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: