CHICAGO — With Landon Donovan back in the fold, the U.S. resumes World Cup qualifying next week with its deepest team yet.
Donovan was among 23 players selected Thursday by coach Jurgen Klinsmann for upcoming qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico. Klinsmann snubbed the Americans’ career scoring leader for the last round of qualifiers, saying Donovan needed to work his way back onto the team following his off-season sabbatical.
But Donovan redeemed himself – and then some –with his play in July’s Gold Cup, scoring five goals as the Americans won the title. He has continued his dazzling play with four goals in three games for the Los Angeles Galaxy, which on Wednesday rewarded him with a new, long-term contract.
“He got himself back into the team during the Gold Cup,” Klinsmann said. “He did a wonderful job there.”
The Americans resume qualifying at Costa Rica on Sept. 6.
After playing at Costa Rica, the Americans return home to face archrival Mexico on Sept. 10 in Columbus, Ohio. The U.S. is atop the qualifying group from North and Central America and the Caribbean region, leading Costa Rica by two points with Mexico five points back.
The top three teams advance to next year’s World Cup, with the fourth-place team going to a playoff with the Oceania winner.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Barcelona will face seven-time winner AC Milan in the Champions League for the third consecutive season, while Bayern Munich begins the defense of its title in a group containing Manchester City.
The draw in Monaco put Barcelona in Group H with Milan, Ajax and Celtic – four teams who have been European champions 16 times between them.
Barcelona and Milan were grouped together in 2011-12 and then met in the quarterfinals, before facing each other in the round of 16 last season. Barcelona won three of the six encounters. Two were draws.
OFFICIAL KILLED: In Quito, Ecuador, the only candidate for the presidency of a second-division team in Ecuador was shot to death just minutes before the beginning of club elections.
Police officer Juan Vinueza said Aucas club director Monica Gordon was killed on Thursday.
Ramiro Gordon, Monica’s father, told radio La Red that somebody entered his daugther’s office and opened fire after saying that she shouldn’t have become involved with Aucas. Ramiro Gordon is also a club official and one of the team’s top investors.
Monica Gordon had been calling for a thorough investigation into the team’s accounts.
Club spokeswoman Karina Burgos said there had been reports of threats but no one had been linked to them.
No one had been immediately arrested.