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Wondolowski added to USMNT roster ahead of World Cup qualifying

A U.S. Men’s National Team camp in San Jose wouldn’t feel quite right without Chris Wondolowski involved.

U.S. Soccer announced on Monday that the San Jose Earthquakes forward is set to join the team for camp ahead of a pair of crucial World Cup qualifiers. Wondolowski is set to begin training with the team Tuesday at Avaya Stadium.

The addition of Wondolowski brings the squad to 26 players with one, Jermaine Jones, ineligible for the team’s opening match against Honduras in San Jose. In three league games, Wondolowski has registered one goal and two assists while leading the Quakes to an impressive start to the campaign.

Wondolowski is one of several late additions that have joined USMNT camp. Over the weekend, U.S. Soccer revealed that Matt Besler, Sacha Kljestan and Graham Zusi have joined the squad in place of Bobby Wood and Fabian Johnson.

The addition of Wondolowski sees the Quakes star join Jozy Altidore, Jordan Morris and Clint Dempsey as forward options on the U.S. roster.



  1. Prediction: Wondo subs in a deadlocked game and at 82 mins he powers home a header from a corner kick. We win 1-0. Take it to the bank!

  2. Oh Old School… I was going to comment on what people would say about Wondo after all that happened with JK, the questioning of his call ups, Wondo, moving players around because of Injuries, and who “his boys” were… hahaha, but reading this whole thread was so much better than anything I could have contributed… If the teams we were playing against were MX and Costa Rica I would even renew my bet with anyone who would take it of eating a plate of dog shit if Wondo scores… I won that one in the Copa America.

    haha… Acosta, Zimmerman, Lleget and Villafana)… hahaha Cameron in MF… hahaha… bloody maaaarvelous!

    • Admittedly, it was low-hanging fruit but that segment of our fellow fans was/is deserving of ridicule given the blantant hypocrisy. You anticipated what myself, and I’m sure many others, figured would be the case.

      The popcorn made the entertainment value deserving of the expected amusement.

      • Fair enough. I think people are going to be sorely disappointed with the product improvement from Arena. He might get them playing for each other a bit more and we might get a lucky break (for once, god, please) in the WC draw… but best case scenario is we are Iceland with Arena. I have zero belief that with Arena we have the coaching/technical quality to compete in a WC quarterfinal match… and I think people will be sorely disappointed in the development side of things. Its fucked up that just as the younger age groups finally seem to be turning around they fired the main driver of that change.

      • Turk I’m not going to bother to comment on Jurgen as a manager because clearly we disagree and aren’t going to change each other’s minds. But I will comment on you saying, “Its fuc ked up that just as the younger age groups finally seem to be turning around they fired the main driver of that change.”

        First let me get my laugh out of the way. Ha ha ha!! Ok, for some reason this seems to be something Klinsmann lovers say. Three things:

        1. Klinsmann did not/could not improve our younger players. No technical director can do that. All the director does is set up the national team system and higher the youth team managers. The player will ultimately be developed by his youth team/high school, and then his club academy and or club team. It’s not like Jurgen was out there personally coaching the kids.

        2. Under Klinsmann, the YOUTH TEAMS PERFORMED BADLY overall! I repeat. They did bad! Two missed Olympics, a missed World Cup. The only exception was that u-20 WC team that did well. But overall more bad than good.

        3. It is almost summer 2017 and the World Cup is summer 2018. Then Arena will be gone as manager. So don’t worry, nothing will be messed up in one year. I think Arena has even kept all of JKs youth team hires.

      • UCLA, you’ll note that the words I wrote “the main driver of that change” has nothing to do with JK improving the players… or coaching the kids. Those words never appeared. Now, as many people will note, this isn’t a car… its a super max tanker ship… it takes years to turn it around. If you want to measure JK accurately, look at the U-17-18-20 in the upcoming cycle (post 18). Because his changes will only truly be felt over the next 4-8 years.

        If Arena really is gone in a year, then awesome… no long term damage, but there is still a world cup to be played… and it will be painful if we suck.

  3. On a different subject but did anyone read the article on ESPNFC about how Benny thinks the January camp is unfair? Give it up Benny you must not be good enough, JK didn’t want you and then Bruce gives you another chance and he doesn’t choose you, so now you make another excuse. Someone tell him to stop talking, its starting to look pathetic and sad.

    • love him but he is a complainer. Bob also dropped him. He’s had issues at the club-level too. It was always unfair to say only JK had issues with him. it seems every coach does. he needs to reflect on that fact.

    • I read it and it’s not nearly as bad as you are trying to make it out to be. He basically admits that fitness is a weakness of his, something we all know by now. So he says every player has strengths and weaknesses and for some fitness is a strength. So since January camp is for MLS players in their offseason, the ones who have fitness as a strength will be at an advantage because they will gain their fitness much quicker. His point is that because of that, the January camp shouldn’t be looked at as the only evaluation period.

      You can look at it as making excuses if you want, but for me it comes off as a self-evaluation and him admitting that his fitness or lack thereof in January camp hurts him. In the article he says all good things about Arena.

      • He does point out his fitness but he also points out Acosta was only there a few days and he got a call. So to me that’s saying Acosta is ahead of him. So what is unfair about it?

      • Fitness is about working hard. When I was 40 or so I went out and ran 2 10 k races back to back one weekend. It was hard, but I managed it. I was also running half marathons while in my 40’s and I am not a natural runner. Benny’s other acknowledged weakness for many years was lack of interest in playing defense. His real weakness would appear to be that he is lazy for a professional athlete and seems to feel entitled.

      • So since January camp is for MLS players in their offseason, the ones who have fitness as a strength will be at an advantage because they will gain their fitness much quicker. His point is that because of that, the January camp shouldn’t be looked at as the only evaluation period.

        I’m reminded of a recent manager who called into question the preperation and fitness of such MLS players around this time period in question, stating they should be ready all year round instead of when it’s convenient.

        If a professional wants to be evaluated as such, he should conduct himself and prepare himself as such. Feilhaber has been dropped by three managers. Obviously, it’s going to be the 4th’s fault, too.

        Not surprising, players dropped critize the manager and fans eat it up as the gospel.

      • That is not an excuse if you know fitness is an issue. I knew fitness was an issue of mine, so I would run and stretch 5 days a week during the summer (4-5 miles – either straight or intervals) before everyone came back to school in August.

        Unless you are hurt, as a professional, there is no excuse not to be in shape –ever. You train and rest. Hell, in school, I would to the trainer on the track team (my friend ran track) about training and resting. Because of him, I worked out on 4 week schedules where for 3 weeks I progressed harder, eased off 1 week then start again (and spent 30 mins stretching each day).

      • If he knows fitness is his issue wouldn’t you think he’d starting working out earlier. He knew the dates and had to have some idea of how many spots would be available. He still comes off as a guy who likes to complain about not getting to do something he’s really not all that interested in.

      • Hey I’m not defending Benny on not being fit. Yes he should be fit. I’m just pointing out what he said and what the tone of the article was. He did not criticise or complain about Arena in this article. Maybe he will in the future but hasn’t yet.

  4. The lack of another fast forward to replace Wood (and now Morris) puts Pulisic in the spot of being the one guy proven to be able to attack at speed against quality defenders. In terms of pace, there is not much difference between Dempsey, Altidore and Wondo, none is as quick as Pulisic.

    With that lack of speed up top, Arena is likely changing his tactics for the upcoming games, I know I am. IThe losses to injury will make it difficult defending to generate an attack from a deep lying back line, while pushing a higher line will expose what are likely slower backs to Honduras.

    This has me thinking that Arena will use Bradley and Cameron as deep-lying mids to protect the backs, provide some link-up with the forwards and aim to push the defensive line upfield a bit in a 4-4-1-1 setup with Dempsey (Wondo as a sub here) as the withdrawn forward, Altidore up front and Pulisic as one of the outside mids. Not sure who I like best as the other outside mid, Bedoya is the safe choice, but with 6 players acting primarily as defenders, a great deal of 2-way play is not needed too much here. This setup would effectively clog the middle of the field, but would surrender the wings and give up some crosses (our tall CBs should be able to handle lofted crosses and Cameron and Bradley should be able to pickup balls played towards the 18). It is still a question of how effect the midfield will be in shutting down play through the middle and that is a risk.

    Depending on how the game playes out, it is possible for Pulisic to move up to the lone striker with the aim of counter-attacking.

    • Even with our injury problems, I think we still have to go out and attack Honduras. The 3 points are critical and we’re playing at home. As i recall, this Honduras team is mostly made up of domestic players and a few MLS players. They are not as good as they used to be 4 years ago.

  5. WTF Bruce. Take out the five goals he scored against Belize and Cuba, and Wondolowski has scored just six goals in his other 33 caps, lessthan once every five appearances.

    Seriously, WTF.

    • Jordan Morris 1 every 7
      Juan Agudelo 1 every 7
      ArJo 1 every 6 (if you take out his goal against Cuba)
      Boyd 0 for 14

      After that you are taking a flyer on a young guy
      Arriola 12 professional goals in 4 seasons (2/3s in cup play against reserves and lower division)
      Rubin 3 goals in three pro seasons
      Green 2 professional goals (moved to the bench in Stuttgart last 2 weeks)
      Wooten has played 18 minutes for the US and been in one week long camp two years ago

      Fans don’t like Wondo because we’ve seen him play a bunch with US and SJ, these other guys most of us have seen play less than 10 times their entire career so we hope they are better.

      • Agreed. Wondo is probably not the answer for 2018, but he is by far the best choice available in the coming week where getting results are paramount.

  6. I’ve already adjusted my expectation way down for these matches. My current expectations of which I hope I’m completely and utterly wrong:

    1. Lack of possession
    2. Bad giveaways in midfield
    3. Back passes outnumbering forward passes 3:1 (Bradley will never get any blame of course, any sort of critical talk of his usefulness to the squad will continue to be utter heresy on this blog)
    4. Very little pressing on defense from our forwards
    5. Less than 4 shots on goal per game
    6. Wasted opportunities in the box to score
    7. At least one defensive gaff from our back line leading to an opposing goal
    8. At least one red card for us in one of the two games
    9. Our vets will be reluctant to get the ball often enough to Pulisic
    10. At some point we score a goal and Taylor Twellman will compliment the run made by Wondo to open up the space for his teammate to score the goal thereby justifying his call up

    In Wondo we trust?

    • Your concerns may be justified. However, I would say one thing. I think Beckerman is the worst player when it comes to back passes and thankfully he is no longer on the team. I think Bradley is more guilty of square passes.

  7. It never fails, people will complain about any and everything! Who are these payers bring played out of position that I keep hearing chirps about?? How about some context being taken before whining about this roster mirroring those of the JK era. In one of Bruce Arenas first interviews be said that the roster wouldn’t change too much early on from that of Klinsmanns. I applaud him for bringing in some young, different players(Acosta, Zimmerman, Lleget and Villafana)than in years past that are go g to get the chance to play their natural positions and could help the team. Its silly to suggest that he should bring a brand new roster of young players, you have to a healthy mix of veterans and younger guys. This roster would have looked very different if not for the injuries, the replacements were expected considering what’s at stake and other replacement options not being in form, not playing or injured.

    I get that people wanted to see Hyndman, Williams and Arriola, I do too, but I also understand that you can’t have but so much turnover from one manager to the next, at least initially. People are going to have their narrative and are mad because JK is gone, that’s your right, but complaining just for the sake of it seems unproductive. How about seeing how these two games play out before the comparisons start because as of right now the only resemblances between the two managers are the call ups of a few players.

  8. well i for one feel very comfortable with bruce arena coaching the team. i have faith in him and i think we’re lucky to have him back as our head coach again.

  9. Bring in Aron Johansson. He is hungry. Just had first child. He is capable, just needs confidence back. The timing might be right to give him a go again.

  10. Honestly what has Wondo done to warrant all these call-ups. I get that he was/is a good
    locker-room guy. I get that at times he’s been called in to provide leadership when Jozy & Dempsey were out and we had nothing but young players. But what is the excuse now?

    He’s an average player who is 34 yrs old. He provides absolutely nothing that couldn’t be filled by any number of strikers who are younger and more skilled…..
    Green, Arriola, Boyd, ArJo,

    • To call in a player Monday evening from Europe the earliest they’d be available to train would Wednesday which doesn’t seem like much until you realize that’s half the training and with a staff you’ve never worked with or perhaps met in person. Also there is no official word that Morris won’t play so to call a Euro player who may never dress is harsh.

      Green: has played 78 minutes in his last four matches and not played more than 62 minutes since arriving in Stuttgart.

      ArJo: has hardly played all season averaging 30 minutes per match in his 9 appearances hasn’t scored since September.

      Boyd like Green hasn’t played a full 90 minutes at least in full team matches not u23s. Like Green has also been moved to the bench the last few weeks.

      Arriola is primarily a back up for one of the better Liga Mx sides who has scored 12 times in four seasons across all competitions and has 3 caps and he plays wider than Morris or Wondo

      In this situation and time frame he’s best available.

    • Wondo is well above an average player. No player in MLS has scored so often, so consistently as he has over several years. Among the forwards in MLS who appear to be able to score at Wondo’s rate are Dempsey, Altidore, Morris and Dwyer, but after that there are none who can match Wondo’s production in even the last season which was not among Wondo’s best. He continues to be an impact player for SJ (one goal and 2 assists in this young season).

      I agree his age is not working in his favor for the 2018 WC squad, but to pretend he is a bad choice, when getting a result is paramount, is just wrong.

      • Here’s the bottom line on Wondo’s international career. Every goal he has scored for the US was either in a friendly, usually against minor competition, or during the 2013 Gold Cup when most everyone, including the US, sent their B teams. He has never scored in a qualifier and has hardly even played in meaningful games. You can go to Wikipedia for a list of his international goals.

      • Right but you could say that about every US player not named Dempsey or Donovan. With the exception of Green’s goal against Belgium what available striker has “big game goals?

      • Wondo is still the best choice, given who is available at the moment, no matter his international record. Dempsey and Altidore (think his goal vs Spain and multiple goals in qualifying) are the only ones better. In club play, Pulisic is likely better, but no others from those who are available.

        A coach must have a plan for when his favorites go down with injury, Wondo is likely the best replacement for Dempsey or Altidore in terms of scoring goals.

    • I agree. Especially when Wondo was such failure at the World Cup, no excuse for mid 30 year old to have such zero impact. Meanwhile, Arriola having major impact in superior league.

  11. * Calls in Chris Wondolowski
    * Doesn’t call in Benny Feilhaber, Danny Williams or Eric Lichaj
    * Calls in a player to play out of position

    I’m going to grab my popcorn and wait for all the birds that chirpped at Jurgen Klinsmann for doing the same and observe them applying the same level of criticism to Bruce Arena. However, something tells me the popcorn is going to be wasted on hypocrisy instead of equality.

    • How about you wait to see if Arena is as bad at coaching the squad as Jurgen was (and yes I know you disagree with that assessment but you are in the minority). JK had many issues besides the ones you just brought up. Also, you are ignoring all the current injuries that are affecting these roster decisions.

      • Would like the proof that he is in the minority. Jurgen didn’t make all the right calls but he was constantly hammered for these same decisions…

      • You can move the goal posts all you’d like, and that’s your right. However, absolutely nothing of what I said is untrue. Whether I’m in the minority, or majority changes nothing and is another attempt to change the topic.

        Change the managers names and it’s as identical as you can make the scenario(s). Failing to acknowledge that further proves my point.

      • Calling in wondo is a pretty shrewd move. We gets a player who knows every bump on the field and is loved by the fans. Sounds like a recipe for a start on Friday night. You get wondo out there with altidore, CP, and nagbe……look out! At home, in his own personal stadium. Are you freaking kidding me???

      • Old School as I said you are ignoring the obvious in order to try to make your point.

        1. Yes Wondo was just called in but wasnt on the original roster. He was only called in because of the Wood and now rumored Morris injuries, and because the game happens to be in San Jose.

        2. Yes he didn’t call in Benny this time, that’s a fair point, but he called in Sacha. I guess he grades Sacha better atleast for now. As far as Lichaj and Williams, only a few would ask for those two to be selected. I wouldn’t put them in the class with Benny (and I’m not talking about talent, I’m talking about the degree to which people would question their lack of inclusion). Oh and i heard Arena said that he didn’t call in Lichaj because he’s injured.

        3. Player out of position. Let’s see, the USMNT isn’t very deep to begin with and: Wood, Johnson, ??Morris??, Yedlin, Chandler, Jones, Ljchaj are all injured or suspended. Enough said.

        4. This is Arena’s first real roster. Klinsmann sinned for years.

      • You are moving the goalposts. Sacha was a replacement call in and not even the first. JK called in Wondo, but he was the prolific goal scorer in MLS and the only other options at the time were Altidore and Dempsey. JK pulled Morris onto the team when he was still in college consistently called in Wood when he was not playing and being frozen out at Bundesliga 2 side 1860 Munich and PEOPLE HERE WERE COMPLAINING. He brought in Yedlin and people complained.

        I like Benny, but JK last called in during camp cupcake ’13 or ’14 and saw him lacking. Arena called in during camp cupcake AND found him lacking — even with ALL the injuries we have going forward.

        JK made mistakes, but all coaches do.

      • I was a Bruce Arena fan, but his last couple of years with the Galaxy they did very poorly and made several critical personnel mistakes. And Bruce wasn’t just manager, but also GM during that time and made the personnel decisions. One of the constants of being an national team coach is the problem with the availability of players. While the US has been unlucky for these two games, it’s only a bit worse than usual; there’s almost always a couple of critical players missing. Let’s see what happens on the field. We should get 4 points at a minimum and the last time we played in Panama, in a game we didn’t need to win and they did, we beat them while JK was in charge. So, 6 points is not unrealistic, especially since Honduras isn’t as good as it was 4 years ago.

      • Gary Page, I disagree with, “While the US has been unlucky for these two games, it’s only a bit worse than usual.” It’s much worse than usual.

        RB is completely blown up with Yedlin, Chandler and Lichaj being out. So you have to move your starting cb to RB (Cameron).

        Your starting forward is out (Wood), and your would be starting left-mid or left-back is out (Johnson). Jones is also out.

        It’s not just that players are missing, it’s that 5 starters are missing, and they are missing from the position we have the least depth at (fullbacks and wings).

        Old School will ignore every credible argument for the sake of his argument, that’s just his style. But how can anyone reasonably ignore the injuries? He even complained about Lichaj apparently not knowing that Arena was going to call him in but he’s also injured.

      • Old School, Anthony, Whaam.. go ahead and keep ignoring the current injuries that affected this roster. That is my main point but you guys keep ignoring it. Hmm I wonder why? Oh yeah because it’s the thing that completely ruins your narrative.

        Old School above you said, “However, absolutely nothing of what I said is untrue”. Wrong. You compared Arena to JK because Lichaj wasn’t called in but Arena clearly said Lichaj was getting called in but got injured.

        But go ahead guys, keep sticking your head in the sand for the sake of your argument because you are still salty Klinsmann is gone. Good riddance to Klinsmann.

      • UCLA guy, once again you are cherry picking things to fit your argument. As i pointed out, Cameron has played RB more than any other position while in the EPL, so moving him there is no big deal. Omar and Brooks have played together in the last qualifiers and, Omar and Besler were our CB pairing for most of the qualifiers and the WC last time around. So, it’s not like we are experimenting that much in the back. As for the strikers, the same thing with Altidore and Dempsey–they got us through the last time (2013 and 2014) and if Deuce is up to two games in 4 days, they are capable of it again. Plus, now we have Pulisic. So, while our roster is not as good as it could be, the cupboard is hardly bare and certainly no worse than it was 4 years ago except at LB, where Bruce wasn’t going to play Fabian anyway (a mistake, IMO).

      • Gary Page you appear lost. What are you even responding to? The whole point of this thread is that Old School was comparing Arena’s moves for this roster and comparing them to moves Jurgen would do and get criticised for. Specifically he brought up: Wondo, Benny, Lichaj, and players out of position. Basically saying that Bruce did the same as Klinsmann so let’s see if we criticise Arena like we did Klinsmann.

        I pointed out that all the injuries forced Arena into these moves (the specific ones Old School mentioned). So this is no time to make that claim of hypocrisy because of the injuries.

        I have no idea what you are responding to. I don’t disagree with anything that you just wrote. You are preaching to the choir.

      • No Twitter is going to tell you that Yedlin, Chandler, and Lichaj were all injured or suspended so Cameron was the next best option.

      • My guess is that about three quarters of the time that Cameron has played at Stoke, it has been at RB, so only ignoramuses would complain about him playing there.

    • JK squandered 5 years making these mistakes. Arena has been in charge for less than 5 months. Regardless of how much you want your hypothetical and popcorn to be in a vacuum, the answer is not as black and white as you make it.

      • 5 years or 5 months: what I posted is identical. The lack of credible/but expected justifications is amusing, and the popcorn was utilized on hypocrisy, just as I anticipated.

      • You can blame JK, but squandering 5 years is not something he did:
        – He had the best win percentage of any coach in USMNT history besides Arena
        – He had more wins than any coach than any coach besides Arena
        – Beat a nation in a World Cup competition that neither Arena or Bradley could
        – Had firsts of beating quality European competition in games in Europe (as a side note, you only ever play European competition in Friendlies or meaningless competitions outside the World Cup)
        – Beat Mexico in Mexico; played Mexico 2 times in Mexico and 2 in US and didn’t loose either time to a more talented team
        – Beat Ghana, Nigeria, Turkey, Czech Rep, Bosnia, Italy, Germany (B-squad), Netherlands, Ecuador (multiple times) -> ALL quality teams
        – Identified and found forgotten/non-utilized pros (e.g Cameron, Besler) and brought youth players (e.g. Wood, Brooks, Morris, Yedlin) even though some did not work out (Ventura – although he is still 24). Re-positioned pros (e.g. Beasley)
        – He looked at A LOT of players. He called up over 100 different players -> most in MLS.

        JK has a lot of faults (like every human). He oversold what he can do. He talked down to the public (although I remember Arena being condescending in his first stint). He clearly didn’t take the Gold Cup seriously. But hell, even LD stated, in an article last year, that JK has an eye for talent and has done some good things in youth development – I was surprised about that.

        JK had to transition an older team to a young team after the World Cup. Issue is there was a GAP in the Jozy/Bradley generation – 26-29. Other members of that group (Omar, Chandler and Bedoya were often maligned). The younger generation 21-25 (Brooks, Wood, Morris, Yedlin, Miazga) wasn’t ready and had to brought along more slowly.

      • (although I remember Arena being condescending in his first stint)

        He repeated the same condemnation claiming the fans were too stupid to appreciate Nigel de Jong’s contributions to the team and the signing of a DP/that plays holding midfielder. Of course, a few weeks later he’d nearly break the leg of a Vancouver player and receives a red card, and only a month or so later he’d bolt for AC Milan.

        Arena’s got a huge ego, not unlike most successful managers, but I believe it’s accepted and the double-standard is applied by fans because he’s American. Many double-standards on view that I’ve highlighted in this very thread.

  12. Awsome. I love to hear the whinny, crybaby, i-never -did-anything-in-sports-but-love-to-hate-on-those-that-did complain about Wando. heads exploding. I hope they are Timbers fans.

  13. From what I saw on Twitter, Morris stayed back at the hotel getting treatment all day, and Dempsey was limited in practice…though with the quick turnaround that’s probably no surprise.

    …and as you said, Wondo’s right where they’re training, so it makes sense.

      • Owen, I think I will take Wondo, who is among the most prolific goal-scorers in MLS history over you, whom I’ve never really heard of, or any of the players in MLS who cannot score at the same rate as he does.

        Dom Dwyer is not yet eligible so the only real alternative less than a 10 hour plane ride away is not available.

  14. One he’s already in San Jose, two either Dempsey is not sure of his recovery time or Morris’s knock he took in the first half and limped heavily for awhile afterward has flared up, or someone took a knock in training that they haven’t reported yet.

    Oh I can’t wait to hear the complaints.

    • Or else Bruce Arena took a knock to his h3ead that rendered him senseless. Dom Dwyer, become eligible immediately, please.

    • No complaints from me. The strikers were thin before whatever happened to Morris. Dempsey himself said he didn’t think he was ready to go 90 min in a WCQ. And I’ve always been a Wondo fan and think the criticism of him by fans is overharsh and his accomplishments are underappreciated.

      • Matt Leinart was a great college player
        Wondo is a great MLS player

        Matt Leinart was not a great NFL player
        Wondo is not a great international player

        Someone can be” not that great” and still be “really good”. Thus, when fans complain about his call ups it tends to relate to the above mindset.

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