The San Jose Earthquakes confirmed on Friday that star striker Chris Wondolowski would not play on Saturday against D.C. United due to injury. Wondolowski suffered a foot contusion during training on Wednesday and, according to CSN Bay Area, is hopeful to be available for the Quakes match against the LA Galaxy next weekend at Stanford Stadium.
The injury occurred during the scrimmage portion of Wednesday's training session when Wondolowski was caught on the right foot by a teammate immediately following a shot attempt. Wondo was helped from the field and left the training facility with an ice bag on his foot. An MRI evaluation revealed that there were no broken bones, but Wondolowski was held back from traveling with the team to the nation's capital for Saturday's match.
The CSN report went on to state that the Quakes will attempt to fit Wondolowski with a special boot if necessary with hopes that it will allow him to return to the team as soon as next Saturday's match against the Galaxy.
Wondolowski has not missed an Earthquakes game due to injury since undergoing knee surgery at the tail end of the 2009 season. Acquired from the Houston Dynamo on June 9th of that year, Wondo made 14 appearances with 8 starts upon arriving in San Jose. His last match of 2009 was on October 10th at Toronto FC in which he picked up an assist in a 1-1 result. The surgical procedure was performed 5 days later, and the forward missed the last two games of the 2009 season.
Fully recovered in time for the 2010 campaign, Wondolowski appeared in the match-day 18 for each of the Earthquakes first two games, but he did not make an appearance. Wondo was inserted in the Starting XI in Week 3 against the New England Revolution and scored the game winning goal in a 2-0 victory at Buck Shaw Stadium. The auspicious performance against the Revs served as a harbinger of what was to come, as Wondolowski finished the 2010 season as the MLS Golden Boot winner and third place finisher in the MLS MVP vote.
Wondolowski followed up his breakout 2010 season with a stellar 2011 campaign and a record setting 2012 year that culminated with him winning the MLS MVP award. The forward has had a slow start to the 2013 season, as he has collected only 5 goals in 16 games despite leading MLS in shot attempts with 57. In three previous seasons, Wondolowski's scoring conversion rate was an impressive 20.1% (61 goals in 304 shot attempts) but has dropped to 8.8% (5 in 57) in 2013. Along with teammate Jon Busch, Wondolowski has played every minute of every MLS regular season game so far this season.
The struggling Earthquakes had earned their first road victory of the season last weekend at Colorado and were hoping to add to their results at D.C. United, which languishes at the bottom of the MLS standings with only 1 win and 6 points as the season nears the midpoint. In his last three appearances against DCU, Wondolowski has scored 4 goals, so his productivity will be sorely missed. Sidelined for Saturday, Wondo could make way for the return of midfielder Marvin Chavez to the Quakes starting lineup, as lately he had been filling in for the Honduran on the wing.
In addition to missing Wondolowski, the Quakes are also likely to be without striker Steven Lenhart for Saturday's match as he manages a troublesome inflamed knee. New head coach Mark Watson may turn to surprising rookie Adam Jahn to replace Lenhart, or possibly move Walter Martinez to the second forward position partnered with Alan Gordon and bring in another wing midfielder. In any case, given that Lenhart has tallied 5 goals in his last 2 appearances against D.C. United and broke through this season with his first goal in last Saturday's 2-1 win at the Rapids, the Quakes will miss his offensive contributions.
Watson may also need to make an adjustment along his defensive back four as well as Steven Beitashour is listed as questionable following a rough tackle he suffered last weekend in Colorado, and could be spelled by Dan Gargan. Centerback Victor Bernardez, who picked up a groin injury while away on international duty with Honduras, is not expected to play.
The Earthquakes, with a 4-6-6 record through 14 games this season, have dealt with injury problems all year, so coach Watson will be very familiar with what needs to be done to adjust his tactics to an ever-changing Starting XI. And against the worst team in the league, injuries or not, the Quakes are expected to get a result.