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The U.S. Men’s National Team got 2014 off to a winning start on Saturday with a 2-0 victory against fellow FIFA World Cup™ squad South Korea in Carson, Calif.
Chris Wondolowski made his case to be on the plane to Brazil with a dazzling double including a 4th-minute header from a Brad Davis rebound and a slick right-footed finish in the second stanza on the hour mark.
Wearing the NIke Hypervenom Phantom in Neo Lime/Total Crimson/Black, the 31-year-old San Jose Earthquakes striker continued to impress in a Stars and Stripes shirt. Saturday’s goals made seven in his last eight appearances for the national team.
Key players Clint Dempsey, Jozy Alitdore, Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley and Tim Howard weren’t among the 22 players called in for this contest giving men such as Wondolowski a chance to shine. He’ll likely get another audition when the USMNT next plays March 5 in an international friendly against Ukraine in Kharkiv.
“My mind frame doesn’t change. Any time I get this wonderful opportunity to represent my country, I’m going to try to make the most of it,” Wondolowski said. “That’s always been my mind frame since day one and that’s how it’s going to be till the last.”
The U.S. Men’s National Team will take another step toward 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ on Saturday when Jurgen Klinsmann’s side takes on South Korea in an international friendly at the home of the LA Galaxy.
When the Stars and Stripes take the StubHub Center field at 5 p.m. in Carson, Calif. in front of a sold out crowd of 27,000, they will be looking to tune-up for this summer’s FIFA World Cup™ collectively, and players will be hoping to catch their manager’s eye individually as well.
Among the 22-man group of largely Major League Soccer players named for this friendly (full list below) are several already near locks to make the trip to face Ghana, Portugal and Germany in June. They include defenders Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez and Clarence Goodson, midfielders Kyle Beckerman, Graham Zusi and Mix Diskerud and forwards Landon Donovan and Eddie Johnson. Others still have a point to prove.
Klinsmann is using this friendly, the first since November’s FIFA World Cup™ draw and the last until March 5 at Ukraine, to help nail down the final few places in his team.
In addition to the match, he’s had a chance to challenge his players during training that began Jan. 6 in Carson, Calif, and moved south to Sao Paulo for 10 days as players sought to get a feel for this summer’s conditions.
South Korea is on a tour testing their mettle against CONCACAF sides in a three-game U.S. journey. They beat Costa Rica 1-0 a week ago at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before falling 4-0 to Mexico on Wednesday at the Alamodome.
Manager Hong Myung-Bo has a domestic-based squad full of K-League players and is hoping to finalize his plans for 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ when the Taegeuk Warriors take on Belgium, Algeria and Russia in Group H.
You can watch the match on ESPN2, the WatchESPN app or UniMas.
USA squad to face S. Korea
Goalkeepers: Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Harrington (Portland Timbers), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
Midfielders: Eric Alexander (New York Red Bulls), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards: Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Mike Magee (Chicago Fire), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)