When Chris Wondolowski torched the LA Galaxy defense for the first goal in last Friday's California Clasico, it turned a lot oh heads around MLS. Sure, Wondo knows how to score goals, but this was much more than a poacher's goal. The San Jose Earthquakes' designated player showed his growing skill on the ball in hitting the back of the net from such an acute angle.
Such was the impressiveness of the play that Greg Lalas, managing editor of MLSSoccer.com, made it the focus of this week's Anatomy of a Goal video. Wondolowski's wonder strike is also nominated for MLS Goal of the Week.
Wondo has been gaining a bit of a reputation as a provider of late -- he has an assist in each of the last three games for the Quakes -- but goal scoring is his bread and butter. His strike against the LA Galaxy increased his MLS career total to 87, 83 with San Jose, to go along with 20 assists. The 31-year-old has amassed those numbers in 189 career appearances, both at the Quakes and at the Houston Dynamo, during a career that started in 2005.
Wondolowski's stats are certainly impressive, but given that he was not a regular starter until 2010, the year he burst onto the national consciousness and captured the first of his two MLS Golden Boot honors, they could have been so much more if he had earned more playing time earlier in his career. He could still reach the upper pantheon of MLS strikers, as measured by this peculiar criteria, if he continues his current production over the next few seasons.
For the Earthquakes, all that matters right now is that Wondolowski do whatever it takes to help the team gain points in the standings. Pretty or ugly, it won't matter how the goals go in as long as they go in. The task for Wondo and his teammates to make the MLS Cup playoffs is a daunting one, but having the striker in form will certainly aid the cause.