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Wondo’s 2 goals lead US soccer past South Korea
Question of the Day
CARSON, Calif. (AP) - Chris Wondolowski is pretty sure his only chance to make the U.S. World Cup roster is to keep creating offense at every opportunity.
When he got a chance to start on Saturday, Wondo jumped all over it.
The San Jose Earthquakes striker strengthened his case for Brazil with his sixth and seventh goals in his last eight appearances for the U.S. team, which was missing several top players. Wondolowski headed home a rebound in the fourth minute and struck again on a short shot in the 60th minute, capitalizing on two broken plays for another big day in his late-blooming international career.
“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.”
Despite a few hair-raising moments on defense, the Americans’ patchwork lineup handled South Korea’s offensive pressure while winning its 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.”
Eddie Johnson replaced Wondolowski after the second goal, and U.S. career scoring leader Landon Donovan had a quiet, solid game in midfield.
Nick Rimando improved to 10-0 in his national team career with the shutout, including a nice save in the final seconds of injury time.
South Korea also was missing several key players during its North American swing. 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.”
By Orrin G. Hatch
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