SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Chris Wondolowski returned to practice on Friday for the San Jose Earthquakes, eager to move on from his dramatic miss in the World Cup.
“I wish we had a game today,” he said during a press conference. “I want to get back in and get playing again.”
That one infamous shot, coming in the 91st minute of a then-scoreless game against Belgium, sailed over the crossbar. Instead of giving the US national team a surprising victory, the game went to extra time, where Belgium finally prevailed, 2-1.
“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.”
“Geoff Cameron played a great ball and it went to Jermaine Jones,” Wondolowski said. “He was able to knock it down to me. I just went for it, reached, and leaned back too far, and when you lean back it sails. The keeper did a good job coming out, and I was trying to place it over his shoulder. I got under it too much.
“I should make it more often than not, and one hundred percent of those I need to get on frame. That’s the biggest thing that eats me up, because when you get it on frame anything can happen,” Wondolowski said. “I have to finish that first and foremost, and do my job better.
“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.”
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The reaction to that play has blown up the internet with comments and criticism from all over. Wondolowski is taking it all in stride.
“For every one of the mean ones, there were great fans who were supporting me, and that means a lot,” he said. “I have great fans who stick with me through thick and thin, and a great family, and even better teammates. People can say what they want, that does not bother me, I get over that real quick. I have a pretty thick skin.
“Right now my whole focus is trying to beat D.C. next week,” Wondolowski said. “I’m ready to go. The past is the past. It doesn’t matter if you’ve lost three games or missed a chance in the World Cup, it’s past now and we’re going on and try to get a win. I think we’ve had a little bit of a tough spell the last few games, and I want to do everything I can to help us get back on the right step so we can make a playoff push and try and go for the MLS Cup. That’s all my concentration now.”