The most controversial inclusion in every United States men's national team lineup is Chris Wondolowski. The 33-year old San Jose Earthquakes striker is viewed as someone who doesn't belong at the international level and describe as "Jurgen Klinsmann's Bornstein".
He's scored a respectable ten goals in 34 caps, but it's the crucial blunders that stick out.
At the 2014 World Cup, Wondolowski entered the Round of 16 match against Belgium as a substitute. At the end of regulation, with the score tied, 0-0, he failed to put his close range shot on target. It was a bad miss for a player who was included in the roster specifically for that exact opportunity.
His name and legacy will forever be attached to that moment.
It's cruel, but that's how sports is. If he had finished, then he'd be remembered for an eternity for delivering the USMNT to the quarterfinals.
Despite Wondolowski's inability to score against Belgium, he has continued to be included in the national team setup and was a part of the 23-man Copa America Centenario roster. His call up seemingly came at the expense of Jordan Morris, the young hyped talent who is currently plying his trade for the Seattle Sounders in MLS. There were some critics of the choice, but the argument could be made that one player was more in form than the other.
Wondolowski had a quiet run up to the Copa and a quieter group stage, only appearing in the 4-0 win over Costa Rica.
But, like in the 2014 World Cup, his moment arrived. Bobby Wood was given a yellow card in the U.S.' quarterfinal match against Ecuador, meaning he was ineligible for the semifinal against Argentina. Klinsmann, needing a striker, opted to start Wondolowski.
The response was not positive. You probably saw most of it. Nate Scott of For the Win captured the general sentiment with his post that referred to the decision to start Wondolowski as "shocking".
The match played out as most predicted and feared. Argentina romped over the U.S., 4-0. Wondolowski had a costly blunder.
He giveaway and subsequent foul led to the Leo Messi wonder goal that put Argentina up 2-0 and all but killed the U.S.' chances of advancing to the final. He was subbed out at halftime for 17-year old Christian Pulisic. As pointed out by Jeremiah Oshan for Sounder at Heart, Wondolowski had more fouls (three) than completed passes (two).
In the third place match against Colombia, Klinsmann opted to use two out of his three allotted substitutions. Despite needing a goal, he declined to enter Wondolowski into the match. If a player's sole reason for being on the roster is scoring goals and the manager refuses to use him when a goal is needed, then it seems like he's outlived his use.
To put it bluntly, the Copa America should be Wondolowski's last time with the national team. A strong performance would have been some redemption for the World Cup. Unfortunately, he showed that he does not belong on the field.
In his absence, there will be players who can step up and fill the role of a reserve attacker. Morris, Pulisic, and Ethan Finlay can add new dimensions to the U.S.' attack. The potential future additions of Kekuta Manneh and Dom Dwyer to the player pool further render Wondolowski as an unnecessary call up.
It's possible that Klinsmann sticks with the snake bitten striker. He's a coach who defies conventional logic and has a plan that is rarely defined publicly. Wondolowski may continue to play with the national team and feature at the 2018 World Cup. If he's there, then he'll have yet another opportunity to succeed on the big stage.