In an unprecedented teleconference with journalists today, MLS Commissioner Don Garber publicly nailed U.S. National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann for not only his recent comments about Michael Bradley and MLS, but his treatment of LA Galaxy icon Landon Donovan before the World Cup last summer.
“I believe Landon should have been in Brazil,” said Garber, adding that his recent treatment for cancer prevented him from speaking out before on the issue. “His performance dictated it. … His treatment was inexcusable. I have concerns that his criticism, particularly of Michael, is following that pattern.”
Garber, who was clearly infuriated by Klinsmann’s comments and said as much. didn’t hold back in an unusually candid press conference that gave a peek into the relationships between those who hold the reins of power in MLS and U.S. soccer.
“I’m demanding that he refrain from making comments that are critical of our players and damaging to our league,” Garber said.
“Jurgen’s comments are very, very detrimental to the league, they’re detrimental to the sport of soccer in America,” Garber added. “Not only are they detrimental, they’re wrong.”
“Sending a message to any player and obviously to U.S. players that signing to Major League Soccer is not going to be good to their career or good to their form is detrimental to Major League Soccer.”
Garber said Klinsmann’s comments were “incredibly damaging” to the relationship MLS has with sponsors, fans and the signing of international players. He said he would send a “very strong” letter to U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, but declined to say whether he would take the matter further as a board member of U.S. soccer.
What do you think? Was Klinsmann telling it like it is or was he just flat out wrong?
A six-part documentary series documenting Landon Donovan’s career will be released daily through Sunday’s showdown with the Seattle Sounders by MLS and Copper Pot Pictures (makers of “Kei,” the documentary about Sierra Leone refugee Kei Kamara who moved to Lawndale) as told by the likes of Bruce Arena, Tim Cahill, Todd Dunivant, John Ellinger, Julie Foudy, Chris Klein, David Moyes, Richard Motzkin, Paul Pabst, Rob Stone, Taylor Twellman and Grant Wahl.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) October 12, 2014
Fresh off a triumphant finale to his U.S. career, Landon Donovan and the Galaxy are in Dallas as the run-in to the MLS playoffs continues ahead of two crunch games at Seattle that will shape the playoffs.
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) October 7, 2014
Read more about the conclusion of Landon Donovan’s U.S. career on Friday in this week’s column.
— Norma (@norma_28) October 7, 2014
The image above was included by U.S. Soccer this morning as they announced the 21-player roster for Friday’s game against Ecuador that included the LA Galaxy’s Omar Gonzalez in addition to Landon Donovan, set to make his 157th and final U.S. appearance in the wake of Saturday’s latest Galaxy victory.
I’ll have more on Donovan in Tuesday’s column, in addition to today’s USWNT roster announcement for the beginning of World Cup qualification, which begins against a backdrop of litigation and other legal action over the turf in Canada and goalkeeper Hope Solo’s alleged domestic violence issues.
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) August 26, 2014
The game in Hartford, Conn., is a friendly against Ecuador and will air live on ESPN.
“For 15 years, Landon has thrilled us with his amazing abilities on the field and impressed us with his gracious approach off the field,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “We are looking forward to celebrating his legacy during our next home National Team match and allowing fans the opportunity to thank him for all the memories he’s provided over the years.”
There was no quote from Jurgen Klinsmann in the press release, BTW.
Oh, and for the actual column on the upcoming SuperClasico, click here.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) August 12, 2014
The game will kickoff at 11:45 a.m. with TV information to be announced at a later date.
“We are absolutely thrilled to finish our work in 2014 with a game against Ireland,” said U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “They are consistently a difficult team to play against, and we welcome these types of challenges as we continue to move our team forward towards the Gold Cup next year.”
More from the U.S. Soccer press release:
Ireland has been drawn into Group D of qualifying for the 2014 European Championship, along with 2014 FIFA World Cup champion Germany. The Irish will face Scotland in qualifying action four days prior to hosting the United States. LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane is the team’s captain and its all-time leader in appearances (134) and goals (62).
The USA holds a 2-4-2 record against Ireland in a series dating back to 1924. This is the first meeting since April 17, 2002, in Dublin, where the Irish collected a 2-1 win.
The U.S. will also play the Czech Republic Sept. 3 in Prague in its first post-World Cup game.