Gulati on Donovan snub: 'We move on'

The U.S. Soccer president addressed Landon Donovan's exclusion from the World Cup squad, calling it a "difficult" decision.
HARRISON, N.J. — U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati emphasized Saturday that the national team is ready to "move on" following the omission of Landon Donovan from the Americans' World Cup squad.

"Certain decisions have been made and they were obviously difficult decisions," Gulati told reporters. "And we move on from there."

Gulati spoke following the U.S. national team's final training session at Red Bull Arena before facing Turkey on Sunday in a World Cup tune-up.

While Donovan was excluded, Jurgen Klinsmann did select the youthful likes of John Brooks, DeAndre Yedlin and Julian Green — leading some to believe the U.S. coach's decisions were influenced by his contract extension through the 2018 World Cup.

"I don't think any decisions Jurgen has made are because we did an extension before the World Cup," Gulati said. "Contracts are contracts. People have long-term contracts — those are what they are. Everything is focused very much on getting through the first round, and we'll see what happens after that.
"One of the reasons you do extensions to contracts obviously is to get stability. The employee in this case would like stability for their future, and the federation gets stability and certainty."

Although the USA has drawn an imposing World Cup group featuring Germany, Portugal and Ghana, Gulati still has confidence the Americans can secure passage to the knockout stage, where the single-game elimination format opens the door for a potential run.

"We understand why Portugal and Germany, ranked No. 2 and 3 in the world, are favorites in the group. We get that," Gulati said. "Our goal and our expectation is to get through the first round. If we do that, it's wide open. It's a knockout competition.

"By the way, that's not a defeatist attitude about how far we want to go in the tournament — everyone's goal is to get through the first round and see what happens, with the exception of Brazil, which automatically assumes they're playing the final."