As one might expect of one of the USA's greatest players ever, Landon Donovan is not pleased with the U.S. men's national team's failure to qualify for the World Cup.
The USA's 2-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago Tuesday night, coupled with wins from Panama and Honduras ensured the USA would miss out on the grand men's stage for the first time since 1986, an infamous distinction that Donovan called "disheartening" and "unacceptable" in an interview Wednesday on the Dan Patrick Show.
"The most disturbing part for me was the lack of urgency displayed," Donovan said. "We all know sports anything can happen, you can lose games, that's all part of it, but the lack of urgency to really understand what was at stake was really disheartening for me, and, candidly, it was really hard to watch."
Donovan is set to be part of Fox Sports's lead broadcast team for the World Cup next summer, and it was thought that he'd be in the booth for U.S. games. With the Americans out of the picture, that clearly won't be the case.
"The reality is we lost two games at home in qualifying ... and we lost a game in Trinidad against a team that had nothing to play for, and that's the reality of the situation," Donovan added. "It's unacceptable in every way, and it's disappointing and we got what we deserved.
"If you look at the big picture, I would say we're not doing something right. Sometimes in situations like this, in the long run, not today, but in the long run, maybe this is the best thing that can happen, so we can take a step back, evaluate, reassess and figure out how we avoid this ever happening again."
Donovan, who played under Bruce Arena for both club and country and remains tied with Clint Dempsey for the USMNT's all-time goal record (57), was pressed on what he would change in U.S. Soccer, with the day-after postmortems around the country pointing fingers at various aspects of the federation and how its run.
"There are so many priorities," Donovan said. "I know there's a lot of heat on Sunil Gulati today, a lot of heat on Bruce Arena, a lot on heat all the people involved with this sport. Let's not forget that none of these things are easy, and if you're on the outside looking in it's always easy to pick apart what you think is wrong so I'll preface it with all that. I think the biggest issue in our country probably is that we have too many kids that don't play soccer, because they can't afford it, or they don't have the support or they drop out of soccer because they burn out because of coaches that are overbearing or parents that are overbearing.
"I think we're missing out on too many quality players. That's the starting point for all of it. ... The crux of it for me would be to start there and work your way up and figure out how to make that part better."
There's nowhere for the USA to go but up from here.