San Jose Earthquakes forward and captain Chris Wondolowski gets a lot of notoriety for his ability to score – and for good reason. Only Landon Donovan has scored more career goals in MLS, and Wondo is hot on his heels.
But where Wondolowski doesn’t always get credit, especially this season, is his ability to create for others. He is one of just six players in all of Major League Soccer to tally 13+ goals and 8+ assists this season, alongside MVP candidates David Villa and Diego Valeri, David Accam, Romain Alessandrini and Hector Villalba.
Wondo’s eight assists in 2017 set a new career-high, eclipsing his high-water mark of seven back in the wonder year of 2012. And while his game-tying assist in Vancouver is as important as any, none of his passes were as clutch as Sunday’s game-winner to Marco Ureña.
“Legitimately one of the hardest things to do in my life,” Wondolowski joked with media following the 3-2 victory, alluding to his striker instincts. “I remember grabbing Marco. I remember falling with him and I was so happy for him. I was thanking him, he was thanking me. I legitimately had tears coming down my eyes because there was so much emotion.”
Quakes Defender of the Year Award winner Florian Jungwirth also spoke about Wondo’s unselfishness to pass in that situation:
"I think you have to say something about Wondo. In that situation, to pass the ball again, I've never seen that in my life. That was amazing. He was so calm, passed to Marco. Usually a guy tries to hit, which is also okay, but with his whole experience, he passed to Marco who scored a goal and the rest is history."
With a host of goal-scoring threats on the club, including Ureña, Vako, Danny Hoesen, Jahmir Hyka and more, Wondolowski has clearly thrived in a more creation-minded role. But let’s not quickly forget, he was still the team’s leading scorer in 2017.