San Jose Earthquakes striker Chris Wondolowski has been named to the preliminary squad of 30 for the USMNT for the 2014 Brazil World Cup. In the last year or so Wondolowski has done a lot to stake his claim for a striker spot on the team and has done so in the simplest and most direct way- he’s scored a truck load of goals.
In the last 4 years Wondo has scored 73 goals in 124 games. His game winning goal tally stands at 34 goals in 179 games, 3rd all-time in MLS.
In the press conference announcing the 30 man squad USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann was effusive in his praise for the San Jose striker, saying that Wondolowski had worked to build his own case for inclusion in the squad and built it stronger and stronger.
Talking to Chris Wondolowski is a bit like standing in front of a volcano that looks as if it might erupt any minute. This guy is intense. His love for the game, his commitment to the team, burns in his eyes. When you add his skills as a striker, his knack for being in the right place at the right time, it’s small wonder defenses fear him.
Bay Area native Wondolowski was originally drafted 41st overall in the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft by the San Jose Earthquakes. Even then he had a nose for goal, as he only made 2 MLS appearances for San Jose in 2005, but he led the Earthquakes reserve team in scoring 8 goals in 12 games.
In October of 2012, Wondolowski became the San Jose Earthquakes' all-time leading goal-scorer with a hat-trick against Colorado Rapids. That season he also matched Roy Lassiter's MLS record of 27 goals in a season. He has a remarkable 9 goals in his last 10 games for USMNT.
The US game has come a long way in the last 4 years and it’s possibly an advantage that the rest of the world is so caught up with itself that it may not have noticed. Think that the USA can’t compete on the world stage if you choose but do so at your peril. From the snowstorm win over Costa Rica to the dethroning of Mexico in the Azteca inferno this team has come a long way under Klinsmann’s guidance.
Chris Wondolowski knows all about taking his chances in front of goal and if you know your history the USA knows about taking its chances in the World Cup. Everyone in Brazil might bemoan the 1950 tragedy at Maracana against Uruguay but the real upset of that World Cup was the 1-0 defeat of England’s soccer snobs by the USA.
Wondolowski might have joked recently that so far Klinsmann hasn’t given the USMNT any clues as to how to beat Germany but then they might have ideas of their own. Don’t be surprised if Chris Wondolowski opens his World Cup goal account in Brazil this Summer.