BY DARRELL LOVELL
HOUSTON – In a camp of players looking to get their first look with the USMNT, Chris Wondolowski is hoping to finally cash in on his latest chance.
The MLS scoring demon has accomplished everything at the MLS level but success has escaped him at the international, and it is not for a lack of chances. In six trips with the national team, Wondolowski has yet to secure his first US goal.
Heading into Tuesday’s match, however, Wondolowski is looking to take his latest opportunity as well as he can.
“To be honest, I feel like I’m kind of playing with house money right now,” Wondolowski told reporters. “I wasn’t sure I was going to get this chance. Now that I’m here it’s a joy man, it’s fun and I’m just loving it right now.”
While goals have been elusive the forward’s work ethic has kept him as a valuable part of the team. In his past showings on the international level the forward has shown that he can do the work the US boss demands of his forwards, which includes running off the ball and working to get into good positions.
In Tuesday’s open training he was showing those same skills off in front of the Houston crowd; routinely getting in the mix and scoring on a heel flick. It was the traits that MLS fans have come to know. Now, it is that training pitch success that he needs to figure out how to duplicate when the lights come on.
But while it is still a work in progress, Wondolowski knows the man making the decisions not only understands what he is going through, he has full confidence that the San Jose Earthquakes hitman can get things going at the next level.
“He tells me to just trust myself and keep doing what I’m doing and it will come,” the striker said. “What really helps is that he has confidence in me and I think that’s really helping me grow as a player.
“I’m hoping to play well out there and I think if I play well and create opportunities I’ll have a good chance at it.”
Wondo doesn’t have an agent because he’s a down-to-earth person, living out his dream on his terms. My gosh…three years ago he won the 2010 MLS Golden Boot on an annual salary of $48K! As a true competitor he’d love to go to europe o play with the best but he’s a team guy – he loves his Quakes teammates as well as the SJ organization. It’s not in his nature to “push” for something because he’d have to give his mgmt. the impression that he isn’t happy…truth is, he’s ecstatic playing in front of friends and family in the Bay Area.
The most impressive quote I’ve seen about Wondo was the one Dom Kinnear made about him when they allowed him to come to the Bay Area. He had “never seen a better locker room guy and teammate in his entire career as a player or coach.”
i bet he starts, scores early and then disappears replaced by Bruin who also scores. then we see both on the gold cup roster but not on any wcq roster.
I don’t think Wondo will disappear. He is not that kind of player, he will always be finding good spots and moving to better ones.
I think you may be lobbying for the agent position for Wondo, that Biff was talking about.
Seriously, though don’t you think there would be interest somewhere overseas for a guy that scores as much as Wondo does. Don’t you think the professionals see something. In fact, they ALL seem to see the same thing. Every team needs goal scorers, yet no one seeks his services. Not even a week long work out. Nothing.
Vic’s comment above on the topic is excellent, i.e. the importance of national team exposure to attract international attention. If Wondo had been a regular member of the USMNT he almost certainly would have garnered more interest.
One last comment on Wondo and those of you calling him too old. Well, Wondo is 45 days older than Clint Dempsey. So, using the age logic, does that mean that if Wondo is too old today to be a serious contender for a USMNT slot, then Clint in 45 days will be too old and have to be fired from the the USMNT.
My point is this, until we have qualified for WC 2014, each game is a must win game and not a time to be grooming younger players. Klinsmann has made quite clear that for reach WCQ roster he picking the best roster—Period. I am not saying that Wondo is the guy who is going to score five, six or seven goals in Hex games, only that has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt in MLS that he can put the ball in the net and he should finally be given the chance to see whether or not he can replicate his MLS firm at the international level. Who knows how many goals he might have scored if he had been given as many minutes in 2012 as Jozy was gifted. I betcha Wondo would have scored at least one, probably three or four or more.
Who cares if Jozy hasnt scored in 7-8 NT games. Its more important that he scores for his club and gets a move to a big club. Jozy will score when we need him the most
Yet some claim it is damning that Wondo hasn’t scored in nerly 4 times fewer minutes?
You’re assuming that he will score goals in a big league. He hasn’t been able to do it in the past in England or Spain or more recently for USA. Granted he was younger when he was in England/Spain. However, its no sure bet that he will rise to the next level in the future.
It’s funny to read that Wondo has not been successful because he has not scored in six — count ‘em, folks, six appearances (mostly garbage minutes) with the USMNT over the past few years and, of course, the lack of goals is all Wondo’s fault. But when Jozy doesn’t score it’s because Jozy is not getting good service or because Klinsmann’s tactics failed.
FYI: In 2012, Jozy appeared in seven games and did not score one goal. That is one more game than Wondo has been given during the past million years, but yet Wondo should have scored at least three or four times in his six games because, well, just because.
Wond has scored over 60 goals the past two years and he finally deserves a decent chance wearing the US shirt to show what he can do. He also should have an agent representing him to get him a gig in England or Germany, if not on a mid-tier team than on a relegation-threatened team, such as QPR or Hoffenheim, to show what he can do in a better league.
Biff, your stats are right on, but are you REALLY trying to say that Wondo is as good as Jozy? Subjectively speaking, Jozy is a growing prospect that is starting to show his potential at the club level, and I suspect if he gets service on the international level, then we are going to see quite a few goals from him in a USMNT jersey. Wondo has been a great MLSer, but I think he lacks the “IT” factor; i.e he doesnt have “it”, but that is not taking away any respect from a great guy!
Well, in 2012, Jozy and Wondo scored exactly the same number of goals for the USMNT, Wondo in about 90 minutes, Jozy in about 300 minutes. Is there something a forward is supposed to do that is MORE important than scoring? Being big and athletic is not enough, else lots of players would be ahead of Messi.
It seems you’re ignoring what Jozy has done in Europe the last 2 years. Whatever, bench Jozy, but please don’t put Wondo in a serious game for the US. Terrence and Herc are far superior athletes AND footballers than Wondo (I know he’s a great guy and all).
I know you love Wondo, and he is a guy that everyone can root for. But if he is so deserving, why has European football not come calling. At the end of the day, the guys making a living evaluating players, no more than you or I. Wondo is a great story, because he has maxed out his ability. Like the article says, “he finds the back of the net”. The intangible element is his strength. But with Jozy, EJ, Agudelo, etc.. there is a next level that they may attain do to their athleticism. Wondo has most likely hit his ceiling. I don’t think anyone believes the others have. BUT Wondo may surprise us and find another gear. I hope so, but I don’t believe so. Just my two cents.
Soccer world is too big for mid table and lower level teams to consistently follow many nation’s domestic leagues. Scouts/coaches generally look at National team games to spot talent. Wondolowski hasn’t played/scored much for USA that’s why we haven’t seen many offers. Same could be said about Brad Davis, he hasn’t gotten much time with the Nats, thats why he’s still in MLS. Look at Tim Ream. Not a very talented player but he was young and got time with the Nats, then Euro offers came. Its not just USA. If scouts/coaches look at for example the Uruguay roster and see some players are playing in the domestic league they are more likely to make an offer rather than watch alot of games in the Uruguayan league to find players.
Quite frankly, byrdman, I am a bigger fan of Jozy than I am of Wondo. But I really get sick and tired of the double-standards being used to judge Wondo’s failed USMNT performances with Jozy’s failed performances. I also think that Wondo has never truly been given a fair and decent chance to show what he can do in a US shirt, while Jozy has had countless chances. I have not gone back to compile Wondo’s six performances, but I think they were mostly as late subs in meaningless games.
As for Jozy, no one could be any happier than me if he signs with a top European club. (And I think this still could happen by Thursday.) But that facts remain: He played like s**t in the seven games he appeared in last year for the USMNT. It is time for Jozy to put up or shut up. If he can’t score in a US shirt, then Klinsmann needs forwards who can. Just look what Eddie Johnson did last October when he got the chance. There are a lot of strikers who have played well at for their clubs but can’t get it together for their national teams. So, quite frankly, I don’t care if Jozy scores 30 goals this season for AZ (like Wondo did last season for San Jose), if he can’t score for the USMNT then I want him pulled from the team for someone who can. And maybe that someone is Wondo.
As for Wondo’s lack of demand from Europer, as I mentioned above, I believe the guy does not have an agent, which, to put it nicely, is not real smart. And maybe he has no desire, sort of like Landon Donovan.
You are correct about Jozy and the USMNT obviously. I guess when I see Wondo, I see Taylor Twellman all over again. That’s not fair to Wondo. But just like Twellman couldn’t seem to finish at the International level, I keep seeing Wondo blowing a couple of golden opportunities in his few chances. That being said, maybe he just needs more time like you say, to relax and be who he is. My concern is that Wondo uses guile and savvy (and finishing ability) to find goals in MLS. But at the international level that is not enough. I hope I’m wrong. Maybe he a brace tonight, and plays with confidence going forward, finding the net like we need someone besides Deuce to do! Let’s hope.
I get where you’re coming from biff, but this is sports. A young great prospect in any sport is like an attractive young lady. They look great and it takes a long time for the shine to wear off. An older player with less upside isn’t going to be afforded the same leniency. It’s just the way it is. Wando surely knows he’s not a 23 year old playing in Europe. For him it’s score or don’t get called back. For Jozy, it’s simply the need to improve. It’s not fair, but it’s the way it is.
Yet the guys you named scored exactly zero goals for the USMNT in 2012, despite playing about 8 times more minutes than Wondo. Potential is nice, but only just recently has Jozy performed for his club, Wondo has been doing that for 3 years.
Agreed. He could at least head to Denmark or Belgium or Turkey and get like $500-600 K. most likely he would get no more than a 2year contract
QPR want a “star name”. Wondo could start for a Southhampton- small low budget club fighting relegation and others similar to that but no better or he could drop to the 2nd tier Euro leagues like Belgium.
I had the chance to meet Wondo and he’s a good guy. His story is great. There aren’t too many sports role model/heros left. I hope he can continue to elevate his game and lead by example. I wish him all the best.
If we stick with the formation we have been using, we only have 1 starting center forward. That leaves almost 0 room for Wondo when we have guys who can play that position and others better than him. Jozy, Dempsey, Gomez, EJ, Boyd, Agudelo, Donovan, Buddle, Wondo…..We probably take 4-5 of those guys. I just don’t see him making it at this point.
If Jozy can play the position better than Wondo, then why did Jozy not score any goals in his six USMNT appearances last year?
excuse me, Jozy’s 7 appearances last year…
Jozy gets more slack because he is younger and more talented than Wondo. If you’re a 30 year old striker and you don’t produce quickly, you get passed on. Not to mention Wondo has had a couple really bad misses in his appearances.
The stats don’t tell the whole story with jozy and wondo.
If Wondo can play the position better than Jozy, why hasn’t he scored in any of his 8 USMNT appearances? And why has he been given far fewer opportunities than Jozy by two different coaches?
Wondo is a great guy and I wish him the best in all he does. The fact remains that he still hasn’t shown he can compete at the international level. I hope he proves me wrong tomorrow (but even then he still won’t be better than Jozy).
Wondo played only 94 minutes for the USMNT in 2012. Had he scored even a single goal, he would have a strike rate higher than any except Diskerud (who got 1 goal in 4 minutes). In 2012, EJ got 2 in about 180 minutes while Dempsey and Donavon scored about .7 goals per 90 minutes. Agudelo, Altidore, Boyd, and Bunbury scored zero goals in a combined time of over 700 minutes. I would argue the jury is still out for Wondo.
In his appearances, he was very unlucky to not have scored at least 2 goals and he did create chances for himself and others.
Dude needs to be playing in Europe
0% eh Dick Tracy? 0%? Hmmm
If Wondo gets more than garbage-time minutes, as he usually gets, he’ll impress.
I can’t help but feel that he gets the start. Canada is vulnerable, and I feel like if Wondo can get the scoring monkey off his back, he can definitely become a bigger part of the nats.
Right. There’s no way that Canada’s young backline can handle Wondo’s smart movement.
Slightly scary pic.
You do have to root for the guy, he is class. BUT, I think there is pretty much a zero-percent chance he makes the WCQ or WC14 roster. We simply have too many bigger and more athletic forwards who can not only play at striker but on the wing.
Wondo is a great guy, and a hall of fame MLSer, but he simply is not a fit for the USMNT.
Bigger and more athletic does not necessarily equal better. EJ is way bigger and more athletic than Messi, but who would you rather have up front?
I don’t know that Wondo is a starter for the A team, but I think we might need him in WCQ. He’s experienced, good work rate, and simply has a knack for finding the back of the net.
I think we all hope Jozy grows into the starter as he is the most talented, but Herc has been Klinsman’s starting striker for most of 2012, so trading Gomez for Wondo doesn’t seem much of a stretch for me.
Lest ye forget Terrance Boyd, and Juan Agudelo?
Zero goals in 8 caps does not scream experienced to me.
Gomez is much stronger and simply better than Wondo, from what I’ve seen. Not even close