The United States’ leading forward in the 1990s. In 1996, Wynalda passed Bruce Murray as the U.S. national team’s top all-time goalscorer, and he finished his national-team career in 2000 with 34 goals in 106 games.
Wynalda, who played a total of eight games for the United States in the 1990, 1994 and 1998 World Cups, made his debut in the U.S. national team against Colombia in February 1990. At the time, he was still a student at San Diego State University, but his rapid rise in national-team plans caused him to turn professional, signing a national-team contract, within a few months. He subsequently played for the San Francisco Bay Blackhawks in the APSL, Saarbrucken and Bochum in the German first division, and the San Jose Clash, Miami Fusion, New England Revolution and Chicago Fire in Major League Soccer. He was briefly a sensation in Germany when he broke in with Saarbrucken at the start of the 1992-93 season, leading the first division in scoring for a while.
Perhaps Wynalda’s most famous national-team goal was the perfectly placed free kick that earned the United States a 1-1 tie with Switzerland in its opening game of the 1994 World Cup.
Wynalda also was know for temperamental incidents. He was sent off for a retaliatory foul in a 1990 World Cup game against Czechoslovakia. He was dropped by San Francisco Bay and briefly by the U.S. national team after disciplinary troubles in 1992. He battled on and off with national team coach Steve Sampson in 1997 and 1998.
Besides his three World Cups, Wynalda played for the United States in a number of other major events, including the landmark victory in the 1991 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the unexpected run to the semifinals of the 1995 Copa America. At that Copa America, he scored three goals in five games and was named to the all-tournament team. Although he was a star attraction in MLS, he was not the big goalscorer there that he was with the national team, and was frequently hampered by injuries. However, he did score the first MLS goal, the only goal of the opening MLS game in 1996.
Inducted in 2004.