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Won-don’t: 5 Reasons Wondolowski Doesn’t Deserve A World Cup Spot
July 16, 2013Posted by on
I am a Chris Wondolowski Hater. I got frustrated seeing Wondolowski’s name on the preliminary Gold Cup roster and hoped like hell that he would not make the 23, and then he did and I hoped he would never see the field. Of course now that he has “proved himself on the international stage” everyone loves Wondolowski. I’m here to through some cold water on all of that.
1 He’s Old
Wondolowski will be 31 by the time World Cup 2014 starts. He’s as old as Landon, Onyewu and Beasley. He’s as old as Herculez Gomez. Yes, some of these players are still core parts of the team but, unlike Wondolowski, they’ve been here before. They are all at similar points in their career arcs. Wondo’s age is catching up with him. He hasn’t put up nearly the goal numbers for San Jose that he’s been putting up over the past few years. Wondo is fading and whereas these players have already shown great moments in the USA jersey and have proved they have the potential and savvy to do it again…
2 This Was Wondo’s Moment Of USMNT Glory
Before last week, this was what Wondolowski was most known for in the USMNT jersey. He had never scored a goal. Klinsmann hadn’t seen fit to give him very much time. This Gold Cup was his last chance to prove he had anything. That Gold Cup was at the same level as this one. It was a B tournament and he couldn’t take advantage of the opportunities shown to him.
3. Belize, Cuba and Guatemala
I head someone argue that since Wondolowski had seven goals in three games he had outplayed Jozy Altidore who had “only” four goals in four games, and therefore deserved not only to make the roster, but to start for the A team. Jozy scored against Germany, Jamaica, Panama, and Honduras which included players playing at the highest level in North America, South America and Europe. Belize, Cuba and Guatemala fielded amateur players at the worst and players from their own National leagues at the best. When people argue that Wondo doesn’t cut it against international opponents it’s about the skill level not about the jersey. These teams are lower than MLS quality. Everyone should score against these teams.
4. Only Four Strikers
In 2006 and 2010 the US sent four strikers to the World Cup. This is more or less standard for World Cup rosters around the world. Jozy is a core part of the team and a lock to take up one of those spots. Gomez is only a half step behind him. Eddie Johnson is a much more versatile player, who has already seen what a World Cup looks like. He’s not a lock, but Johnson has been playing better for both the National team and in MLS all year. So there is essentially one spot left for a striker.
Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan have both played the second striker position under Klinsmann. Dempsey has generally been listed as a midfielder on Jurgen’s rosters, but he has consistently played second striker. Donovan was consistently listed as a forward for Klinsmann’s teams before his sabbatical. There is still one spot open for a striker but if Landon is listed as a striker there probably isn’t a spot for Wondo and even if Donovan isn’t…
5. He Is Old
If given the choice between a player who has never been to a World Cup and is too old to be around next cycle, or a young player who has never had a chance at a World Cup and is a potential part of the next few World Cup teams, who would you rather have on the end of your bench? Wondo isn’t much better than Juan Agudelo, Terrence Boyd, Mike Magee. If these four players, and any other strikers to come out of the woodwork over the next year, (maybe McInerney, Luis Gil, Omar Salgado, etc.) are competing for one spot would you really pick Wondo over all of them?
Wondo has earned minutes and I believe that he gets his start against Costa Rica tonight, but he won’t be able to keep up this rate of scoring against the competition in the elimination stages of the Gold Cup. If he continues scoring regularly, he will likely have locked up the Golden Ball before we even get close to the final and will have earned an opportunity on a World Cup Qualifying roster, but a Qualifying roster is far from a World Cup roster. Wondolowski is probably on a better track than he was a week ago, but he really hasn’t proved anything yet. Goals against minor league teams don’t earn you a spot in Brazil. Wondo will get his shot, and I still expect it to be a waste of time, but what he has done so far doesn’t in anyway deserve anything.