By Ronald Blum ,AP
NEW YORK — Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber took the extraordinary step Wednesday of criticizing U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann for not taking Landon Donovan to the World Cup and for saying Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley damaged their careers by returning to MLS from European clubs.
Garber, the league’s commissioner since 1999, questioned whether Klinsmann could be an effective coach while publicly criticizing MLS.
A U.S. Soccer Federation official, speaking on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized, said later that Klinsmann wasn’t in danger of losing his job.
The 32-year-old Donovan, the all-time top scorer for the national team and MLS, was dropped by Klinsmann in May and denied a trip to a fourth World Cup.
��I believe that Landon should have been in Brazil, not because he earned it or deserved it, but because his performance dictated it,�� Garber said during a conference call with reporters. ��And if anybody disagrees with that, and some of you might �X clearly Jurgen does �X then I believe that his treatment was inexcusable.��
Klinsmann, a World Cup winner with West Germany in 1990 and coach of the German team that reached the 2006 semifinals, was hired by the U.S. Soccer Federation in July 2011 to replace Bob Bradley. Klinsmann coached the Americans to the title at the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the second round of this year’s World Cup, where the U.S. lost 2-1 to Belgium in extra time.
USSF President Sunil Gulati announced in December that Klinsmann had signed a contract extension through to the 2018 World Cup in Russia and had been given the added title of USSF technical director.