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Gold Cup soccer: Wondolowski continues to impress with U.S.

Published July 13, 2013 5:47 pm

Soccer • Striker adds two goals in U.S.'s win over Cuba.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Sandy • Coming off a first-half hat trick in his last match, U.S. forward Chris Wondolowski expected to see his name in the starting lineup Saturday afternoon against Cuba.

But head coach Jurgen Klinsmann had another plan for his player.

"I told him you've got to keep those goals for the second half," the coach said.

Wondolowski obliged, continuing his torrid goal-scoring pace with two more in the final 45 minutes of Saturday's match to give the U.S. a 4-1 win over Cuba.

"I wanted to be ready and add as a spark when I came off there," Wondolowski said.

The striker praised his U.S. teammates ­— including Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman, who assisted Wondolowski for a second time in two games — for the streak.

"The guys are playing so well right now and creating a lot of opportunities," Wondolowski said after being named man of the match Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium. "I'm just fortunate to find myself on the end of some."

But Klinsmann said Wondolowski's work in practice has finally paid off internationally.

"It's just a joy to see him every day in training, and now he's getting his goals that he was waiting for such a long time for," Klinsmann said. "Now they're coming."

Wondolowski, Major League Soccer's Golden Boot winner a year ago, scored in a warmup against Guatemala before exploding for three against Belize and then finding two more Saturday against Cuba. His six for the U.S. is one more than the five he's tallied in 17 games for his club this season.

His international goals have come against lesser opponents. Next week against Costa Rica will surely provide a greater test for Wondolowski, but the striker is looking to continue his hot streak.

"Striker is a funny position," Wondolowski said. "Sometimes goals don't come, anything you hit goes off the post, keepers make saves. Sometimes you get a toe on it and it goes in. I want to try to go and keep it going."

afalk@sltrib.com

Twitter: @aaronfalk