Victor Decolongon/Getty Images
The numbers all point in his favor.
Well, most of them.
When dissected under the Opta spotlight, this time by analyst Benjamin Baer on MLS's official website, Chris Wondolowski shines brighter than any goalscorer in MLS history. Of the 31-year-old's 79 career goals, 43 percent were of the game-winning variety. Even more impressive, 59 percent of his goals gave his club the lead.
None of the top 25 goalscorers in league history came within five percent.
It's that kind of productivity that has led to his recent inclusion in the U.S. men's national team picture. But as impressive as those numbers are, even Wondolowski is aware that a fast start to the 2014 season is crucial for his World Cup chances.
Geoff Lepper carried the quotes on MLS's official website:
Absolutely, the time's dwindling down, so anytime you do get an opportunity, you have to try to make the most of it. Whether there were a lot of friendlies or not, the time here [with San Jose], it's going to be very important. I have to continue to try to get better and show well and have a good start to the season.
So, what exactly is keeping Wondolowski on the World Cup bubble?
The former MLS MVP has undoubtedly been productive at the club level, and his recent prowess at the international level have some clamoring for his inclusion to Jurgen Klinsmann's 23-man roster.
Unfortunately for Wondolowski, the USMNT was drawn in to Group G.
World-class competition awaits in June, and in this regard, the numbers don't exactly work in his favor. It won't matter how many extra "Ws" you throw on his jersey.
First, the facts.
Wondolowski has contributed eight goals in 19 caps for the United States. His first came in a friendly match against Guatemala—currently ranked 76th in ESPN's SPI rankings—in the build up to the 2013 Gold Cup. A hat-trick followed in the opening match of the tournament against Belize.
They're currently ranked 151st in ESPN's SPI rankings.
Wondolowski polished off two more against Cuba, who are humbly ranked 12 spots higher (139).
But what followed for a man in such scorching form?
Zero goals against Costa Rica. Zero goals against Honduras. Zero goals against, you know, World Cup competition. Though, to be honest, neither nation featured the usual suspects that allowed them to qualify for the 2014 World Cup. So technically, that wasn't even "World Cup" competition.
It should come as no surprise that Wondolowski didn't feature in the Gold Cup final against Panama.
And we haven't even discussed his scoreless performances in international friendlies against Chile and Spain. Not to mention, his scoreless performance in the 2011 Gold Cup.
But many continue to bang the drum. This time, it's Wondolowski's brace against South Korea that's adding fuel to this heated debate. You know, the same South Korea team that was demolished by Mexico 4-0 a few nights prior and was mainly comprised of players that won't even feature in Brazil.
So, yes, a scorching start to 2014 will aid his World Cup chances. The narrative will make him one of the most watched players in MLS as the season kicks off.
But for those still banging the drum: Don't hold your breath.
There is no Belize, Guatemala nor Cuba awaiting the United States in Brazil.
Klinsmann has better options at his disposal.