2014 WC Round of 16

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.

US stars Howard, Cameron selected in World Cup “team of the last 16”

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Source: WhoScored.com

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According to the leading statisticians over at WhoScored, two U.S. players performed well enough against Belgium to make the “team of the last 16” at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Everton’s Tim Howard (obviously) got the nod in goal as he scored a perfect 10 in the rankings with his record breaking 16-save performance, while Stoke City’s Geoff Cameron made the central midfield spot after he was moved from central defense to holding mid in favor of Kyle Beckerman.

Putting Howard in this squad was an obvious choice, but seeing Cameron’s name in the XI certainly makes Klinsmann’s decision to drop the incredibly popular Beckerman seem like a good one. Time and time again Cameron won the ball back for the U.S. and provided a vital shield in front of the back four. Imagine how much worse the attacking onslaught would’ve been if what was virtuall a ‘third center back’ wouldn’t have been deployed by Klinsmann? Yeah. Cameron had more touches (113) than any player on the pitch, completed four dribbles, made five tackles and eight clearances.

Other players named in the “team of the last 16” were Argentine trio Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria and Pablo Zabaleta,  playmakers Mesut Ozil and Arjen Robben, plus the Belgian duo of Kevin De Bruyne and Jan Vertonghen. Algeria defender Essaïd Belkalem and Greek defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

Congrats to Tim and Geoff, who will now both take a break before heading back to England to prepare for another season in the Premier League with their club teams.

You, of course, can watch every single one of their PL games live on NBC Sports Live Extra online or via the app.

WATCH: Landon Donovan discusses US loss, int’l future with Dan Patrick

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A “pretty bummed out” Landon Donovan joined Dan Patrick on Wednesday, and had a solid, candid talk regarding the United States’ World Cup exit against Belgium, his international future and more.

Donovan said he would’ve liked to see the U.S. “attack more” and “just go for it” against Germany and Belgium, but lauded the team’s performance while answering Patrick’s question on whether he considering what he would’ve been able to do on the roster.

“I’ve said many times that every professional athlete thinks they can make a difference,” Donovan said. “It was definitely hard to watch, there’s no question. Mostly I’m disappointed for the guys. Of course we all feel like we could’ve helped but that’s just a thought, it’s not the reality necessarily.”

[ MORE: Analyzing Jurgen Klinsmann’s first World Cup with U.S. ]

[ MORE: Three things we learned in U.S. loss to Belgium ]

He did admit he would’ve been in a sub role on Tuesday.

“I would’ve used me off the bench, for sure,” Donovan said. “Let me just say this: even if I had come into the game, we’ve all been in situations where we’ve missed chances. If Jozy Altidore was healthy and could’ve gotten into the game, it doesn’t mean he would’ve gotten a goal.”

Donovan said he has not decided whether he has retired from international play, and said he would love to play in the Olympics.

WATCH: Wynalda rips Klinsmann’s “almost un-American” act in weird rant

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Former USMNT striker Eric Wynalda claims the United States wasn’t attacking enough in its World Cup, and actually had to be cautioned to calm down after dropping an S-bomb during an appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show”.

“This is a boxing match that was fifteen rounds and we went the first 10 rounds with one arm tied behind our backs,” Wynalda said.

Wynalda also referenced his being benched against Brazil in the 1994 World Cup in a “Glory Days” moment that is incomparable and very regrettable. The U.S. lost that game 1-0, by the way.

[ MORE: Analyzing Jurgen Klinsmann’s first World Cup with U.S. ]

[ MORE: Three things we learned in U.S. loss to Belgium ]

When asked about Klinsmann moving forward, Wynalda called him “almost un-American.”

“The whole country is singing this song, ‘I Believe’, and the only guy who didn’t believe was Jurgen,” Wynalda said. “That’s hard on the players, all the people in this country who are really ready to get behind this sport… That’s just almost un-American.”

As an analyst, he liked the move of Geoff Cameron to midfield, but said the No. 1 problem was Michael Bradley playing out of position.

Personal opinion: the take was clown shoes. Wynalda sounded like a sour grapes guy who was looking for another reason to rip on Jurgen Klinsmann and not the players or mismatches.

Watch it here:

US Secretary of Defense Wikipedia page redo and other Tim Howard love

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Oh, Wikipedia: the source of so much knowledge, wonder and ‘Who is this star married to?’ trivia has now given us this quick-edit wonder:

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Yes, Mister Secretary, we will attempt to provide you better output in front of you in 2018 should you choose to come back. Please, choose to come back (What an old photo choice, by the way, anonymous Wikiwrecker).

[ MORE: Analyzing Jurgen Klinsmann’s first World Cup with U.S. ]

[ MORE: Three things we learned in U.S. loss to Belgium ]

And it wasn’t the only Howard love to spread its joy across the web. There were memes and more. Here are some of our favorites:

Titled: If Tim Howard was in ‘Game of Thrones’

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Titled: Public Enemy, No. 1.

 

 

 

Titled: My Cup will go on

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Titled: Miska-Mouska

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