Clarence Goodson’s Misfortune is San Jose Earthquakes’ Lucky Break

On Thursday afternoon at Stanford, Chris Wondolowski achieved his “ultimate dream.”

The San Jose Earthquakes’ all-time leading scorer was one of 23 players named to the final World Cup roster. His club teammate Clarence Goodson, however, was not.

The 2010 World Cup veteran’s exclusion from the squad was shocking to say the least. With 46 national team appearances to his name, Goodson had entered the training camp as the most experienced defender and as one of the top center backs in all of MLS.

On the first day of camp, when asked if he thought he’d already earned his spot, Goodson was careful to point out that there was still work to be done.

“I think we’re always making our case, and certainly what we’ve done in the past will come into play. But the next two weeks our very important.”

It was a diplomatic response, but the subtext was clear: Goodson had no doubt that he would make the roster. He wasn’t alone in that sentiment either. Most of the questions he fielded on that blistering afternoon at Stanford Stadium implied that his inclusion was nothing but a formality.

As it turns out, though, what Goodson had done in the past wasn’t quite as important as everybody had expected it would be. At least not to national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Unsurprisingly, Goodson handled the bad news with aplomb.

Don’t tell Goodson this, but the national team’s loss is the Quakes’ gain. Now that he won’t be traveling to Brazil, the 32-year-old is free to resume his role anchoring the Quakes’ back line. His return to Santa Clara is a major boast for head coach Mark Watson’s team, which is struggling to keep up in the Western Conference.

Sure, the Quakes will still be without their top goal scorer and central defender Victor Bernardez for the foreseeable future. But at least they’ll have Goodson.

Nobody at the club will admit as much, but Goodson’s omission is great news for San Jose’s playoff hopes.