San Jose Earthquakes v AIK - Portland Timbers Tournament

As we witnessing a Chris Wondolowski breakout?


While injuries and suspensions played their part in San Jose’s soft launch of a Supporters Shield defense, Chris Wondolowski’s own struggles have undoubtedly contributed.

When we say “struggles,” that’s relative, of course. One man’s struggles are another man’s golden goose of a season, after all.

But if we’re honest, he wasn’t producing numbers that looked shiny and Wondo-like. After eight games, the league’s reigning Golden Boot holder had three goals and no assists. The Earthquakes were plodding along similarly, just treading water.

Last three matches have seen something quite different.

Wondolowski had a goal two weeks ago on a composed finish in a 2-2 draw at Chivas USA.   A week later “Wonder Wondo” had two assists as the ‘Quakes rallied from two down in a 2-2 draw against Montreal.

Then, last night, Wondolowski’s role was enormous in a 2-1 win over Toronto FC in Northern California. The first highlight in the package (at bottom) shows everything you need to see about the California native. Watch the sublime touch that not only rescues a potentially wayward ball along San Jose’s left touchline, but Wondolowski’s perfect touch puts the ball in an ideal spot for a subsequent, useful switching pass.

Then, a few seconds later, he pops up on the back post to arrange the game’s first big chance.

Later, another wonderful touch arranges a goal for fellow striker Adam Jahn. And that’s before Wondoloskwi supplies the game winner in San Jose’s first victory since March 23.

Yes, March 23.

Wondolowski, with five goals and three assists, is right back where he’s been so often over the last few years, up among the league’s scoring leaders. He has five goals and three assists, further validating that big salary increase for 2013 by leading the Quakes in scoring and sharing top spot in assists.

From last night’s match at Buck Shaw Stadium:


VIDEO: Marco Verratti plays a brilliant pass to Eder for Italy goal

PALERMO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06:  Marco Verratti of Italy in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Italy and Bulgaria on September 6, 2015 in Palermo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
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Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.

The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.

The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.

Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.


Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.

Agent: Liverpool contacted Klopp only after Rodgers firing

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09:  Jurgen Klopp arrives to be unveiled as the new manager of Liverpool FC at a press conference at Anfield on October 9, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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As soon as Brendan Rodgers was dismissed by Liverpool on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp’s name was tossed around as the likely successor to the then-vacant Liverpool managerial position.

However, according to Klopp’s representatve Marc Kosicke, Liverpool did not make contact with the German until after Rodgers had been officially let go.

“The first call from Liverpool came after the dismissal as coach of Rodgers,” Kosicke told Bild. “Before Liverpool there were naturally quite a few inquiries. But Jurgen always asked me not to take it any further.”

Club management was less committal than Klopp’s rep, but did say they had their eye on the German for some time. “We have learned to keep certain matters confidential. We had a meeting recently with Jurgen that he has talked about and I don’t want to talk too much about these conversations. But we have thought about him for a long time and everyone who knows football knows he is an outstanding manager.”

It’s relatively hard to believe Liverpool would have canned Rodgers without knowing for sure that a top-level target such as Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti were on board to replace him. It also would mean discussions of the contract terms and logistics would have moved at lightning speed, with just four days between the Rodgers dismissal and Klopp’s official unveiling.