Wondolowski makes a statement with USMNT hat-trick

WondoScream (JaneGPhotography)

Photo by Jane Gershovich/Soccer By Ives

BY MIKE DONOVAN

PORTLAND, Ore.- When Chris Wondolowski took the pitch Tuesday night, he did so with an extra “W” incorrectly placed in his last name on his U.S. Men’s National Team jersey. After his performance in the first half, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Wondolowski add a 12th letter to his last name for every match.

After getting the surprise start over Herculez Gomez, Wondolowski made the most of his opportunity by scoring a goal for every “W” on his jersey, on the way to a first-half hat-trick in the USMNT’s 6-1 victory over at Jeld-Wen Field.

Since the beginning of the 2010 season, Wondolowski has been on a torrid scoring pace for the San Jose Earthquakes, notching 66 goals in 107 games for the California club. Despite his league success, the 2012 MLS MVP has been unable to replicate his form with the national team. Wondolowski was unable to score a goal in any of his first 11 U.S. appearances.

The Chico State alum finally broke through in last Friday’s victory over Guatemala when he scored the third goal in the 6-0 romp.  That goal seemed to open the floodgates and Wondolowski’s goal total now sits at a respectable four goals in 11 appearances for the USMNT.

“It’s a funny thing as a striker, sometimes they come and sometimes they don’t but hopefully they keep coming,” Wondolowski said.

U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann knows a thing or two about scoring as a striker, having put home more than 275 goals in his playing career for club and country, and he had nothing but praise for Wondolowski after Tuesday’s outstanding showing.

“A goal-scorer always comes out in the moments where he realizes the extra work will pay off and I think it pays off for Wondo that he’s so dedicated and (has) such a great attitude that scored his first one the other day in San Diego and followed up with next ones,” Klinnsman said. “That’s what a goal-scorer is about: Always hungry, never kind of let a chance slip away.”

Wondolowski admitted that his lack of goals for the national side had started to wear on him.

“I think there was a little bit of frustration, because then you start pressing a little bit, and I know when I start pressing, it doesn’t happen,” Wondolowski said. “I’m better when I just relax and let the game come to myself and just rely on my teammates, and they did a fantastic job and made my job easier.”

While Wondolowski isn’t currently a favorite to make the 2014 World Cup roster, he is certainly trying everything he can to make the trip to Brazil. Hat tricks certainly won’t hurt his cause.

“I’m willing to go down swinging and try to get there as best I can and just try and make the most of any opportunity I can get,”  Wondolowski said.

Wondolowski is battling with players such as Herculez Gomez and fellow MLS player Eddie Johnson for a spot on the 2014 roster. Wondolowski wouldn’t be the first MLS player to use a Gold Cup to propel himself into a World Cup spot. Stuart Holden, then of the Houston Dynamo, had a breakout 2009 Gold Cup and never looked back on the way to South Africa.

“It makes us coaches happy, obviously, and he builds his own case,” Klinsmann said. “I never saw him frustrated. Always just a hard-working attitude, always giving everything he has, and it’s just a joy to work with.”

For now, Wondolowski was just happy to finally get a victory in Portland. Despite tying the MLS record for goals in a single season while playing at Jeld-Wen Field, the stadium has been a house of horrors for Wondolowski. Prior to Tuesday win, Wondolowski had never been on the winning side in his four previous visits to the Rose City.

Getting adored by fans in Portland was a sharp contrast to the usual crowd the greets Wondolowski at Jeld-Wen.

“Usually I get the opposite of (cheering). These fans are amazing here and they provide such an atmosphere, that is great no matter what,” Wondolowski said.

With the three goals, Wondolowski became the third USMNT player to have a hat trick in the Gold Cup, joining Donovan and Brian McBride. And as for that extra “W” in his name, Wondolowski had a new kit for the second half start that featured the correct spelling of his name.

No matter how you spell his name, Wondolowski delivered the best performance of national team career.

This entry was posted in CONCACAF Gold Cup, Featured, MLS- San Jose Earthquakes, U.S. Men's National Team, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to Wondolowski makes a statement with USMNT hat-trick

  1. AzTeXan says:

    Oh good, if there’s anything Wondo needed it was more irrational confidence.

    • Hogatroge says:

      Yeah, because so many of the other USMNT players have been putting in 3 against inferior competition regularly.

  2. Mat says:

    Scoring against a weak Guatemala and weaker Belize is nice for his confidence, but in no way does it “make a statement”, sorry.

    • Rector & Carlisle says:

      +1

      Belize and Brazil: both one syllable country names beginning with ‘B’. The similarity ends there.

      If JK sees him as an option for international turf play, I’m fine with that.

    • Josh D says:

      I’m torn: On the one hand he can only score against opponents he’s played against. So you can’t fault him for scoring.

      But then I don’t think there’s much to brag about here when I didn’t think the rest of his game was particularly fruitful. And at his age, I don’t see much point playing him. Gomez or our two young guys would see more benefits from it. But Klinsi wants to win so he’s putting out his best striker.

      Also, I wouldn’t point to the fact that his goals were “sitters.” As a striker, it’s up to you to make opportunities for yourself like Dempsey does. But man those two crosses were beauties!

      • Agreed. I hate when okay players get goals and pads expectations. I think Wondo and Beckerman should be taken off the team even thought they had their goals/assists yesterday. They dont do enough. Grow your younger players like Jack Mac and Will Bruin and middies like Stuart and Corona and Mix. I just dont trust beckerman for enough creative Spark. Same with Wondo. He has had 4 pretty average goals against weak teams. To me.

        • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

          We’re trying to develop a team for 2014 right now. Wondo has a much better shot at that roster than Bruin or Mac.
          I agree that we shouldn’t overreact to his goals vs poor opposition but at the same time its encouraging. Lets just wait and see what he does the rest of the tournament. A few good performances vs some of the better teams in the tournament would put him really solidly in the mix for that last striker spot.

          • FGB says:

            He actually should have the same shot as Bruin or McInerney. Namely, “none.”

            The memorial Robbie Findley Forward Who’s In Over His Head and Shouldn’t Be Here roster spot will likely be taken by Eddie Johnson.

        • jb says:

          J Mac and Bruin are being grown, by being with the team and training with them, they are being grown for 2018. They are not ready to contribute this cycle. Wondo and Beckerman are, even if it ends up only being in the qualifiers. Frankly, I think Wondo gives you much the same as Gomez. They both are hard workers and make clever runs, but it may be that Wondo is the more clinical finisher…

        • bryan says:

          why should they be taken off? they still deserve to be at the Gold Cup even if these games don’t change opinions on their quality.

      • Dennis says:

        Actually Wondo is better than Gomez. Gomez was unable to score in the MLS very much except for a brief 10 or so game span. Gomez has always been inconsistent, while Wondo has scored at a high rate for over 3 seasons. He now has 4 goals in what amounts to 5.5 games of playing time for the USMNT (except for the last game his 11 appearances were limited to an average of just over 30 minutes). Gomez does not create any beter than Wondo and Gomez’s club record is very much inferior. If you rate important goals in games for the USMNT, you gotta love Casey Connor more than Gomez, (It was Casey that put the US over the top in the last round of WC qualifying.) Gomez, like others who have scored a couple goals but are not consistent will fade from memory and Gomez is nearly a year older than Wondo.

        • Hunt Daddy says:

          How can you say Wondo is better than Gomez? Gomez may not have set the MLS scoring charts on fire, but he has scored for the US against: Czech Rep, Australia, Brazil and Jamaica. Wondo’s goals came against: Guatemala & a mostly amateur Belize side. I’m happy Wondo has gotten the monkey off his back, but how can you honestly say he is better than Herc? Why have 2 USMNT managers in a row chosen Gomez over Wondo? Gomez does create better than Wondo. He’s better with the ball at his feet, he can run the channels better because he’s FASTER, his hold-up play is better, and he’s a veteran leader of the team. He!l, he can even (sometimes) strike a good dead ball. I think that if Gomez was fully fit throughout the last round of WCQ he would have been a strong candidate for the captain’s armband for the GC.

        • Luke says:

          “Actually Wondo is better than Gomez.” What!!! My your measures, I’m surprised your not saying Wondo is better than Jozy, since Jozy has only scored 4 goals in almost a year and a half. Seriously, Gomez has played in almost all of the qualifying games and friendlies against the best teams in the World and our region. This was Belize and Guatemala. What has Wondo done when he’s played against tougher competition?

          • Dennis says:

            If you look over their whole careers, Wondo, who admittedly did get a late start, has been much more consistent. He has been able to score for a team that struggled while Gomez struggled to score with Donavon and Beckham providing service. Gomez has 7 goals in 23 appearances for the USMNT while Wondo has 4 in 13 appearances. Gomez was on the field longer in his appearances about 60 minutes on average compared to about 35 per game for Wondo. By almost any measure Wondo has been better, Of course if the measure is who scored against Mexico then sure yea, Robbie Rogers or Orozco is your guy, but unlike Gomez, Wondo never played vs Mexico.

            • Luke says:

              Gomez has played a large amount of games out wide as a forward or at outside MF. So your comparing apples to oranges. From what little I know of Wondo, he is a pure striker. Has he ever played out wide at either FW or MF? Wondo plays the target forward who poaches goals. So the only player you can really measure him against on the USMNT roster is Jozy who fills the target forward role. Gomez, Boyd, E Johnson may sub on for Jozy, but our #1 striker is Jozy.

        • bryan says:

          disagree with everything you said.

      • Hogatroge says:

        Are you kidding?

        I’m still dubious of Wondo’s place with the 1st team, but he was tracking back and playing D on set pieces, etc., the whole night. What else do you expect from a striker?

    • bryan says:

      agreed.

  3. James says:

    HAHA.
    What statement is that?
    “I can score against the worst NT we’ve ever played”?
    Some statement.

    • Chupacabra says:

      I can beat up a six year old. Doesn’t mean I’m ready to get in the ring against Manny Pacquiao.

  4. Petaluman says:

    Wondo can’t catch a break around here. He scores a hat trick and many automatically discount it. If he hadn’t scored a goal in this match then I’m sure there would be complaints to as to why he’s on even playing on the USMNT. I’m all for any of the US strikers doing well, building their confidence, and thus making the team and the pool stronger. Who knows if he’ll make the WC team next year but by improving his performances it only puts pressure on the guys ahead of him, which is good. I’d love to see a USMNT where all the players are fighting for their spots on a daily basis.

    • MLSatlanta says:

      +1000

      Ill never understand how some fans of the Nats can have such negative attitude towards some of our players. He doesn’t have to be your new favorite player or anything but give credit where credit is due!

      • Chupacabra says:

        You could see even Klinsmann dreaded his goals. It was like, “God damn it! Now I’m going to have to listen to him whine about putting him on the roster for Brazil.”

        • Hogatroge says:

          -1

          Klinsmann called him up when he didn’t have to… Boyd, Agudelo, Cooper, Gordon, and others were options.

          Pretty uniformed comment.

    • Hogatroge says:

      +1

    • bryan says:

      not sure. people seem to be stating the title SBI used, saying this is a STATEMENT game, is probably not correct.

      good on Wondo to score a hat trick. i expected him to and he did. use that confidence to score against some quality teams and then we can start talking about making a statement.

  5. jake says:

    I agree. Let’s see how he does against a good team. Hopefully this will help his confidence though so that we can really see how he performs.

  6. David M says:

    Well, earlier this year, both Costa Rica and Honduras could only eke out 1-0 wins against Belize. So, maybe scoring against them is not as easy.

  7. MLSatlanta says:

    Give the guy a break. He’s no Clint Dempsey but he did the absolute best he could with his opportunity. He got a chance to impress against a weak side and he scored 3 goals. If he didn’t “make a statement” then he’d go even further down the depth chart.

    Corona, for example, has failed to really put his name on any of the games he’s played in. If he doesn’t “make a statement” against one of these Gold Cup minnows he might find himself buried on the depth chart too.

    • WG says:

      Corona being a non-factor is what is worrying. With the exception of Herc and Beas, the Liga MX players have been, to put it mildly, under-whelming.

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      Agree about Corona. Not really impressed. I’d like to see Bedoya and Shea come in for him and Torres.

    • bryan says:

      Corona is young dude. he could have two bad games in a row and JK will keep him a part of this group. and rightfully so.

      apples and oranges.

  8. Toadvine says:

    I actually thought Corona looked pretty good yesterday. Good for Wondo — the third one in particular was well-taken.

    • David M says:

      Corona was very active with a lot of bad passes and decisions.

      • Toadvine says:

        He had a couple of dangerous looking shots blocked. And contributed to the first goal. If one of those went in then everyone’s read on him would change considerably. Not saying he set the world on fire, but he wasn’t awful.

        Now Parkhurst was awful.

  9. NC Jeff says:

    Mike Donovan: “notching 66 goals in 107 goals for the California club” Uh, Mike, you weren’t the one providing the names to the jersey supplier, were you?

    Seriously though, great to see him get it done when given the chance. Sure, it was “just Belize” and in Oregon (no offense to OR, just mean it was a strong pro-US crowd), but nonetheless, he did exactly what he was suppose to do: Put the ball in the net, early and often … 3 first-half goals pretty well qualifies.

  10. Good for Wondo. Anyone who’s played defense knows how absolutely tiring/draining it can be to deal with a forward who is always making little runs to free up himself/space. One of Wondo’s better skills and nice to see him notch up a few goals.

    Yes, it’s just Belize but let’s stop hating and be happy for one of the nice guys in US/MLS.

  11. SanFran415 says:

    There are comments here saying his play is nothing because it’s Belize.

    Move over to the Donovan article and there’s a dozen people trashing Zusi saying look how great Donovan is playing against these same teams.

    Hypocrites.

    • Dennis says:

      I am sympathetic to the idea that it is hard to take much away from such a lop-sided victory in terms of player evaluation (negative evaluations may still have some value). These kinds of games highlight what a player can do well and all these players can do what they do well, very well or they would not even be there. What you can’t tell from these kinds of games is how a player performs when things are more difficult for him; if Shea can’t outrun his marker and cross, can he do anything else?; Can Beasley handle a big fast wing who can muscle him?; Can Donavon get back to help the defense when needed and can he stand up to more physical play?; Can Wondo find those open spots or beat defenders to headers against teams that do a better job of marking?; Can Holden make those great p@sses if he is under harder pressure?; Can Orosco stand up to the attack from better strikers?/ etc. Those bits of information and many others are missing based solely on games like this one.

      • beachbum says:

        +1

        good to see all those players you mentioned play well so far and we’ll see how this team grows as the competition builds. good start though and it was sweet to see Wondo find the back of the net

        best part of last night to me was seeing the team as a group better deal with the bunker D, not a bunch of forced pa$$es forward but better movement off the ball and quicker pa$$ing of the ball to build the pressure. you can only play the other team on the schedule

        set piece marking needs to improve; avoid fouling in the final 3rd

  12. Cairo says:

    I am sorry, but the Wondo haters are losers. He scores goals, works his ass off, is unselfish, and has no ego. Just like Jozy, he will score when he gets service. Just like Jozy (and most strikers), he is streaky. People criticize Wondo for scoring against MLS quality, but nome of the other US strikers–not Jozy, not Herc, not Clint, not even LD, have scored at Wondo’s pace in MLS.
    If he were 22, he would be going to Europe on a big contract. He deserves to be a backup on the wc roster at the least

    • The Greg says:

      +1

      I never understood the Wondo hate. And I’ve been perplexed at his continual exclusion from the NT mix. I want a deep pool of talent for Klinsman to choose from. Make the decision hard for Jurgen, that’s a good thing.

    • biff says:

      Gosh darn fricking right, Cairo. Very well put. Hilarious to hear Wondo haters complaining: “Big deal. Three goals. They were simply poach goals. No skill involved. Just luck. Who cares? Blah. Blah. Blah.”

      Yes, Wondo’s first goal can be described as being in the right place at the right time. But we have seen great strikers miss goals like that hundreds of times and Wondo stayed cool and calm and knocked it home. And his last two goals were extremely well executed. And again, how many times have we seen head-shots flyuing five yards over the goal.

      We know from MLS that Wondo if he gets service knows how to score. And the key to his current success is that he is now playing with a team with great chemistry and hungry players trying to win a spot to WC 2014 and Wondo is finally getting service. If Wondo can keep producing during the next year he can be a very important second-half sub or replacement for an injured Jozy in WC 2014. Pleez, time to forget Terrence Boyd for WC 2014. He simply does not yet come close to offering the skills that Wondo does.

    • Fuzzayd says:

      Agreed. And to me Wondo is a great, local American success story. He was born 45 minutes from San Jose, played for Chico State (where?) and worked his way to a DP contact for his home club. That’s cool and I think his story could be great inspiration to a lot of young players today.

      He gets fiery during games because he’s a competitor. Looking forward to see what else he’ll do in his career.

  13. QuakerOtis says:

    “THIS. IS. WONDOW!!!”

  14. QuakerOtis says:

    Great for Wondo! I was so pumped watching him score not once, but thrice. Great for the team. Great for a clever, classy finisher who’s had a rough go lately. The second goala nice diving header, was the best.

    Then there’s this: some thread or another recently discussed how the term “hater” is over applied in sports. Well, I think the above comments can go in the dictionary right next to the term. Put your faces next to it also. Wondo scores a god d@mn hat trick, and you’re complaining about the opponent AND his play?! What, did daddy take away the keys to the beamer this morning? You’re pathetic.

  15. Jason says:

    Some of these comments are as uncomforable to read as anything i’ve read realted to any cosmos article comment sections. I guess some of you haters need a point to focus your negative energy since you can’t complain about Jozy not scoring anymore.

  16. Dennis says:

    Will JK start Gomez instead of Wondo vs Cuba and give him a whole game? I could see it happening and then Gomez and Wondo splitting the time vs CR. That would give JK a chance to evaluate them using similar games. They are in many ways similar players and it will likely come down to which of the two can find the best connections with the rest of the team and continue scoring as to which of the 2 starts in the knock-out stages.

  17. bryan says:

    please, everyone review MLS Chalkboard before talking about who played bad and who played good. because this feature can give you FACTUAL STATISTICS on what actually happened. there are some interesting insights into last night’s game.

    link to mlssoccer.com

    1. Beckerman was the most successful p@sser but all his p@sses appear backwards or sideways. Not effective at all.
    2. Parkhurst gave the ball away a lot, but also had more than twice as many p@sses as most people on the field…including ALL of the midfields. As such, he also gave the ball away the most. But as a whole, he was pretty accurate and his p@sses were generally in the offensive 3rd.
    3. Corona had a much better 2nd half but the stats show he had his issues connecting p@sses and lost possession a few times. Had some good offensive stats though. Another game at RM is in order.
    4. Holden/Mix were by far the most effective of the midfielders.
    5. Torres did a decent job but the stats show he wasn’t really involved. 37 total p@sses! in the Guate game, he had a lot more and CRUSHED the passing %. he was above 95%. I think this shows that Torres should not play LM. It’s that simple. I think Mix or Torres should start next to Holden.
    6. LD was a beast. Sure, his p@ssing percentage wasn’t great but he had multiple key p@sses and of course his @ssists, among other positive, offensive stats.

    with these observations, for Cuba, i say we go:

    ——————–Wondo—————–
    Shea—————-LD———-Corona
    —————Torres—Holden———–
    Beasley–Goodson–Gooch–Park
    ——————-Rimando—————-

    Gooch over Orozco because i’m a big Gooch fan. i’d be happy either way. i’d also be ok with Gomez getting the nod.

  18. bryan says:

    please, everyone review MLS Chalkboard before talking about who played bad and who played good. because this feature can give you FACTUAL STATISTICS on what actually happened. there are some interesting insights into last night’s game.

    link to mlssoccer.com

    1. Beckerman was the most successful p@sser but all his p@sses appear backwards or sideways. Not effective at all.
    2. Parkhurst gave the ball away a lot, but also had more than twice as many p@sses as most people on the field…including ALL of the midfields. As such, he also gave the ball away the most. But as a whole, he was pretty accurate and his p@sses were generally in the offensive 3rd.
    3. Corona had a much better 2nd half but the stats show he had his issues connecting p@sses and lost possession a few times. Had some good offensive stats though. Another game at RM is in order.
    4. Holden/Mix were by far the most effective of the midfielders.
    5. Torres did a decent job but the stats show he wasn’t really involved. 37 total p@sses! in the Guate game, he had a lot more and CRUSHED the p@ssing %. he was above 95%. I think this shows that Torres should not play LM. It’s that simple. I think Mix or Torres should start next to Holden.
    6. LD was a beast. Sure, his p@ssing percentage wasn’t great but he had multiple key p@sses and of course his @ssists, among other positive, offensive stats.

    with these observations, for Cuba, i say we go:

    ——————–Wondo—————–
    Shea—————-LD———-Corona
    —————Torres—Holden———–
    Beasley–Goodson–Gooch–Park
    ——————-Rimando—————-

    Gooch over Orozco because i’m a big Gooch fan. i’d be happy either way. i’d also be ok with Gomez getting the nod.

    • biff says:

      you convinced me, bryan. except I would rather see Castillo at LW and Orozco at CB instead of Gooch. In any case, good analysis.

      @SBI: Put this guy on staff right now!

      • bryan says:

        yeah, Castillo would be ok with me too. i love Torres, but i don’t like him at LM at all. i understand why JK does it, but it never works all that well.

    • biff says:

      wait a second, I just looked at the chaldboard and Mix’s stats are pretty good. Maybe Mix at left wing. I agree that Torres needs to be back in the center. Orozco’s stats also very good. I liked the way he looked last night and think he should keep playing until he messes up.

      • bryan says:

        Mix did have good stats, but look at his distribution. it’s all over the field. i think it showed stay that way. let Shea or Castillo worry about the LM/LW spot. we need Mix as an option in the middle…IMO.

        and yeah, Orozco was solid. him and Gooch had almost identical stats in their respective games.

        but seriously, how awesome is that tool?!?! heat maps and every stat you could want. i love it!

  19. Bo says:

    It was a good game from Wondo, well first half anyway.

    What really bugs me are the Wondo fanboys (who I assume are all SJ fans) throwing out “he has the best ever scoring rate” “we should have used him sooner” “told you he has skills”. We get you love the guy and can’t take the criticism, but some of what your saying is ridiculous.

  20. As a Quakes fan I can confirm that Wondo is unimpressive. Compare him to world cup scorers like Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney, etc.; they have guile and flare and magic. Ole’!

    Wondo is just bread and butter, no magic at all. He’s been written off since high school, I guess there have always been other strikers around him with more speed or flare or magic. So he learned to practice relentlessly on finishing, and to work relentlessly to evade the defenders. He’s just a determined, hard working team player who tries to do a simple job as well as possible.

    That said, Wondo really grows on you, he is a great player to have on your team. He really grows on you. He fights passionately and relentlessly for the win until the final whistle. Also, it turns out that doing something simple like finishing reliably can be a pretty great thing. I’ve watched countless games in premier leagues where it all comes down to a simple finish, which is blown.

    If you watch Wondo’s first goal of the hattrick, it is a real tap in; but look at the skill, authority and lack of hesitation with which he finished it. Not so bad.

    And for some strange reason the ball seems to fall to Wondo a lot, even if he isn’t cutting through the defenders like Messi, dribbling and swerving the ball like Ronaldo, or surging diagonally like Rooney. They’d deplore Wondo in Spain, no ole’ at all, just goals.

    Not sure if he will make the World Cup roster, but he’s been the most prolific striker playing in the USA.

    I have got to love how the USA team looks this week, and I hope they can keep some of that going as they play better teams. C’mon boys!