Dejected soccer star Landon Donovan thought he was good enough to play in the 2014 World Cup, and perhaps even start, he told reporters Saturday in Carson.

When asked if he thought coach Jurgen Klinsmann's controversial decision was personal, Donovan said:

"I think if I'm being judged based solely on what happened in camp, then I absolutely deserved to be going to Brazil."

Donovan spoke to a group of reporters a day before his Los Angeles Galaxy was scheduled to play host to the Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer action Sunday.

Donovan, 32, sounded as if he didn't understand Klinsmann's reasoning for passing him over.

"I think I was at least as good as everybody else in camp," Donovan said. "I think you guys that know me well know I'm pretty honest when it comes to my assessment. When I say I don't play well, I didn't play well. When I say I played well, I think I played well. I think I trained and played very well in camp. I think I was one of the better players. If I had gone in and thought I didn't deserve it, I can live with that. But that's not the case here."

Klinsmann had said Friday that Donovan performed well in camp but that other players were a "step ahead" of him.

Klinsmann, who announced the 23-player roster Thursday, has not provided detailed reasons why he left Donovan off the team that heads to Brazil in two weeks.


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Donovan is the United States' all-time leading scorer with 57 goals in 156 appearances. He also has an American-record five World Cup goals. But Klinsmann said players were evaluated only for their current condition. Donovan has not scored in seven appearances with the Galaxy this season.

"Based on my performances leading up to camp, based on my preparations for the camp, based on my fitness, based on my workload, based on the way I trained and played in camp, I not only thought I was a part of the 23, I thought I was in contention to be starting," Donovan said.

However, the face of American soccer for the past decade, a former Earthquakes star, said he is not angry over missing a chance to play in his fourth World Cup.

"I'm disappointed," he said. "I'm sad. I'm human, and I wanted to go. I really wanted to go. I'm at peace with it. I respect the decision. I just feel in my heart that I deserved to be there. That's the pill that's hardest to swallow."

Donovan said an outpouring of support across the United States has helped him realize the impact he has had on American soccer during 14 years on the national team.

"I've spend most of my adult life and the majority of my life in general dedicating myself to this sport in this country and representing my country," he told reporters. "I was really looking forward to the opportunity of playing in another World Cup and helping this team. Having been in camp for 10 days, I really thought I was going to contribute in a real big way, probably bigger than I expected to at first. From that standpoint, I think it's disappointing. I think every one of my teammates would probably echo the same words."

But the player and coach have had differences since 2009 when Klinsmann acquired Donovan on loan for Bayern Munich of the Bundesliga.

The relationship apparently soured further when Donovan took a three-month hiatus early last year instead of playing in a World Cup qualifying game in Honduras. Donovan talked openly about needing a break to rediscover his passion for soccer.

Donovan said his comments Saturday would be his final words on being left off the World Cup roster.

TUESDAY'S EXHIBITION
U.S. men's national team vs. Azerbaijan, at Candlestick Park, 7 p.m. ESPN2