Wondolowski Making Final Push

Created on Feb. 03, 2014 11:54 AM EST

Chris Wondolowski is the definition of a “bubble player” for the United States Men’s National Team. His fate could truly go either way on whether or not he is going to be on the World Cup roster. However if Wondolowski continues to play like he did over the weekend it is going to be very tough for Jurgen Klinsmann to leave him off the team.

The biggest weakness on the United States right now is lack of goal scorers. Jozy Altidore typically is the default forward but he is having a tough year with Sunderland. He has scored just one goal in 22 games this year in the Premier League. That is not good enough, the United States is going to get smoked in Brazil this summer if that is the best they can do.

This brings us to back to Wondolowski, he is clearly very motivated to be on this roster. He just turned 31 a few days ago and this is his last shot at playing in the World Cup. In 2018 Wondolowski will be 35 and I just do not see him being the same player. Most players are not playing in World Cup’s in their mid-30’s. Wondolowski had a great game over the weekend against South Korea. Both goals I felt were really good and said a lot about him as a player.

The first one most people would argue was lucky. That was the goal where Wondolowski scored off the rebound from about three yards away. I do not view that as luck though, Wondolowski knew where to be. He recognized the situation and put himself in the best position to score off the rebound. That is what you have to do if you are a goal scorer. It is very rarely about the highlight reel shot, it more often than not is about being in the right place at the right time. Wondolowski knew where to be and I give him a ton of credit for that.

The second goal I thought was great too. The play started with a throw in up the right wing and Wondolowski just trailed the play and let it develop. However he knew when to make his run; he identified the open space in the middle of the box, got himself into the open space, and then buried the shot. The movement without the ball is critical for a good goal scorer. Too often I feel like the United States forwards do not move enough without the ball, they become to stationary. Wondolowski moves well without the ball and he was rewarded with two big goals against South Korea.

Wondolowski definitely deserves more chances to prove himself; there is a friendly coming up against Ukraine in March and Wondolowski definitely deserves a spot on the team. Klinsmann I think has done a good job at making players earn their spots on the team. Landon Donovan had to work as hard as anyone to get his spot back on the team. I hope Klinsmann recognizes that with Wondolowski and continues to give him opportunities to prove himself. He certainly made the most of his opportunity over the weekend. 
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