SAN JOSE, Calif. — On Friday, the San Jose Earthquakes traveled to Vancouver as one. On the same bus, on the same plane and with the same intention: winning against the Whitecaps on Sunday to remain in contention for a first playoff appearance in five years.
But just 48 hours earlier, on Wednesday, Chris Wondolowski and Anibal Godoy, separately, traveled back to San Jose from the depths of North America. Both had been engrained in Tuesday night’s history that changed two of CONCACAF’s nations soccer forever and both were, again, on Thursday, sharing the same training pitch, defending the same badge.
However, with polar opposite sensations from what could never be erased.
“It’s still sinking in to be honest- just numb, shocked, utter disappointment,” Quakes captain and USMNT striker Wondolowski said on Thursday. “I feel and I know the guys in the locker room were just disappointed; we feel like we let down the whole nation.”
Despite Wondolowski’s keen poaching skills serving the USMNT well in various instances, the forward endured the lowest of lows following his infamous miss in the 2014 World Cup against Belgium.
Unfortunately for him, Tuesday’s USMNT’s historic defeat to Trinidad and Tobago, in every way, has made him relive those crestfallen and unwanted feelings.
“Right up there- probably lowest with my Belgium miss,” Wondolowski told SBI .
Moments before the final whistle echoed in a half-empty Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, Trinidad and Tobago, which delivered an unprecedented blow to American soccer, Panama erupted as one. The Canaleros were through to their first-ever World Cup, and Godoy found himself in the heart of Estadio Rommel Fernandez dreaming but with glory at his feet.
“In the moment the referee blows the final whistle; I couldn’t believe it,” Godoy told SBI. “All I was able to do was thank God for the moment I was going through, hoping he would wake me up from my dream. But seeing my teammates celebrate was something unlike no other for us in the history of our country.”
In spite of euphoria, Godoy, like Wondolowski, was rushed back to Avaya Stadium, an intersecting point for both countries, the host of two distinct, extreme situations, but, also, the cradle of unity, ahead of Sunday’s bout.
“We feel we’ve had this belief from the locker room since the start,” Wondolowski said on the Quakes crucial match on Sunday. “We’ve had tough ones on the road, but we have this game of 90 minutes to prove ourselves- it doesn’t matter if its home or away.”
“I like our chances in this locker room,” he added.
And on Sunday night there will be no divergent feelings from either Wondolowski or Godoy.