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Wondolowski faces the press with class: “That miss is going to help me”

Jul 5, 2014, 12:44 PM EDT

Chris Wondolowski AP

Failure, while not a four-letter word, sure feels that way. The United States bowed out to Belgium in the World Cup’s Round of 16, and certainly each player on that team has wondered how he could’ve done better.

For Chris Wondolowski, the USMNT’s “Cinderella Man”, the case is pretty simple to solve. The striker got himself in position to push the States to the quarterfinals and, after being closed down by Red Devils keeper Thibaut Courtois, sent the potential match-winner over the net.

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Not surprisingly, the moment has stayed with him. And to his credit, the man is playing the role of good example for athletes after adversity. There’s no “we all missed chances” coming from the striker, nor is there a “I’ll move past it.”

It’s his to own, and it will make him better.

From MLSSoccer.com, courtesy Pete Ratajczak:

“I’ll always think about it. I think about every miss. I think about misses I had against Real Salt Lake three years ago,” Wondolowski said. “It was such a big moment on a big stage.”

“I really do wish I had it back. I play it over and over. But it is what it is,” Wondolowski continued. “That miss is going to help me. It’s one of those things that will be a driving force and help motivate me. In offseasons, and during hard times, I’ll go back to that and really push through it, because I don’t want that feeling again. It’s one of those things where you want to work hard enough where it doesn’t happen again.”

“Being a striker, it will happen again,” Wondolowski said. “I will miss another goal. I’ll also score another one.”

source:  Wondolowski’s World Cup story is a case study in the build-up and take-down of heroes. There were equal whirs of “give him a chance” and “he can’t do it” as the roster was being pared to 30 and then 23 men.

The 31-year-old needed two chances to make a dent at San Jose and didn’t find his way into even MLS-fan consciousness, let alone national team consideration, until 2010. ‘Wondo’ became a prolific MLS scorer and worked his way into deserved consideration for Brazil.

But, as Wondolowski admits in the article, a lot of harsh criticism and personal attacks came his way after his miss, one that had him tossing these sentiments out on Twitter:

There’s a special class involved in taking the fall and absorbing the shock for his teammates. Though, Wondolowski admits there were more positive comments than negative following his miss, you feel for a guy who knows he missed a major chance and has to relive it via public vitriol.

But ‘Wondo’ is throwing plenty of locker room quote-worthy material out there for every player or person who’s failed at something, or blew an opportunity.

“Being a striker, it will happen again,” Wondolowski said. “I will miss another goal. I’ll also score another one.”

And given his career, the odds are he’ll make more than he misses.

  1. kicksave1980 - Jul 5, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    Great attitude, and I’m proud to have players with such class as part of the US national team.

  2. braxtonrob - Jul 5, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    Who knows how many chances he would have had, had he been allowed to start.
    A lot of people have chosen to deflect blame on to Wondo (which I think is absurd), but I didn’t see many others working as hard as he did, and putting himself in a position to make that strike in the first place.

    Wondo was 0-for-1 that game; he wouldn’t have gone 0-for-3 (given the chance).

  3. vin904 - Jul 5, 2014 at 4:20 PM

    Wasn’t the call on the field offsides? Even though replays showed he wasn’t?

    • braxtonrob - Jul 5, 2014 at 7:45 PM

      I think that was a call for a Goal Kick (but I’m not 100% on that).

  4. seanb20124 - Jul 5, 2014 at 8:02 PM

    Vin904 has it right if I recall

  5. seanb20124 - Jul 5, 2014 at 8:05 PM

    The assistant referee on the right side of the field put his flag up to indicate an offside infraction, even though Wondolowski was clearly in an onside position. If the ball had gone into the net, it may not have counted – although given that the 31-year-old was so obviously in a legitimate area, the referee may have overruled his assistant and awarded a goal anyways.

  6. docta103 - Jul 5, 2014 at 10:40 PM

    Glad to see Wondo is a stand up guy, he is so right that you remember the misses and they can drive you. Good for him.

  7. ryanw822 - Jul 7, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    “The assistant referee on the right side of the field put his flag up to indicate an offside infraction, even though Wondolowski was clearly in an onside position. If the ball had gone into the net, it may not have counted – although given that the 31-year-old was so obviously in a legitimate area, the referee may have overruled his assistant and awarded a goal anyways.”

    not true and its already been stated the flag was pointing for the goal kick. even the tactical cam shows the ref did not have his flag up for offsides.

  8. khard1250 - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    If you want an even clearer perspective on how great Wondo’s attitude is, check out some of the comments he’s been getting on his Facebook page.

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