Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 2/11/13
Landon Donovan is still uncertain whether he will return to the game. There is absent piece in the United States Men’s National Team. They are missing the three-time World Cup starter and all-time leader  in U.S. goals scored and assists. They are missing the dynamic and influential Landon Donovan. Donovan’s presence had been key to United States soccer for over a decade, and he was needed more than ever in last weeks 2-1 loss in Honduras. After jumping to an early 1-0 lead from a Clint Dempsey finish, Honduras took control of the match and took  three points away from the U.S. Although a majority of the problems in the loss came on defense, there seemed to be a lack of intensity and play making ability in the crucial moments of the match. Say what you like about Landon Donovan, there is no better clutch performer that has ever suited up for the stars and stripes. Klinsmann’s squad has the talent but lacks the leadership in the mundane moments on the field. Donovan is the player to make the gritty tackle and hustle play on defense for the betterment of the team. Without his impact of the pitch, the U.S. will always be lacking in performance leadership. Reports continue to confirm that Donovan will “eventually” return to soccer, and his club manager seems to agree. But only Landon Donovan knows when and if he will return to the game. And even if he decides to return to the L.A. Galaxy camp, there is no guarantee he will return to international play. Klinsmann has moved on without Donovan. But performances like the one in Honduras cannot continue if the U.S. hopes to qualify for the 2014 World Cup. Donovan might not need  U.S. soccer but U.S. soccer still needs Donovan. The next era of U.S. internationals might have talent on paper, but they lack the experience and leadership needed during the brutal CONCACAF qualifying. The future of U.S. Soccer might not be in Landon Donovan, but the present needs him more than ever. Will United States Men’s National Team knight in shining armor return?

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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