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World Cup: Charlie Davies simply irreplaceable, Landon Donovan says

May 26, 2010 | 10:06 pm

Wednesday was supposed to be the day that Charlie Davies fulfilled a dream and was named to the U.S. roster for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

There was never any question that the lightning-fast forward with the fun-loving take on life would make the team.  It was a given after his performances in the FIFA Confederations Cup last year and in qualifying play afterward.

But a poor decision to break curfew, a tragic car accident last October, and an ongoing recuperation have put Davies' World Cup hopes on hold until Brazil 2014.

So, I asked  Landon Donovan on Wednesday, did it take three forwards -- Edson Buddle, Herculez Gomez and Robbie Findley -- to replace Davies and accompany Jozy Altidore up front?

"Well, Charlie's different, I think, than all those guys," Donovan said. "So you don't replace Charlie. It's hard to replace Charlie not only on the field, but off the field. So that was always going to be tough."

Too true and too bad. It would have been a pleasure to watch Davies blow past snail-slow England centerbacks Rio Ferdinand and John Terry on June 12 in Rustenburg. Now it's up to Findley, the fastest of the four, to do so, but his role is more likely to involve coming off the bench than starting.

That leaves Donovan, the only other U.S. player with comparable speed, and, as he said, it's difficult to replace Davies.

For a two-story look at the U.S. World Cup team and how it was selected, plus a story on Mexico's latest loss, please see http://www.latimes.com/sports/soccer/.

-- Grahame L. Jones

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