Josh Wolff: A Return to the US National Team Should Be in the Cards
Only one current US National Team pool forward has proven he can contribute at the highest level in the World Cup. That forward is Josh Wolff often maligned but never forgotten. An attacker of rare speed and technical skill in the American setup Wolff’s reunification with Curt Onalfo a longtime national team assistant in Kansas City has sparked a revival a compelling revival.
At a time where the United States National Team enters a gauntlet of summer matches with question marks stemming from the teams bad performance off of US soil (The US has scored more than one goal in match outside the US just twice in its last 19 games outside the country)a proven goal scorer and creative offensive force like Wolff is more needed by Bob Bradley than many may think.
So many of Josh Wolff’s previous problems with consistency stemmed from injuries. Wolff had a hand in both US goals in the historic 2-0 win at Crew Stadium over Mexico in early 2001, but suffered a serious injury a month and a half later playing for the Chicago Fire in MLS.
Wolff returned to health just in time for the 2002 World Cup and made a fantastic run to set up Brian McBride’s initial goal in the 2nd Round win versus Mexico. But after Wolff’s move to Kansas City in 2003 injuries struck again and he has battled consistency since. Wolff’s move to Germany to play for the smaller club that calls the Allianz Arena home didn’t work out.
But Wolff’s return to Kasnas City has been magic. Here is why a healthy Josh Wolff needs to be part of the US setup for his longtime club coach Bob Bradley:
- Veteran savvy: Wolff has been to two World Cups and will be a positive, upbeat influence in camp and in the locker room.
- Good technical skill: Wolff is one of the few American forwards whose first touch isn’t like a rock and also can hold the ball up setting up his team mates. As we saw in 2002 he played well off a target forward, Brian McBride. He can provide the same sort off quality playing off Brian Ching or Jozy Altidore.
- Finishing Touch: Of Wolff’s nine international goals, most were against quality opponents unlike many in the US pool who have built gaudy stats against CONCACAF minnows. With Wolff again finishing well for the Wizards, his form is likely to carry over to the national team most semlessly than with less experienced players who are in the US player pool.
- Understanding of Bob Bradley: Wolff played five season for Bob Bradley in Chicago and played his best football at the time.