Has Chris Wondolowski Already Cemented a Spot on USMNT World Cup Roster?
Going into the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the one player fans of the United States men's national team could not stop talking about was Landon Donovan.
But after a friendly against Guatemala and two Group C matches against Belize and Cuba, the man of the hour is forward Chris Wondolowski.
Wondolowski finally opened his international scoring account against Guatemala on July 5 in a friendly. Ever since, he has become the biggest revelation of the American squad so far in the tournament.
After he earned the title of most prolific scorer in Major League Soccer last season, Wondolowski drifted off everyone's radar following the American domestic league this season because of his failure to find the back of the net.
The 30-year-old soon-to-be MLS All-Star scored just five goals before being called into the Gold Cup camp. Out of nowhere, he has delivered a much-needed spark to the American lineup.
Given how Wondolowski has delivered in the previous three matches for the United States, along with the lackuster performance from other players at the position, it is safe to say he will be on the 23-man roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Before you jump all over that statement and criticize it, take a look at the current group of forwards that have been employed by the United States during the Jurgen Klinsmann era.
Other than Jozy Altidore, no forward has stood out enough to make himself worthy of being ahead of Wondolowski on the World Cup roster.
In the Cuba match, Klinsmann decided to hand Herculez Gomez another chance at scoring on the international level. But once again, the 31-year-old failed to impress. To his credit, Gomez showed plenty of hustle out on the pitch. But he lost his cool a bit when certain decisions did not go his way, and that showed when he finally got a few chances to shoot on goal.
After Gomez, the list of potential candidates for the World Cup roster continues to dwindle.
Young stars like Terrence Boyd and Jack McInerney have not seen enough playing time at the top international level. They both have more of a chance to play in the 2018 World Cup than they do in Brazil.
Then there is the curious case of Eddie Johnson, who seems to be one of the most flummoxing players that has played for the United States in the last year.
Johnson had a strong 2012 with the Seattle Sounders in MLS. His club form warrants him a spot on the Brazil roster, but his international form far from guarantees him a ticket to Brazil.
Another factor playing into which forwards will go to Brazil is the depth in midfield that will force both Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey further up the pitch.
It is very likely at this point in the roster selection process that both Donovan and Dempsey will get named as forwards along with Altidore, leaving just one or two spots at the forward position to be filled.
With his stellar recent performance, Wondolowski has written his name in Sharpie in one of those two roster spots.
Do you think Chris Wondolowski has earned a spot on the World Cup roster?
Comment below or leave me a comment on Twitter, @JTansey90.
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