The most important game in Chris Wondolowski’s career

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Wondolowski must score today if he wants to be included in USA's final 23-man roster for Brazil.

If the World Cup started today, Chris Wondolowski would be sitting at home in the Bay Area watching it while the rest of the United States Men’s National Team took the field in Brazil.

Wondolowski is the best goal scorer in the league that employs the three best USMNT players.

He has scored a Twellman-esque 72 goals in his last four MLS seasons in just 158 games.

He was the top scorer at the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup with five goals in just four games.

But is he even good at soccer?

Or rather, is he good enough to help USA in Brazil?

With six goals in 17 international appearances, his strike rate is certainly good enough. But those six goals came in a nine-day stretch in three blowout wins over Guatemala, Belize and Cuba.

He has failed to score in his appearances against Chile, Spain, Canada, Panama, Guadeloupe, Venezuela, Panama (again), Canada, Canada (again), Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Scotland and Austria.

Four of those teams are in the World Cup and only Chile and Spain have the chance to actually do something at the tournament.

Wondolowski is 31. This is his last chance at making a World Cup roster, which brings us to today’s game against the Republic of Korea.

If Wondo fails to score today, it’s over. He’s not getting called up for the friendly against Ukraine (assuming that friendly doesn't get cancelled due to political turmoil).


But if he has a good game, maybe scores a couple of goals, then he’ll be given a lifeline to continue.

With Jozy Altidore, Aron Jóhannsson, Eddie Johnson and Terrence Boyd all in the mix, it seems unlikely that Klinsmann will need a fifth forward for the World Cup, especially with USA’s tendency to only play a single forward up top.

Furthermore, USA will likely play with five in the midfield against Portugal and Germany in order to avoid getting overwhelmed by superior players.

The 2012 MLS MVP is simply superfluous to USA’s needs -- unless he can force Klinsmann’s hand today.

We all know that Wondo can score in MLS. But can he do it at the highest level?

Wondolowski doesn't just have to score a goal today. He has to score goals. Plural. Great goals. He must make it impossible for Klinsmann to leave him off the next roster.

Because if he doesn't, this is probably his last chance.

Follow Evan Ream on Twitter @EvanReam

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