When it comes to finalizing the U.S. Men’s National Team roster for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Jozy Altidore is the only solid lock at the striker position. One might believe that Eddie Johnson has a place in the side after his performance throughout qualifying, but it’s still up in the air as to who Jurgen Klinsmann might select next to those two players.
I’m a strong believer in the inclusion of Aron Johannsson, but the one player that deserves a spot on the World Cup roster and whose success often gets overlooked is San Jose Earthquakes striker Chris Wondolowski.
Wondo scored both goals in a 2-0 win against South Korea, silencing a lot of the critics who said that he could only score against weaker CONCACAF opposition like Belize and Cuba. South Korea is not at the same level of the teams in the USA’s World Cup group, Germany, Portugal and Ghana, but in a game where the American midfield looked completely lost, he still found a way to score.
Wondolowski isn’t flashy; he’s not the type of striker who will score from 40 yards out or dribble through six defenders. He’s the type of striker that gets into scoring positions and, most importantly, isn’t afraid to take a shot. The USA’s biggest weakness in games against tough opposition has always been overthinking shots.
Sometimes, you have to take a shot from a bad angle and hope that the rebound goes to another teammate or that it will annoy the back line into making a mistake. Soccer sometimes comes down to who wants it more, and no one wants to prove themselves on an international level more than Wondolowski.
When it comes to the World Cup, it’s sometimes more important to have a veteran scorer with pure ability on the team rather than someone with potential. Wondolowski may not be the striker most USMNT fans want as the go-to player behind Altidore, but he may be what the USMNT needs in order to have success in Brazil.