Chris Wondolowski

Evaluating striker form ahead of USMNT camp: Surprises for the 30-man?


With USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann announcing 30 players for World Cup preliminary camp by May 12 — a week from Monday! — before culling the group to 23 by June 2, the time is right for plenty of roster thoughts.

And considering both Juan Agudelo and Terrence Boyd have found their striking stride for European clubs, has anything changed in Klinsmann’s mind ahead of camp?

Most would assume that, aside from how you classify Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan, there are precious few locks at forward for the roster. Jozy Altidore of Sunderland seems one, even after his miserable season in the Premier League (He has a goal and an assist in 29 PL matches).

But after that? Eddie Johnson was once considered all-but-going to Brazil, but he’s looked ordinary since his trade to DC United. Aron Johannsson lit the Eredivisie on fire before a dip in finishing form that seemed to coincide with missing two penalties in a short period of time.

Now you have to consider Chris Wondolowski’s goal in the friendly against Mexico and strong form in MLS, the leaps and bounds of growth from Rapid Vienna’s Terrence Boyd and even Will Bruin’s hot start to 2014 with the Houston Dynamo.

Who are you betting to make the 30? The 23?

Check out this short list of form since MLS season began in mid-March (with a couple bonus names thrown in):

— Eddie Johnson, DC United — 7 games, 0 goals, 1 assist, 12 shots

— Chris Wondolowski, San Jose — 7 games, 5 goals, 23 shots

— Aron Johannsson, AZ Alkmaar — 10 games, 1 goal, 1 assist, 15 shots

— Terrence Boyd, Rapid Vienna — 8 games, 5 goals

— Juan Agudelo, FC Utrecht — 7 games, 2 goals, 2 assists, 15 shots

— Ale Bedoya, Nantes — 7 games, 2 goals, 13 shots

— Jozy Altidore, Sunderland — 5 games, 0 goals, 2 shots

— Herculez Gomez, Tijuana — 5 games, 0 goals, 3 shots

— Julian Green, Bayern Munich II — 3 games, 0 goals

— Will Bruin, Houston — 9 games, 5 goals, 1 assist, 27 shots

— Jack McInerney, Montreal — 7 games, 2 goals, 1 assist, 14 shots

— Andrew Wenger, Philadelphia — 9 games, 2 goals, 22 shots

— Mike Magee, Chicago — 6 games, 2 goals, 2 assists, 19 shots

If we’re being honest, it’s hard to think EJ’s a lock simply based on experience. And if Klinsmann’s been watching club soccer as closely as we think — he is — can he ignore Boyd? Wondolowski? Bruin?

VIDEO: Marco Verratti plays a brilliant pass to Eder for Italy goal

PALERMO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06:  Marco Verratti of Italy in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Italy and Bulgaria on September 6, 2015 in Palermo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
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Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.

The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.

The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.

Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.


Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.

Agent: Liverpool contacted Klopp only after Rodgers firing

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09:  Jurgen Klopp arrives to be unveiled as the new manager of Liverpool FC at a press conference at Anfield on October 9, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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As soon as Brendan Rodgers was dismissed by Liverpool on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp’s name was tossed around as the likely successor to the then-vacant Liverpool managerial position.

However, according to Klopp’s representatve Marc Kosicke, Liverpool did not make contact with the German until after Rodgers had been officially let go.

“The first call from Liverpool came after the dismissal as coach of Rodgers,” Kosicke told Bild. “Before Liverpool there were naturally quite a few inquiries. But Jurgen always asked me not to take it any further.”

Club management was less committal than Klopp’s rep, but did say they had their eye on the German for some time. “We have learned to keep certain matters confidential. We had a meeting recently with Jurgen that he has talked about and I don’t want to talk too much about these conversations. But we have thought about him for a long time and everyone who knows football knows he is an outstanding manager.”

It’s relatively hard to believe Liverpool would have canned Rodgers without knowing for sure that a top-level target such as Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti were on board to replace him. It also would mean discussions of the contract terms and logistics would have moved at lightning speed, with just four days between the Rodgers dismissal and Klopp’s official unveiling.