We know Chris Wondolowski can score in MLS (72 regular season goals in the past four campaigns). We know Chris Wondolowski can score against CONCACAF teams (six goals last summer). We know he can score in second-tier friendlies (two against South Korea on Saturday). But can Chris Wondolowski score at the highest level, namely the World Cup? That is what Juergen Klinsmann will have to decide in the next three months. Would he prefer the sniping qualities of Wondo entering in the 75th minute rather than the seasoned Herculez Gomez or the younger, more athletic talents of Austrian-based Terrence Boyd, an accomplished scorer himself (12 goals in 25 Rapid Vienna matches this season)?
Wondolowski staked his claim to a roster berth with an opportunistic finish in the opening moments and a sharp effort early in the second half. To remain in the running, he will need to maintain his form early in the MLS season and if he is summoned for the March or April friendly.
Other things we learned:
*Nick Rimando is the No. 3 keeper in Brazil. Period.
*Michael Parkhurst‘s versatility (a right back who played on the left against the Koreans) is a selling point ahead of roster decisions.
*Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez will need to raise their game against world-class opponents. Composure and speed of thought will be vital against unforgiving forwards in Brazil.
*Barring injury, Kyle Beckerman is guaranteed of going to Brazil — not as a starter, but as cover for Michael Bradley and card-prone Jermaine Jones.
*Brad Davis is not as young, athletic or unpredictable as Brek Shea, but if you need left-side service from a specialist, Davis is your man.
*Graham Zusi continues to make a strong case to start on the right side in Brazil, a claim that forces Klinsmann into difficult decisions with the other three attack-minded midfielders: Clint Dempsey in the middle and Landon Donovan on the left, or Donovan in the middle and Fabian Johnson on the left? To think, Zusi’s pro capability was in question entering MLS in 2010.
*Mix Diskerud showed again he has the international acumen, touch and composure to handle himself if called upon in a World Cup game.
*Bad luck for Mike Magee, the 2013 MLS MVP who missed the friendly because of food poisoning and remains in search of his first cap. Even if he had been available, though, his chances of cracking the World Cup roster were slim.
*Nice to see DeAndre Yedlin and Luis Gil earn their first caps, but they’re on the 2018 track.
*It’s hard to watch televised matches played in Carson in the afternoon sun and shade. I need to see my optometrist.
*So what’s the big deal? ESPN2 only missed half of the goals while waiting out an interminable college basketball game.
*Next match: friendly at Ukraine on March 5 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN2).
USA — Chris Wondolowski (unassisted), 4th minute.
USA — Chris Wondolowski (Landon Donovan), 60th minute.
Rimando; Evans (Yedlin 74th), Gonzalez, Besler (Goodson 62nd), Parkhurst; Beckerman, Diskerud (Feilhaber 62nd); Zusi (Alexander 81st), Donovan, Davis (Gil 75th); Wondolowski (Johnson 62nd).