Now that we’ve told you Chris Wondolowski has sewn up Major League Soccer’s Most Valuable Player trophy … (You saw where we did that, right?)
And now that San Jose has pulled safely away from the peloton in its chase for the league’s top record and the Supporters Shield that goes with it. (Sporting Kansas City dropped two points Sunday in the draw with Columbus, and that pretty much seals the deal for San Jose.) …
What else is left?
Plenty, as it turns out, thanks to Wondolowski and his pursuit of a 17-year-old mark.
Let’s talk about his chances of catching Roy Lassiter for one of the league’s enduring statistical mountain tops. (“Enduring,” obviously, is a relative term for a league that’s been around just 17 years. Still, 17 years is getting to be a fairly significant amount of time, right?)
So, his chances of matching the record of 27 goals in a season, in just two words: not awful.
Following this weeks’ international break, the Earthquakes host Los Angeles. Games between these teams have produced a bunch of goals this year, 12 of them in just two meetings. The last time they met in the Bay area, San Jose prevailed in a whacky and dramatic 4-3 result. Great stuff.
(Games last year weren’t so “Wild West shootout-like,” with two matches producing two goals. But never mind that; don’t let me be a big ol’ buzzkill here.)
San Jose finishes the season at Portland. We know about the wonderful fans there, and we know Portland can be an intimidating place to play. The fact that Portland is mostly down and out in general will not mean a thing in terms of brilliant crowd support. The Timbers Army will be loud and proud as ever, believe it.
But the small field tends to create the type of matches with lots of goal-mouth interaction – the kind of contest where a penalty area opportunist like “Wonder Wondo” can find his opportunities.
The x-factor is whether Quakes coach Frank Yallop decides to rest his streaking striker for one of the two contests. But San Jose’s place atop the West helps here, too. The Earthquakes will rest while their first playoff opponent gets a mid-week match. So, Yallop is more likely to keep his starters in a once-a-week rhythm rather than resting them.
Going back to the final regular season opponent, Portland: Wondolowski also tends to bundle up the goals in bunches against the weaker teams, like last week’s threesome against Colorado, a team sitting just two points off the bottom in the West.
Speaking of that hat trick … if you haven’t seen it, take a look here: