Photo by Jane Gershovich/Soccer By Ives
By IVES GALARCEP
When Chris Wondolowski took the field at Jeld-Wen Field on Tuesday night for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s Gold Cup opener vs. Belize, he did so with his name spelled wrong on his jersey. Be the end of the night, however, he had his jersey fixed and had done enough to make it clear that he plans on letting Gold Cup opponents know just who he is.
The San Jose Earthquakes striker delivered a first-half hat-trick to help the U.S. post a 6-1 thumping of Belize, and on a night when Landon Donovan turned in another stellar performance, it was still Wondolowski who sealed the victory and earned SBI USMNT Man of the Match honors in the process.
While his first goal was a simple enough tap-in of a loose ball, Wondolowski showed his trademark timing and fearlessness in heading him goals two and three just three minutes apart. His final goal summarized his night well. He made a near-post run and beat his mark to a perfect cross, sticking his head in for the finish even as the defender stuck his foot in to try and clear away the threat.
Wondolowski came close to adding a fourth on multiple occasions in the second half, which would have helped him tie the all-time record for USMNT goals in a match, but he never did add a second-half goal (a fact he just might blame on having his incorrectly-spelled uniform replaced at halftime).
Who was your USMNT Man of the Match on Tuesday? Cast your vote after the jump:
Who received your Man of the Match vote? See Wondolowski remaining in the starting lineup? Still not sold on him as an international option against top competition, or do you think he is ready to enjoy a breakout run?
Share your thoughts below.
I don’t think Wondolowski deserved the MOTM. He didn’t do much, didn’t score. My vote goes to Wondowlowski.
And just like that I believe Wondo becomes the highest per 90 minutes scorer at least among active USMNT players
Wowndowlowskwi definitely earned another start in this tournament.
After watching the last two games, I have 2 Questions. Donovan has not played much on the wing and when we did he wasn”t that good. He played much better as a withdrawn striker. I don’t think he can displace Dempsey so it leads me to wonder if 1) Is Donovan best as a sub or 2) are we switching to more of a 4-1-3-2 (removing Jones or Bradley to put him up top?
i think he’s best in an attacking midfield role. He supplies good service and he isn’t panicky on the ball.
idk, in all these years watching LD play, to me he’s great playing up top stretching the D when paired with a more withdrawn guy (see Keane), or out wide on either side when he moves centrally when the space opens instead of parked in there being marked all game by some Dmid destroyer type
Sure his WC stock increased tonight, he was in the right places and took his chances, but I wouldn’t say I’m sold on him yet. His first goal was a gaffe by the keeper, even though his second goal was a clever run despite unmarked (Donovan made the same ran and also would have scored). His third goal was the most impressive of the night beating the defender and keeper on a header right after conceding a goal.
All in all, he’s separated himself from the likes of JackMac and Bruin; he’s now in the group with Johnson and Gomez. However, Wondo needs to put two halves together and show up against the likes of Honduras, Costa Rica, or El Salvador for his goals to gain more credibility. But he’s confident right now and that can’t hurt our player pool.
I was pleased if unsurprised that Klinsi started Wondolowski. After seeing the good things that happened with Alitodore after he ended his dry spell, it was an intelligent thing to do that clearly paid tangible dividends. Nothing beats a stable full of confident strikers, and Klinsi is building one with minimal resources.
Having said that, it could easily be argued that none of his three goals would have happened against a competent defense. Same goes for his goal against Guatemala. Not his fault.. That is a poacher’s job. But he created absolutely nothing otherwise for teammates in either game. This is where Gomez clearly has him trumped.
“he created absolutely nothing”
Note that on Donovan’s 2nd goal it was Wondo that nudged the ball to Holden’s box run allowing the cross.
Congrats to Wondo on the hat trick!!!!
Players who moved up depth chart:
Players who are hurting their chances:
Onyewu/ Castillo ( No Mins?!!! Not a good sign)
Shea ( Dude was non existent..Rusty. Still can make A team though)
I don’t think that goal happens with Gooch in there.
Does he mark his man and Parkhursts?
Wondo does not move up the depth chart cause he scored a hat trick on a team that would be in last place if it were in MLS
“Players who moved up depth chart:
Past who? Still behind Altidore, Dempsey, Gomez, E Johnson, Donovan, Boyd. He will not get a call up with the A team. This was Belize! And his other goal was against Guatemala.
Dr Joe was FSC’s MOTM.