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WATCH: Landon Donovan reacts to Chris Wondolowski’s late miss against Belgium

Jul 1, 2014, 10:05 PM EDT

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 7.05.11 PM

Did you think that late Chris Wondolowski chance was going in, too? You’re not the only one.

Whether the goal would have counted or not (there are conflicting reports), there was a moment at the end of regulation when every United States Men’s National Team fan thought the smash-and-grab was in full effect. One Geoff Cameron lob. One Jermaine Jones header. And one Chris Wondolowski finish … that wasn’t. The shot went well over the bar, but the U.S. that close to breaking Belgian hearts before ultimately losing in extra time, 2-1.

Watching the game some six thousand miles away, Landon Donovan was one of us. As ESPN Sportscenter’s Instagram captured, the U.S.’s all-time leading scorer thought his team was into quarterfinals once more. And just like the rest of us, he was momentarily left asking what could have possibly gone wrong.

Wondolowski’s chance came in second half stoppage time. On the broadcast, ESPN’s Ian Darke announced the goal would not have counted, noting the assistant referee’s flag was up. Conflicting reports have said the goal would have counted, likely sending the U.S. into the quarterfinals.

  1. dohpey28 - Jul 1, 2014 at 10:56 PM

    He would’ve finished.

  2. fubar5150 - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    Bradley sucked even if Landon is on the bench better then all the other hacks #fireklingsman

    • eberit - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:18 AM

      Bradley is vastly over rated and was sub par throughout the tournament. Benny Fielhaber would have performed far better. He can change the point of attack much quicker than Bradley and sees the field much better.

  3. navyeoddavee9 - Jul 2, 2014 at 12:05 AM

    Doesn’t matter if it would have counted or not, bottom line: it didn’t go in

  4. phillyphannn83 - Jul 2, 2014 at 12:52 AM

    Leaving Donovan off the team is inexcusable when 2 of the 23 never saw the pitch the entire tournament. His leadership and clutch performances are legendary in US soccer and he would have been an adequate replacement after Jozy went down. MONUMENTAL mistake by Klinsmann.

    I will also be the bad guy and say that Wondo’s attempt looked to me at the time that it was a lazy, unfocused effort at best. I understand it was the 88th minute, but at that moment, on that stage, there is no excuse for a lack of complete and total focus. It wasn’t just a miss, it was an ugly miss of a wide open net. I feel bad for Tim Howard, he deserved better than that.

    All that said, the reason for our(my) strong emotional reaction is a testament to the effort our team put forth the entire tournament. They worked do hard and played so well, that they made us all believe it was possible. It makes losing the way we did that much harder, but were left with an overwhelming sense of pride and respect for our boys and our country!

    Well done Team USA, well done.

    • lyleoross - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:04 AM

      For the umpteenth time, LD does not equal Jozi. LD is a mid, he is a poacher who waits for opportunities, and takes them. He’s a great poacher, but he is not a developer, he doesn’t make things happen for other players. Unfortunatly, CD and Wondo are the same type of players, so you had plenty of that. Now, LD is a better poacher than Wondo, but I think LD got left because he is probably bad for team dynamics in JK’s opinion. The real let down is MB, he’s your developer, he makes things happen for LD, CD and Wondo. I’m pretty sure he made Green’s goal happen. So, having LD there would not have solved the problem.

      Truth be told, as a striker, Jozi is better than LD. I’m not much of a JA fan, but he is not a poacher, he is a physical force who pulls players off stride, opens things up, and can actually create for himself. Of course compared to a Ronaldo, or a Bale, or any other top of the line striker, he is average, but there you have it.

      It takes vision to create opportunities up front, and none of the Jozi, CD, Wondo, or LD types have that vision. They don’t see the development around them as well as MB does. Go back and look at CD’s attempts, if I recall correctly, in the two cases I recall, he had good outlets that were better positioned, and he didn’t move the ball to them. MB does that. Of course, MB was busy trying to be superman, and was so often too far back that he couldn’t fulfill that forward role, but such is life.

  5. coalmindsdotcom - Jul 2, 2014 at 1:10 AM

    I can’t think of a good reason for a professional-quality soccer player to miss a shot like that.

  6. braxtonrob - Jul 2, 2014 at 1:22 AM

    He KNOWS … that was our chance to STEAL this game.

    Attempted theft often goes punished in the World Cup, however.

  7. mcba1n - Jul 2, 2014 at 2:47 AM

    This is simple. In HUGE moments – Wondo and Dempsey both choked – and did terrible. I think back to Dempsey v Algeria. I remember, my brother was on the phone and I was giving him the play by play – and my line was: “GOD DAMNIT, DEMPSEY… GOOOOOOOOOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL” I then ran around my house a few times whilst on the phone shouting. Dempsey is NOT a clutch player and neither is Wondo. Donovan was clutch – always has been. Did he deserve to go? I think that’s the manager’s decision and I support it. Donovan may not have been fit – he’s made nothing but excuses since.

    Ugh, Dempsey and Wondo had EASY chances on net, Dempsey’s being the most unforgivable, since he put it to the 1 spot you could NOT score a goal. I hope he’s too old for the next cycle – he adds nothing to the team – and F his 2 goals. Separate reality with a different striker…

  8. andreweac - Jul 2, 2014 at 3:33 AM

    US needs better striker depth options in 2018. That was a terrible error by Wondo. Brutal. Truly.

  9. sw19womble - Jul 2, 2014 at 5:32 AM

    The linesman was really really lucky that ball didn’t go in.

    Could have had the conspiracy theorists working overtime for the next decade….

  10. wiztopher - Jul 2, 2014 at 7:46 AM

    Better options like Altidore and Green?

    • mikeevergreen - Jul 2, 2014 at 3:48 PM

      Green’s a wing. A killer wing in training.

  11. Punk - Jul 2, 2014 at 7:47 AM

    What could have gone wrong? How about absolutely terrible Fullback play that lead to some 23 shots on goal?

  12. scoochpooch - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:14 AM

    Simple physics on the Wondo shot; if a player is going to wait for the ball to fall down 10-12 feet, either don’t allow it bounce or if you do allow to bounce don’t try to blast it through the net, use a softer touch.

    Belgium deserved to win by USA could have stolen it. Wondo and Dempsey’s misses just serve to reinforce stereotypes about soccer, which I feel will forever hold this sport back here. Imagine if LeBron James missed a dunk or wide open layup in the final seconds of the NBA Finals, that’s essentially what Wondo and Clint did yesterday.

  13. bullsrgreat1 - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    chris wondo still one of the most overrated players in mls history

  14. rambose99 - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    The belgian goalie had a lot to do with the miss. Had belgium lost, they would have had 10x the regrets over all their lost opportunities.

    Just a hunch, but based on what was said and not said, it always seemed like Landon Donovan was somehow a divisive or undermining force in what JK was trying do. It’s totally possible that had Donovan been along, the team would have had a better individual player, but a worse team overall. Given what was accomplished, seems wrong to second guess the coach, who was the biggest reason the team made it as far as it did.

    • lyleoross - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      Yowsa! Great observation. I think you’re right, and I wish more would approach this issue this way.

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