ESPN has added some spice to its World Cup broadcast a day before the opening game Thursday featuring host Brazil against Croatia.

The sports network announced Wednesday it has signed Landon Donovan to join the broadcast team focusing on games involving the United States -- the squad he failed to make when coach Jurgen Klinsmann unceremoniously dumped him.

The face of American soccer is scheduled to make his debut at noon Wednesday during ESPN's two-hour FIFA World Cup Preview. The network said Donovan, a Los Angeles Galaxy star, will work from studios in Southern California.

A three-time World Cup player, Donovan had hoped to join the team in Brazil this summer. But Klinsmann cut him last month at a training camp at Stanford in what is being viewed as the most controversial moment in the coach's tenure.

Donovan, 32, is the all-time U.S. leader in both goals and assists. The former Earthquakes striker also is Major League Soccer's all-time leading goal scorer.

"Adding Landon to our ESPN roster just before the World Cup is a coup because he knows the United States team better than anyone having played such a huge role in its success, especially at this event," Jed Drake, ESPN senior vice president and executive producer, said in a statement. "Landon is also one of this country's biggest sports stars and we believe that he will help attract even more fans to our month-long coverage."

Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865 and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.



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