CARSON, Calif. – Chris Wondolowski made his case for a ticket to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil with two goals on Saturday as the U.S. National Team defeated Korea Republic at the StubHub Center in their first match of the year.
Starting as a lone striker for Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad, Wondolowski was dangerous throughout as he torched the Korean defense with goals in the fourth and 60th minutes. The San Jose Earthquakes striker has now tallied nine goals for the USMNT in the last six games.
LA Galaxy teammates Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez each went the distance for the U.S. in the victory. Former Galaxy striker and current Chicago Fire attacker Mike Magee did not make the game day roster due to food poisoning.
In the fourth minute, Wondolowski pounced on a rebound from a Sung-Ryoung Jung save to give the Americans an early lead. However, the Koreans nearly equalized just two minutes later when Ju-Young Kim fired a header off a Korea Republic corner kick that was saved by U.S. ‘keeper Nick Rimando.
Following the save, the Koreans’ pressure repeatedly forced the American back line into turnovers but they could not be capitalized on by the Asian side.
Korea Republic continued to press in the second half, but in the 60th minute, Wondolowski made the Koreans pay with his second goal of the afternoon. Graham Zusi played the ball into Landon Donovan and the Galaxy forward cleverly laid the ball into the path of Wondolowski who buried his shot from six yards out.
Down a pair of goals, the Korean side, managed by former LA Galaxy defender Hong Myung-Bo, continued to search for a goal, but was ultimately unable to find a way past Rimando who gave a strong effort in goal. Their best chance came in the waning moments of the match as Rimando was forced to leave his line to stop a dangerous effort from a marauding Korean attacker.
The Americans will not reconvene until March when they take on Ukraine in Kharkiv on March 5. The match will be their lone European-based fixture before this summer’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil where they are placed in Group G alongside Ghana, Portugal and Germany. Meanwhile Korea Republic ends their two-week training camp in the United States with a 1-2-0 record ahead of their participation in the 2014 World Cup where they are placed in Group H with Russia, Algeria and Belgium.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com