Landon Donovan: Respect Doesn't Mean Anything

Moral victories aren't victories, Landon Donovan explained to after the U.S. lost to Brazil in the Confederations Cup final.
JOHANNESBURG—Landon Donovan doesn’t go in for moral victories anymore. He wants the hardware.

After the United States lost to Brazil, 3-2, in the Confederations Cup final, the U.S. striker, who scored his side’s second goal, had some strong words for anyone—teammates, media members, fans—who might be tempted to praise the side's efforts in the loss. Donovan is obviously sick of hearing about how this performance or that performance has earned the team some respect.

“What is respect?” Donovan said when interviewed by “Respect doesn’t mean anything. If we lose our next two qualifiers, nobody cares about respect. We need to get to the point where we’re winning in these kind of tournaments.”

The U.S. had a great chance to win in its first-ever appearance in the final of a major international tournament. Up 2-0 at halftime, the Americans were unable to repel the Brazilians' second-half onslaught, as Luis Fabiano notched two goals and Lucio headed home the winner with six minutes to go.

“You have to give them credit,” Donovan said. “It’s not like we were playing a U-17 club team. This was Brazil. They have guys on the bench who aren’t getting a sniff on the field who are worth more than our whole team combined. While we’re disappointed, we have to understand it’s never going to be easy against a team like that.”

Still, Donovan refused to concede that the talented names on Brazil’s roster provide a sufficient excuse for the U.S.’s capitulation in the second stanza. With next year’s World Cup not that far away, the U.S. has a few important things to learn, some of which, Donovan hopes, will emerge from the final defeat.

“What needs to happen is a lot of our younger guys, our inexperienced guys who played significant minutes tonight need to take this in and realize what it was,” the Los Angeles Galaxy star explained. “It’s not good enough just to go for 45 minutes. It’s not good enough to lose 3-2 and say ‘Good try.’ If we were a little better in a few areas, we would’ve won this game.”

Reiterating something striker Jozy Altidore told earlier, Donovan urged his U.S. teammates to make sure they are playing at their clubs. The bigger the club, the better—a hint that Donovan himself is looking for a move to Europe.

“We need guys who play in games like this more often,” he said. “That’s clear.”

Greg Lalas,