SAN JOSE, Calif. - Earthquakes forward and captain Chris Wondolowski has become the perfect poster child for Major League Soccer. A consummate professional both on and off the field, Wondo reaches milestone after milestone as he continues his ascent up the league’s all-time scoring leaderboard.
By scoring two goals against Sporting Kansas City on August 19, Wondolowski tallied his 11th goal of the season. He has now scored at least 10 goals in six consecutive seasons dating back to 2010.
Why is this significant? Because no other MLS player can say they’ve accomplished the same thing. Zero, zilch, zip, nada, none.
Wondolowski stands alone in a league that’s featured over 2,500 players since its inception in 1996.
What would be the equivalent in other American sports? Here are a few suggestions:
MLB – Six or more consecutive seasons with 40 home runs: Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, Babe Ruth.
NFL – Six or more consecutive seasons with 10 rushing touchdowns: LaDanian Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson.
NBA – Six or more consecutive seasons with 2,000 points: Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Oscar Robertson, Dominique Wilkins, Alex English, LeBron James.
Having consistent success and remaining injury free for that long in any sport is a testament to the player’s work ethic and training regimen.
Diving deeper, Wondolowski hasn’t just reached a milestone many have approached, but fell just shy. Only two other players in league history have even tallied double-digit scoring totals in five consecutive seasons – Juan Pablo Angel from 2007-11 and Carlos Ruiz from 2002-06.
Nine additional players have reached 10+ goals in four straight seasons, with only one streak still alive today (Robbie Keane – 2012-15).
Of the 13 total players that have reached streaks spanning at least four seasons, Wondolowski is one of just two that are American-born, joining Roy Lassiter, whose run began in the league’s inaugural season of 1996.
Landon Donovan, MLS’ all-time leading scorer with 144 career goals, never recorded 10+ goals in three straight seasons. The same can be said for Jeff Cunningham, whose 134 goals rank second. This means no team in MLS has ever had a player they could rely on to find the back of the net year-to-year like the Earthquakes have with Wondolowski.
And he doesn’t hit 10 and slow down. Of the previous five seasons, he has scored at least 14 four times, 18 twice and notched 27, tied for the single-season record, during his MLS MVP and Earthquakes Supporters’ Shield run in 2012.
Don’t take your eyes off Wondolowski, because if you blink, you may miss another historic milestone.