CARSON, Calif. – Chris Wondolowski made his case for a role in Brazil on Saturday, scoring both goals as the US national team wrapped up its annual January camp with a 2-0 decision over Korea Republic at sold-out StubHub Center.
Wondolowski scored in the fourth and 60th minutes, both of them finishers' strikes, as the Yanks began in earnest their path toward the World Cup with their eighth victory in a dozen games in Carson, improving to 6-1-4 since 2004 in matches following the early Southern California camps.
The Americans attacked primarily from the flanks, with midfielders Graham Zusi and Brad Davis and right back Brad Evans doing much of the work, and bent but didn't break defensively as the the Koreans found chances, more so in the first than in the second half.
MLS MVP Mike Magee was a no-show, kept off the game-day roster because of food poisoning, and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann decided to keep goalkeeper Bill Hamid and defender Michael Harrington in street clothes, too.
Wondolowski had the US ahead before many cars had maneuvered through traffic into the parking lots.
Landon Donovan, wearing the captain's armband for his 155th international appearance, played the ball wide for Zusi on the right flank, and a streaking, then sliding Davis met it just beyond the left post, left-footing a shot that goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryong, one of four veterans in the Korean lineup, parried. Wondolowski was right there to nod home the rebound.
The US might have added to its lead in the 12th minute, when Evans' low cross into the box found Mix Diskerud in traffic, but the only non-MLS player on the Yanks' roster couldn't get the ball off his feet. Wondolowski nearly set up another goal just before halftime, beating left back Kim Jin-Su to Evans' ball up the flank, then sending it into the goalmouth, just ahead of Donovan.
The Koreans, playing their third game in eight days – with trips to and from Texas in between – started slowly but soon found a rhythm and had the territorial advantage for most of the first half.
They nearly scored, and perhaps deserved a goal, in the eighth minute, when Kim Ju-Young, enjoying a fine debut in central defense, delivered a diving, glancing near-post header from Park Jong-Woo's corner kick. US goalkeeper Nick Rimando caught it as he was stepping backward, and the Koreans protested that the ball had crossed the line. Replays were inconclusive.
Lee Keun-Ho, the most experienced of South Korea's players, with 61 caps, fired high from close range after a long run past defenders in the 18th minute, and Matt Besler cut off a pass at the right post headed for an open Kim Shin-Wook after Kim Min-Woo beat Evans on the left in the 35th.
Wondolowski provided a cushion 15 minutes into the second half. Evans' throw-in on the right found Zusi creeping toward the box, and he split two defenders with a pass toward the near post. Donovan got a touch on the ball ahead of Kim Ju-Young, and Wondolowski ran onto the ball about 9 yards from the net and fired into the upper-right corner. He was substituted immediately, coming off the field to loud applause.
The assist was Donovan's 58th for the US, equaling his goals total.
With the year-opening victory, January camp officially wraps up. The USMNT next gather for a friendly vs. Ukraine in Kharkiv on March 5.