February 1, 2014
BRACE AND A BLANKING
Wondolowski, Rimando lead 2-0 U.S. win
CARSON, Calif. - Led by two goals from forward Chris Wondolowski, the U.S. Men's National Team opened 2014 with a 2-0 victory against the Korea Republic in front of a sell-out crowd of 27,000 at StubHub Center.
|Chris Wondolowski scored both goals for the U.S.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Wondolowski tallied once in each half in support of USA goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who made five saves and improved to 10-0-0 in his international career. Rimando is now tied for fifth on the all-time goalkeeper victories list with Brad Guzan, and also collected the fourth shutout of his career. Wondolowski now has eight goals in his career after scoring six in 2013 - five during the USA's run to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup title.
The U.S. improved to 2-3-2 all-time against the Korea Republic, with the other victory coming in the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The USA took the lead in the In the fourth minute, Landon Donovan, wearing the captain's armband for the first time since 2011, found Graham Zusi on the right. Zusi crossed in to Brad Davis, whose left-footed shot was deflected by goalkeeper Sung-Ryong Jung, but Wondolwoski pounced on the rebound to take a 1-0 lead.
The visitors nearly found an equalizer in the eighth minute when Jong-Woo Park's corner kick was deflected in at the near right side and Rimando made a clutch stop at the edge of the goal line.
One of Korea Republic's near chances in the 35th minute included Min-Woo Kim's attack from the left as he got past outside back Brad Evans and crossed the ball into the box. U.S. defender Matt Besler made one of the key defensive interceptions of the first half as Shin-Wook Kim would have had a clear shot on goal.
The U.S. was inches away from going into the break with a two-goal lead. In the 43rd minute, center back Omar Gonzalez played a perfect long ball to Wondolowski on the right side. He dished across the six-yard box in search of Donovan, but Donovan's lunging effort was just short of connecting with the ball.
Korea Republic forced Rimando into a pair of saves in the first 15 minutes of the second half. Min-Woo Kim's free kick in the 53rd minute got past the USA's three-man wall, and Rimando bobbled the save at the near right post, but had ample time to collect without allowing a rebound. Then in the 58th minute, Shin-Wook Kim found a seam in the USA defense to head the ball directly to Rimando.
The USA gained a two-goal cushion in the 60th minute. Immediately off of Brad Evans' throw-in on the right side, Zusi crossed in toward Donovan making a run to the near right post. The ball took a deflection back to Wondolowski who was once again in the right place at the right time, slotting the ball home for his second goal.
Next up for the U.S. MNT will be an international friendly against Ukraine on March 5 at Stadium Metallist in Kharkiv, Ukraine.