Donovan’s “wonderful” form helps U.S. enter CONCACAF Gold Cup final
The 3-1 thrashing of Honduras not only took United States into the CONCACAF Gold Cup final, but helped Jurgen Klinsmann prove that he is leading a resurging team. Apart from United States superb performance, Klinsmann can proudly boast about Landon Donovan’s form. The United States international has been in sublime form, even by the high standards set by coach Klinsmann.
Wednesday night was all about Donovan. The American forward scored two goals and set up another to help United States enter the final. Later, Klinsmann hailed the 31-year-old and confessed that he was “wonderful to watch”.
“I have told him in our conversations that 'I measure you. Your benchmark is the best Landon Donovan ever,'” Klinsmann said. “I'm not taking anything less than that. And he is trying to catch up with that. Give him more games. Give him time.”
United States will be playing against Panama in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final on Sunday at Chicago. Earlier, Panama became the second team to qualify for the final by defeating Mexico 2-1 in the second semifinal on Wednesday.
United States, who are enjoying a personal best of winning 10 straight games, are hot-favorites for the title, especially if Donovan keeps up with his brilliant form. Despite his “wonderful” form, Klinsmann refrained from confirming Donovan in his World Cup squad. Nonetheless, the top goal scorer for United States is expected to join the team when the preparations for the World Cup begin.
Donovan has already scored five goals in the Gold Cup, which means he is the highest scoring player in the tournament along with compatriot Chris Wondolowski and Panama forward Gabriel Torres. Moreover, Donovan has seven assists and is the only United States player to have played every minute of every game, at least till the 72nd minute of the semifinal.
“It's the most relaxed I've felt,” Donovan told reporters after victory over Honduras. “I feel good, and I'm really enjoying it.”
Klinsmann praised his players for a “brilliant” show in his press conference after the game. The former Germany international also apologized for becoming unnecessarily angry at the fouls being directed towards his men.
“The first 30 minutes was brilliant football. Brilliant, high pressure, high tempo,” Klinsmann said. “We wanted to move the football around and create chances, and that's what we did…”
“It was a reaction out of frustration,” Klinsmann added. “It was not meant against the referee, against anybody. It was just frustration. I apologize for that.”