifiers of 2013 while on a self-imposed break from soccer and is just beginning to rediscover his form. However, his exclusion doesn't make sense when Brek Shea, Michael Parkhurst and Danny Williams all got the call despite the fact that not one of them has played a minute with his European club since March.

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