Landon Donovan admitted that at first he wasn't rooting for his former teammates in the World Cup send-off series.
"I'll be completely honest, watching them play Azerbaijan, inside, part of me was thinking, I hope the game doesn't go very well today," Donovan told the LA Times. "In my heart of hearts, I thought, if we get a 1-0 win and the team doesn't perform well, that would feel good."
Donovan, 32, and U.S. soccer's all-time lead scorer, was cut from the World Cup roster in May. He had hoped to play his fourth World Cup in Brazil.
The LA Galaxy forward said his initial ill-will toward the American team didn't last long. He woke up the next day and realized his negativity wouldn't help himself or the energy of the team.
Donovan holds the American scoring record with 57 goals in 156 international appearances and has won five Major League Soccer titles. He took a four-month sabbatical after the 2012 season, but when he returned U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said his spot on the national team wasn't guaranteed.
Still, when news broke that he was cut from the roster, Donovan, his fans, and even those who used to root against him, were disappointed and shocked.
Donovan has scored three goals for the LA Galaxy in the three games he's played this season.
He told the Times that playing his first game with the Galaxy after being cut from the national team was difficult and emotional.
But he said "this is what they pay me to do" and he didn't want missing the World Cup to define him.