After each and every one of his U.S. Men’s National Team call-ups, Chris Wondolowski comes under fire. Always one of the more criticized inclusions, Wondolowski’s involvement is usually met by scorn and frustration. However, Jurgen Klinsmann isn’t afraid to defend his decision to include the San Jose Earthquakes veteran.
Wondolowski was once again included on the latest 23-man USMNT roster, as the 33-year-old forward looks to build upon his 34th cap with the national team. Alongside much younger options like Jordan Morris, Julian Green and Bobby Wood, Wondolowski is far and away the elder statesman of the group alongside a veteran, but still only 26-years-old, Jozy Altidore.
Despite recently reaching double-figure goals for the seventh straight season, Wondolowski remains a point of contention. From his miss against Belgium to the presence of several younger options in the pool, Wondolowski’s continued inclusions draw ire, even if Klinsmann says he sees the forward as a valuable piece of the current USMNT picture.
“Wondo is here because he’s a damn good player,” Klinsmann said in a live Q&A on Facebook. “He’s here because he’s scoring lots of goals on a regular basis in MLS, year in, year out, so the main thing why a striker is with us is because he has to score goals. Wondo scores goals. On top of that, Wondo is a very important team guy. He’s a pusher. He’s one that keeps the chemistry always positive and makes every training session very, very dynamic.
“There are many reasons why Wondo is here, and he totally deserves to be here. Every time he comes into camp he gives 1,000% for us.”
Wondolowski, Klinsmann and the USMNT take on Cuba on Friday before facing New Zealand at RFK Stadium four days later.