Landon Donovan admits he briefly hoped the U.S. would struggle without him

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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It was no secret that Landon Donovan was not pleased with being left off of the U.S.'s World Cup squad, but now he's opened up about his feelings in the immediate aftermath of Jurgen Klinsmann's decision. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Donovan admitted to letting bitterness get the best of him while watching the team's friendly against Azerbaijan before departing for Brazil.

"I'll be completely honest, watching them play Azerbaijan, inside, part of me was thinking, I hope the game doesn't go very well today," Donovan said Friday in a phone interview. "In my heart of hearts, I thought, if we get a 1-0 win and the team doesn't perform well, that would feel good."

"Then the next day I woke up and said to myself, that's a really crappy way to feel," Donovan said. "That's a bad way to live your life, it doesn't help me, it doesn't help the team, it doesn't help the energy that the team needs."

Those feelings are relatable for anyone who has ever been fired or dumped. But Donovan's ability to quickly overcome them and honestly discuss it in a public forum when the team that left him behind prospers in his absence is admirable.

"I was sad, angry, upset, disappointed, some low days, not fun days," he said. "As athletes, we all have egos, we all think we can help, and when you're not given that chance, it's hard to watch."

These comments are just the latest way in which he has faced the situation head-on and with large dose of humor. He lampooned his own plight in commercials for EA Sports and the Los Angeles Galaxy and he signed on to be a World Cup analyst for ESPN, where he is regularly asked to discuss Team USA's remarkable run into the round of 16 and Klinsmann's many inspired decisions along the way.

There's a lot that people in all walks of life who can learn from the way Donovan has handled this both internally and externally.

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