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

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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.

[ MORE: English writer wants Klinsmann | Boca backs Klinsmann’s work ]

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.

Vancouver adds versatile Juarez, formerly of Monterrey, Celtic

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Efrain Juarez is bringing his game to Major League Soccer.

[ MLS: 2018 Mock SuperDraft ]

The 39-times capped Mexico veteran has inked a deal with the Vancouver Whitecaps, joining a strengthened unit which came within a point of winning the West last season.

Juarez, 29, was unveiled as a midfielder by the ‘Caps, though he’s primarily played right back in his club career. He’s played at Celtic, Real Zaragoza, Club America, Monterrey, and Pumas.

Last capped by El Tri in 2012, Juarez has played every position except goal, center attacking mid, and center forward in his career (picture a ‘U’ on the pitch).

“I’m so happy and excited for this new stage in my career,” Juarez said. “It’s an opportunity for me to keep growing in a new league and to be a part of an amazing club in Vancouver. From the moment they showed interest me, Carl Robinson and the Whitecaps staff have made me feel very important. I promise to put all my effort into this club and do my best to help us achieve our goals.”

VIDEO: Asensio goal ends Real Madrid’s winless run

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Marco Asensio’s eighth goal of the season and second of this Copa del Rey put an end to an unlikely Real Madrid winless run in a 1-0 victory at Leganes.

[ MLS: 2018 Mock SuperDraft ]

The 21-year-old darted in front of a defender to volley home from in-tight, giving Real Madrid a first leg lead in the tournament quarterfinals.

More importantly, perhaps, it gives struggling Real a boost in morale after draws with Celta Vigo and Numancia, and a loss to Villarreal.

Real is home to Deportivo de la Coruna in La Liga before hosting Leganes in the second leg.

Hopeful Newcastle buyer Staveley: Offer still on the table

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Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is probably happy that his for-sale club is away this weekend, even though his side’s up against Manchester City.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines — Week 24  ]

That’s because hopeful buyer Amanda Staveley has responded to claims that her hopeful takeover of the team won’t be happening any time soon.

Talks had stalled, said Tuesday reports, much to the chagrin of an #AshleyOut brigade that at times can make Arsenal’s #WengerOut brigade look like a yard full of happy puppies.

A “source” had said, “Attempts to reach a deal have proved to be exhaustive, frustrating and a complete waste of time,” but Staveley shot back on Thursday to reignite the fire. From the BBC, taken from The Times:

“Our bid remains on the table. This is an investment, but it has to be a long-term investment. Newcastle would be run as a business, but we want it to be a successful, thriving business that is an absolutely integral part of the city.”

She also said that popular manager Rafa Benitez is integral to her interest in the team, and that fact combined with her insistence that an offer remains on the table will have many Newcastle fans seething with current ownership (and there have been protests for years). It’s Ashley’s move now.

2018 MLS Mock Draft: LAFC, Galaxy hold the keys

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Major League Soccer’s latest batch of hopeful rookies learn the next steps of their professional careers beginning Friday with the first two rounds of the MLS SuperDraft.

There are several intriguing prospects, including accomplished Stanford center back Tomas Hilliard-Arce and dangerous Michigan winger Francis Atuahene.

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An MLS mock draft is always tricky given the wildly varying opinions on players from the college game. This year, it’s even trickier as clubs without picks and some with multiple first round picks may be looking to move up and down even more than the norm.

Here’s how we think the draft could play out:

  1. LAFC – Tomas Hilliard-Arce, CB, Stanford
  2. LA Galaxy – Jon Bakero, FW, Wake Forest
  3. DC United – Francis Atuahene, FW, Michigan
  4. Montreal – Joao Moutinho, LB, Akron
  5. Minnesota – Wyatt Omsberg, CB, Dartmouth
  6. Orlando City – Ema Twumasi, FW, Wake Forest
  7. Montreal – Chris Mueller, FW, Wisconsin
  8. New England – Mo Adams, MF, Syracuse
  9. New England – Chris Lema, MF, Georgetown
  10. Real Salt Lake – Justin Fiddes, LB, Washington
  11. FC Dallas – Marcelo Acuna, FW, Virginia Tech
  12. San Jose – Brandon Bye, RB, Western Michigan
  13. Sporting KC – Ed Opoku, FW, Virginia
  14. Atlanta – Alex Roldan, MF, Seattle
  15. Chicago – Mason Toye, FW, Indiana
  16. New York Red Bulls – Alan Winn, MF, North Carolina
  17. Vancouver – Tristan Blackmon, RB, Pacific
  18. Sporting KC – Jon Gallagher, FW, Notre Dame
  19. New York City FC – Daniel Musovski, FW, UNLV
  20. Houston – Mo Thiaw, FW, Louisville
  21. Columbus – Brian White, FW, Duke
  22. Seattle – Tim Kubel, MF, Louisville
  23. Toronto FC – Oliver Shannon, MF, Clemson

There are a few players to keep an eye on for the later rounds that I won’t project for the first round due almost exclusively to first person bias (Some I’ve seen play in college, others at other levels). Afonso Pinheiro from Albany produced like crazy until this season, and Bowling Green defender Alexis Souahy has a skill set that could really transmit to the MLS level.

Mac Steeves (Providence) is a prototypical big body scorer, while Evansville’s heady Ian McGrath has a flair for the absurd and can play almost every position up the center of the pitch. Charleston’s Thomas Vancaeyezeele was a D-2 monster and is probably worth a shot earlier than people suspect.