Chris Wondolowski (#9) scored two goals in the United States' 2-0 victory over Korea Republic in an international friendly on February 1, 2014, in Carson, California. (Photo: John Todd/isiphotos.com)
CARSON, California -- Chris Wondolowski struck for a brace and the United States opened its 2014 schedule on Saturday with a 2-0 win over Korea Republic in an international friendly before a capacity crowd of 27,000 at StubHub Center.
The San Jose Earthquakes forward netted a goal in each half, taking his career total to eight. He was joint-top scorer in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup with teammate Landon Donovan and Panama’s Gabriel Torres on five goals each.
U.S. goalkeeper Nick Rimando made five saves to improve his international record to a remarkable 10-0-0.
From the opening whistle, the Americans went on the attack against a Korean side that defeated Costa Rica (1-0, January 25 in Los Angeles) and lost to Mexico (4-0, January 29 in San Antonio, Texas) in the first two outings of a three-game road trip against the CONCACAF powers.
In the fourth minute, Landon Donovan did well to locate Graham Zusi on the right wing. Zusi crossed to Brad Davis, whose lunging left-footed volley was blocked by goalkeeper Sung-Ryong Jung, but Wondolowski pounced to head in the rebound from four-yards out.
The visitors nearly leveled four minutes later, when Jong-Woo Park’s right-sided corner kick was flicked by Ju-Young Kim towards the near post. Rimando shifted quickly left to make the save and managed to prevent the ball from crossing the goal line.
A superb individual effort Keun-Ho Lee should have resulted in an 18th minute equalizer, but after an enterprising 45-yard run, the 28-year-old scooped an attempt over the crossbar from close range.
Korea Republic emerged from the break in a determined mood, forcing a pair of saves from Rimando in the first 15 minutes. The Real Salt Lake goalkeeper bobbled, but quickly collected, Min-Woo Kim’s 53rd minute free kick. Then, in the 58th minute, Shin-Wook Kim bundled through the U.S. defense to bounce a header directly to Rimando.
The U.S. made it 2-0 in the 60th minute as Wondolowski inscribed his name on the scoresheet again. Zusi received a Brad Evans throw-in on the right side and crossed towards Donovan, who was making a run to the near right post. The ball deflected off the outside of Donovan’s right foot and fell to Wondolowski, allowing the 31-year-old to lash home from eight-yards.
Next up for the U.S. will be another friendly away to Ukraine on March 5 at Kharkiv’s Metalist Stadium.
NOTES: The U.S. is now unbeaten in four of its seven all-time matches against Korea Republic (2-2-3), with the other victory coming in the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup ... Defender DeAndre Yedlin and midfielder Luis Gil -- members of the USA’s 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup team -- made their senior squad debuts.