In a recent ESPN interview, former New England Revolution striker Taylor Twellman pulled no punches in expressing his opposition to ex-US international Landon Donovan’s outspoken backing of Mexico in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Donovan tweeted a Wells Fargo-sponsored message urging American soccer fans to follow his lead and — with no US national team in the tournament — root for hated-rival Mexico. The tweet included the words, “Vamos Mexico!”, or “Let’s go, Mexico!”. Said Twellman, “How does he look them (American supporters) in the face and say, ‘I need you to support Mexico’? It doesn’t make any sense.”
Moreover, Twellman took issue with Donovan’s role in the tweet for two reasons completely unrelated to soccer and the US-Mexico rivalry. First, he disagreed with the US’ all-time leading goalscorer’s paid endorsement for a Wells Fargo financial institution that was recently fined $1,000,000 in a major fraud case involving the creation of thousands of fake bank accounts. Second, Twellman was opposed to a Donovan followup tweet heavy on political grandstanding in which he stated “this is about building bridges, not barriers” with Mexico. Said Twellman, “I am not rooting for Mexico, but it doesn’t mean I don’t like Mexico and I don’t like Mexican-Americans.”
Twellman, who retired early from the Revs and professional soccer due to concussion-related health concerns, has been an on-air TV analyst with ESPN for several years. He has provided commentary on dozens of MLS and US Mens’ National Team matches.
Donovan came out of retirement for a second time several months ago to play for Liga MX-side Club Leon. However, the team recently finished 13th in the table and, just days ago, mutually parted ways with Donovan prior to their contract’s expiration.
Coincidentally, Mexico shocked the soccer world on Sunday with a 1-0 win over defending World Cup champs and current number one-ranked Germany. It was the Latin American team’s first-ever World Cup win (in four tries) over the European power. With a commanding lead in Group F and their most difficult match out of the way, Mexico’s chances of advancing deep in the tournament have increased significantly. The team has reached the Round of 16 in every World Cup since 1994, but they have failed to get to the so-called “fifth game” each time.