Commentary: Wondo-mania on the national radar
He doesn't have the blazing speed of Charlie Davies or the physical prowess of Jozy Altidore. He can't play in the air like Brian Ching, open the field like Landon Donovan or beat a defender with a dazzling 1-v-1 move like Clint Dempsey.
But boy, can Chris Wondolowski finish.
The previously anonymous striker has become a household name amongst MLS circles. The New York Times and Goal.com have Wondo on their radar. Wondolowski even got a shout out on Quakes club partner Tottenham Hotspur's website.
Wondo-mania is officially sweeping the nation/North London. And why not?
The man who started the season deep on the San Jose depth charts has enjoyed the biggest breakout season of any MLSer with 14 goals, eight of which were game winners. He scored a hat trick to lead the Quakes past Toronto FC at BMO Field in the heat of the post-season race. Two weeks later, Wondolowski followed up with a brace against D.C. United to secure San Jose's first trip back to the MLS Cup Playoffs since rejoining the league in 2008.
The Quakes have won five games by a 1-0 margin, all at the foot of their opportunistic striker.
Wondolowski scores goals that matter. Like in the 4th minute against the LA Galaxy at Buck Shaw Stadium, a goal that was enough to send the Quakes past the team likely to end 2010 with a Supporter's Shield. Or the time he beat Kasey Keller in front of 35,953 fans at Qwest Field, one of the toughest venues in MLS to earn a result.
Wondo has also found a way to score from a spot that doesn't see many Golden Boot candidates: right mid. When San Jose signed its first designated player in July, former EPL and La Liga striker Geovanni, Wondolowski moved out wide to accommodate.
No problem. A hat trick, a brace and four game-winners showed why Wondo isn't just the best finisher in MLS, but possibly the most versatile as well.
All told, Wondolowski's goals have provided nearly 50-percent of San Jose's offense - 14 of 30 to be exact. That percentage puts him among the all-time leaders in MLS history.
Another fun Wondo-factoid: All but one of his 21 career MLS goals have been one-touch finishes. The outlier was a two-touch goal to complete his hat trick on September 25.
Wondolowski might not have the flashy moves or the genetic gifts that some of the nation's finest forwards display, but the next time you see a US Men's National Team player muff a golden opportunity, ask yourself one question: What would Wondo do?