San Jose manager Frank Yallop believes Chris Wondolowski should be in the discussion for league MVP, and many others will likely join the bandwagon after the player’s hat trick performance against Toronto FC on Saturday.
Wondolowski’s three goals, the first by an Earthquakes player since 2003, earned him Player of the Week honors for Week 26 as voted on by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR).
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“I said it last week: If you had to chisel an Earthquakes player out of rock, it’d be Wondolowski,” Yallop said. “He’s proven his quality. To score 12 goals in this league, it’s very, very difficult. He’s done a good job of that.”
The 27-year-old’s dozen tallies place him third in the Golden Boot race behind Edson Buddle and Juan Pablo Angel. They are the most goals by an Earthquakes player since Brian Ching in 2004 and easily top Wondolowski's personal best of five goals in 2009.
“To be honest, I’m not even sure if I’m the MVP of the team,” Wondolowski told MLSsoccer.com. “Bobby Convey, [Jon] Busch have been having great seasons. There’s too many great players, even on this team, for me to be considered. Don’t get me wrong, I’m completely honored by that [talk] and flattered, but I’m definitely not [MVP].”
Most importantly, Wondolowski’s goals in the third, 53rd and 67th minutes gave his team an invaluable three points on the road at BMO Field on Saturday to knock off one of the Earthquakes’ direct competitors for a postseason spot. San Jose now have a six-point cushion and stand comfortably in the middle of the playoff pack.
The local Chico State product, who is now playing at right wing after featuring at forward for most of the season, scored on a penalty kick, a cool finish inside the six-yard box and a right-footed drive from just inside the TFC penalty area. Wondolowski’s final strike proved to be his league-leading seventh game-winning goal of the campaign.
Wondolowski started his career in San Jose back in 2005 and was reacquired by the Earthquakes from the Houston Dynamo in a June 9, 2009, deal for Cam Weaver, who has two goals for Houston this season.
He becomes the first Earthquakes player to win a Player of the Week award since Ronnie O’Brien in 2008.
2010 MLS Player of the Week Winners
Week 1: Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake)
Week 2: Kenny Mansally (New England Revolution)
Week 3: Sebastien Le Toux (Philadelphia Union)
Week 4: Edson Buddle (LA Galaxy)
Week 5: Dwayne De Rosario (Toronto FC )
Week 6: Edson Buddle (LA Galaxy)
Week 7: Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)
Week 8: Alvaro Saborio (Real Salt Lake)
Week 9: Emilio Renteria (Columbus Crew)
Week 10: Dwayne De Rosario (Toronto FC)
Week 11: Brek Shea (FC Dallas)
Week 12: Chris Pontius (D.C. United)
Week 13: Juan Pablo Angel (New York Red Bulls)
Week 14: Álvaro Saborío (Real Salt Lake)
Week 15: Justin Braun (Chivas USA)
Week 16: Sebastien Le Toux (Philadelphia Union)
Week 17: Steve Zakuani (Seattle Sounders)
Week 18: Juan Pablo Ángel (New York Red Bulls)
Week 19: Jeff Cunningham (FC Dallas)
Week 20: Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake)
Week 21: Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo)
Week 22: Fredy Montero (Seattle Sounders)
Week 23: Omar Cummings (Colorado Rapids)
Week 24: Alan Gordon (Chivas USA)
Week 25: Blaise Nkufo (Seattle Sounders)
Week 26: Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)