U.S. men's national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann has decided to include Landon Donovan on the final 23-player roster for the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup, SI.com has learned.
Donovan, the U.S.'s all-time leading scorer, was not included in the U.S.'s A-team roster for the three World Cup qualifiers earlier this month. Donovan, 31, took a self-imposed three-month sabbatical from soccer earlier this year and has not played for the U.S. since a friendly win at Mexico last August.
The Gold Cup, which runs from July 6-28 in 13 U.S. venues, will have mostly B-team squads from the U.S. and Mexico. But there's a bit more at stake in this so-called "off-year" Gold Cup, since the winner will now get to meet the winner of the 2015 Gold Cup in a playoff to determine the region's representative at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
In a personal sense, Donovan will have plenty at stake in July. He's still hoping to return to Klinsmann's first-choice group and potentially make the U.S. squad for World Cup 2014. (It would be Donovan's fourth World Cup.) He was on the U.S.'s 35-man preliminary Gold Cup roster that came out last month. But that was no guarantee he would make the final 23-man squad. The public announcement of the U.S. Gold Cup team is expected at some point in the next few days.
The U.S.'s Gold Cup group-stage games are against Belize, Cuba and Costa Rica.