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Wondolowski double leads US past South Korea 2-0
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Wondolowski strengthened his case for inclusion on the U.S. World Cup squad for Brazil with his sixth and seventh goals in his last eight appearances for the U.S. team, which was missing several top players. The San Jose Earthquakes striker headed home a rebound in the fourth minute and struck again with a close-range strike in the 60th minute.
“My mind frame doesn’t change,” said the 31-year-old Wondolowski, who got his first call to the U.S. camp just over three years ago. “Any time I get this wonderful opportunity to represent my country, I’m going to try to make the most of it. That’s always been my mind frame since Day One, and that’s what it’s going to be until the last.”
The Americans’ won their 13th straight home match, thrilling a flag-waving sellout crowd at StubHub Center.
After winning 16 games and the Gold Cup title in 2013 during the most successful year in team history, the Americans began World Cup preparations with a 2½-week training camp in Brazil last month before a week in Southern California.
“The guys showed a lot of quality, a lot of effort,” U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said.
Several key U.S. players were not in camp while busy with their European club teams, including captain Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones, Geoff Cameron, Jozy Altidore and goalkeeper Tim Howard. Michael Bradley also isn’t in town while getting settled in at Toronto FC.
Klinsmann remains encouraging about Wondolowski’s chances of getting to Brazil while also affirming Altidore’s spot atop the U.S. lineup. Altidore, the team’s co-leader in goals last year, is having a difficult season at Sunderland.
“Wondo is a wonderful example of (what happens) if you are committed, if you’re hungry, if you give everything you have over a long period of time,” Klinsmann said. “Sooner or later, you’re going to get rewarded for it. It’s nice to see a player like him is still hungry.”
South Korea also was missing several key players during its North American tour. The team was coached by Hong Myung-bo, a former Los Angeles Galaxy defender.
“We were in a very difficult situation, but I’m happy with our players,” he said through a translator. “They did their best.”
The Americans scored before much of the California crowd had even settled into its seats. Graham Zusi made a looping cross to Brad Davis, whose shot was stopped before Wondolowski headed it home.
The South Koreans maintained consistent offensive pressure, forcing turnovers and scrambles by the U.S. defense. In the 43rd minute, a sliding Donovan barely missed converting a low pass from Wondolowski.
The American team is off until the full squad convenes for another friendly in Ukraine on March 5, its final scheduled warmup before Brazil. The U.S. team also might face Mexico in April.
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