As Chris Wondolowski chases the MLS single-season goal-scoring record, here’s something to keep in mind:
All due respect to current record holder Roy Lassiter, but this is a much different MLS than the one Lassiter set ablaze back in 1996.
That was MLS on spindly roots, a league barely crawling, much less walking, jogging or galloping at full pace.
There were some bad teams back then. And some pretty average defenders. And even a few who were aspiring toward average.
So Lassiter exploited the talent gap better than anyone, hitting 27 goals for Tampa Bay in that inaugural MLS season. And we should mention how very much Lassiter did benefit from the splendid midfield offerings of Carlos Valderrama, the Colombian creators who won the league’s initial MVP honor with a league-leading 17 assists.
Today’s MLS is so much better. The individuals manning today’s MLS back lines are better and the collective defending is more highly organized, with more teams that have their you-know-what together.
So we should consider all that while watching Wondolowski hunt for No. 27 tomorrow against Portland. Either way, the Earthquakes striker already has matched the second-best goal scoring total.
Personally, considering the discrepancy in talent and back-line organization between the two periods, and considering what Wondolowski has done over three years in MLS (A total of 60 goals in three seasons!), I’m pulling for him.
San Jose meets the Timbers at 6:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. The match is the last of an NBC tripleheader; this one is on NBC Sports Network.
The Earthquakes made a video to help gin up interest on all this. It’s worth a look.