“I bet he’s thinking, ‘Just show me one chance. One chance.’ ”
Those were the words of ESPN’s Ian Darke in the 92nd minute, less than 15 seconds before Chris Wondolowski got his chance and sent his point-blank shot over the bar and off target.
In real-time it was the kind of chance that will haunt the striker forever. The kind of chance that he’ll never forget. After watching the replay a dozen times or more, it’s difficult to say just how easy it actually was.
The angle was tight. The 6-foot 6-inch Thibaut Courtois was rushing toward him.
“I bet he’s thinking ‘Just show me one chance. One chance.’ ” -Ian Darke ESPN https://t.co/ruKoKo3gDo
— Karl Buscheck (@KarlBuscheck) July 2, 2014
But that ‘s what strikers do; they finish chances. Wondolowski didn’t do that. The reaction of head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the former goal-scoring assassin, tells the story.
In the wake of the missed chance and the US getting dumped out of the World Cup, Wondolowski responded with absolute class.
I’m gutted to have let down everyone but especially my teammates. It’s been an incredible ride but I know this will make me stronger.
— Chris Wondolowski (@ChrisWondo) July 2, 2014
The question is how that moment in Salvador, Brazil will affect Wondolowski moving forward. In an interview with Ted Ramey on KNBR 1050 back in April, Wondolowski admitted that he thinks more about the shots that miss than the ones that find the back of the net.
“I can always do better. I think I’ve left a few goals out there. I think about those more than the goals I score.”
There won’t be any time for that kind of thinking when he returns to Buck Shaw Stadium; now, he’ll have to forget. The San Jose Earthquakes are languishing in eighth place in the Western Conference standings, in desperate need of goals.
That’s exactly what Wondolowski can provide.