San Jose Earthquakes striker Chris Wondolowski drew level with Landon Donovan on the all-time Major League Soccer career scoring chart with his 21st minute opener against the Chicago Fire on Saturday, and then exploded past the record with a four-goal haul on the day.
The first goal was the 145th of his MLS career, tying Donovan’s mark set in 2016 at the end of his return to the Los Angeles Galaxy. He then blew past the milestone after the halftime break, scoring a second-half hat-trick to complete the rousing victory.
Wondolowski, now 36 years old – just one behind Donovan – has over 300 career appearances for the Earthquakes, joining in 2005 and playing 11 seasons for the club, just interrupted by a three-year stint with the Houston Dynamo over a decade ago. All but four of his career MLS goals have come for the lone franchise.
The performance marks the first time Wondolowski has scored four goals in a game in his career, and represents his fourth career MLS hat-trick.
Owning 35 caps and 11 goals for the United States national team, Wondo has been known throughout his career as a quintessential target man, and his playing style is often a hot-button topic for USMNT fans who enjoy debating the merits of his goalscoring talents against his streaky return and other contributions. Saturday’s record-tying goal was a perfect encapsulation of his abilities, contributing just a tap-in at the far post but always in the right position to do so.
Wondolowski’s miss late in the game against Belgium in the 2014 World Cup knockout stage is forever part of his legacy, but his career longevity, goalscoring tally, and contributions to the domestic game should not be left out of the conversation, now on 148 MLS goals.
The goals against Chicago on Saturday are the first of the season for Wondolowski, who had lost his place in the starting lineup for the goal drought. Wondo started the first four games of the seasons – all losses for San Jose – and since he dropped from the starting lineup, the team has lost just twice in eight games, winning four.