San Jose Earthquakes striker and Major League Soccer MVP frontrunner Chris Wondolowski has taken his predatory finishing to new heights during the 2012 season campaign.
Wondolowski has 25 goals on the year thus far, two shy of the single-season record set by Roy Lassiter in 1996 of the now defunct Tampa Bay Mutiny. Wondolowski’s scoring streak has helped the Earthquakes reach the summit of the Western Conference with 64 points and have placed them in the lead for the Supporters’ Shield with only two games remaining.
With a hat trick against the Colorado Rapids on Oct. 6, Wondolowski has reached 62 career goals in an Earthquakes uniform, eclipsing Ronald Cerritos' record of 61, and placing him atop the club’s goal scoring chart. In true “Goonies-Never-Say-Die” fashion, Wondolowski and his teammates have a penchant for late game-winners. We present to you Wondolowski’s Top 5 goals along with two honorable mentions.
5). Aug. 27, 2009 90th Minute goal vs. Kansas City Wizards: In his second official game upon returning to the Earthquakes and donning No. 17, Wondolowski scored a pacing header to the back post against the Kansas City Wizards in the 90th minute. The goal came from a Ramiro Corrales cross, a precursor to many late-game winners.
4). May 1, 2010 Volley off Crossbar vs. Colorado Rapids: On a cool afternoon in Buck Shaw Stadium, Wondolowski was hard at work once again. Pitted against conference rival Colorado, the Earthquakes were looking to secure a home victory. Defender Ramiro Corrales sent a long ball to a storming Wondolowski. In one motion, Wondolowski hit a left-footed strike from the top of the 18-yard box, smacking the crossbar and bouncing in. It would be one of Wondolowski’s 18 league goals en route to his first Golden Boot award.
3). Oct. 20, 2010 Hat Trick vs. Chivas USA: With the hunt for the 2010 playoffs looming, Wondolowski converted a hat trick against Chivas USA. Wondolowski scored his 15th, 16th, and 17th goals of the season, tying him with Galaxy forward Edson Buddle for the Budweiser Golden Goot. Wondolowski would later tack on another goal in the 4-1 loss against Sporting Kansas City to give him 18 on the 2010 season to cement his Golden Boot award.
2). Oct. 8, 2011 Finish off of a David Bingham Bomb vs. New England Revolution: A year after earning his first Golden Boot Award, Chris Wondolowski and the Earthquakes entered an away match against the New England Revolution with a 7-10-14 record. Starting goalkeeper and Generation adidas player, David Bingham, sent a 75 yard clearance towards a sprinting Wondolowski. The striker evaded his defender, deftly brought the ball down with his right foot, and slid it underneath goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. Wondolowski would go on to score a second goal in the 82nd minute to give the Earthquakes a brace and a 2-1 victory over the Revolution.
1). June 30, 2012 Back-Heel vs. LA Galaxy: In front of 50,391 fans packed into Stanford Stadium, the Earthquakes faced an uphill battle against the LA Galaxy in yet another episode of the California Clasico. With the scored tied at 3-3 in the 61st minute, Marvin Chavez whipped in a corner kick. Ramiro Corrales made a darting near post run to flick the ball in front of Wondolowski, who connected with the bouncing ball with his right back heel for the game winner. Elated, he and his teammates ran to nearby military servicemen and servicewomen to give them a proper salute.
November 4, 2010 Header vs. New York Red Bulls in 2010 Playoffs: Emblematic of the 2010 Earthquakes’ fight, Chris Wondolowski headed home a late goal to lead the Quakes to an improbable second-leg 3-1 away victory. Bobby Convey whipped in a left-footed cross to the far post to a well-positioned Wondolowski. Wondolowski headed the ball into the upper right corner of the net to secure the Earthquakes’ advancement to the Conference Championship.
July 25, 2012, 2012 All-Star Game finish vs. Chelsea: In front 19,236 fans at the Philadelphia Union’s PPL Park, Chris Wondolowski and the MLS All-Stars faced 2012 Champions League winners Chelsea F.C. Wondolowski, leading the league in goals at the midway point in the season, matched up against veteran Chelsea F.C. and England national team center-back John Terry. In the 20th minute, Thierry Henry broke through the Chelsea defense and hit a left-footed cross to a charging Wondolowski. Wondolowski found in himself in front of Terry and slotted the goal home to give the MLS All-Stars a 1-0 lead. The MLS All-Stars would go on to win the exhibition 3-2.