Donovan placed on U.S. roster for Argentina match

June 6, 2008

MONTCLAIR, N.J. -- After missing two games with a groin injury, Landon Donovan practiced Friday and expects to pick up his 100th cap for the United States this weekend against Argentina at Giants Stadium.

If Donovan plays Sunday against FIFA's No. 1 ranked team, he will become the fourth-youngest player in the world to make 100 international appearances.

"It's not on my mind anymore," Donovan said of his 100th cap after the roughly one-hour workout at Montclair State University. "Because it worked out the way it did and I could have done it against England, that was exciting. Now I just want to get back out on the field. Whether it's my third cap or my 100th, I just want to play again."

Donovan strained his groin in an MLS game on May 25 and sat out overseas exhibitions against England and Spain.

Returning against Argentina would give Donovan a game before the United States begins World Cup qualifying with a game against Barbados at Carson, Calif. on June 15.

"You can't expect to just go out there and get back into it right away, so I need a game," said Donovan, who is the all-time leading goal scorer for the United States with 35 goals.

U.S. national coach Bob Bradley said that Donovan is being listed as a game-time decision, but that in all likelihood he would play.

The biggest concern would be the grass field at Giants Stadium. It was put in only two days ago, but Donovan said the conditions are the same for all the players.

Donovan was upset missing the games against England and Spain, which the United States lost, 2-0 and 1-0, respectively.

"I was looking forward to playing those two games more than any games I have looked forward to in a long time, so that was disappointing," Donovan said. "In hindsight, I probably should have stayed back and let it rest. But the idea that I could play England in Wembley and Spain in Spain was exciting."

Donovan said the team did not play well against England, but it improved a lot against Spain.

"We have another chance on Sunday and then the real important games are next weekend," he said, alluding to the World Cup qualifying.

Donovan will be 26 years, 3 months, 4 days Sunday. According to the U.S. Soccer Federation, the only younger players to make 100 appearances were South Korea's Cha Bum-Kun, who was 24 when he reached 100 in 1977, and Saudi Arabia's Sami Al-Jaber and Mohammed Al-Deayea, who were each 25 in 1998.

Midfielder Sacha Kljestan also was added to the roster for the match against Argentina.

Three players were dropped from the roster from Wednesday night's 1-0 loss at Spain: defender Carlos Bocanegra and forwards Josh Wolff and Nate Jaqua. Bocanegra and Wolff had family commitments, the U.S. Soccer Federation said.

While the United States is coming off defeats at England and Spain, Argentina defeated Mexico 4-1 on Wednesday night at San Diego. About 70,000 had been sold for Sunday's match as of Friday.

The roster:

Goalkeepers: Dominic Cervi (no team), Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), Tim Howard (Everton, England)

Defenders: Dan Califf (Midtjylland, Denmark), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover, Germany), Jay DeMerit (Watford, England), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard Liege, Belgium), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock, Germany)

Midfielders: Freddy Adu (Benfica, Portugal), DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Michael Bradley (Heerenveen, Netherlands), Maurice Edu (Toronto), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Eddie Lewis (Derby, England), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado)

Forwards: Clint Dempsey (Fulham, England), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), Eddie Johnson (Fulham, England)


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press