Notes on Wondo

By: Ben | September 26th, 2012
   

wondo

Four matches remain in the 2012 regular season for San Jose It’s already been a heck of a season for the Quakes, whose 18-6-6 records gives them 60 points and the first guaranteed spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs, not to mention a certain dominance over the league as a whole. The last four games of this year, to be played against Dallas, Colorado, LA, and Portland, won’t change that. But they do have the potential to allow Chris Wondolowski to cement his place in league history by breaking the record for most goals scored in a season, a bar set at 27 by Roy Lassiter all the way back in 1996.

Of course, that’s only potential. Wondo has notched 22 thus far, the most any player’s done since 2002, but he’ll need two goals per game to get past Lassiter’s mark. That’s a tall order in any one game against any opposition, but to think that he’ll need to do it four times in a row, and against the four teams he does, makes the challenge at hand a bit more imposing.

So, can he do it? Your guess is as good as mine, and we have to consider that a lot of this has to do with luck. But you really have to hand it to Wondo either way. Drafted in the cloudy bottom rungs of the 2005 Supplemental Draft, he fought for playing time in both San Jose and Houston, despite leading both clubs’ reserve sides in scoring in 2006 and 2006. Everything changed in 2010, Wondo’s breakout season, where he led the league in scoring with 18 goals, guiding San Jose past the then-dominant Red Bulls in the Quakes’ first playoff in recent memory. It seemed he came out of nowhere; one minute he’s on the bench, the next he’s single-handedly lifting San Jose to the top of the league table. Fans all across America went bananas for the striker, whose natural nose for the goal, rags-to-riches story, and sustained everyman attitude make even opposing teams respect the man and his accomplishments.

But the next four games will serve as a test of how far Wondo’s turnaround can go. First up is Dallas, the defensive powerhouse that averages 1.27 goals against this year, and only 1 against per game in the past four. Wondo has found Dallas a tough nut to crack: he has just one goal to his name in the four home matches he’s played against the Hoops during his tenure in San Jose. He’ll need two goals there just to keep up with the sheer numbers of his pursuit.

Then comes Colorado, probably the easiest match of the four considering the Rapids’ less-than-impenetrable defense. It’s historically been a good place for Wondo, who’s notched 3 goals in 5 matches at DSG Park and doesn’t seem to be bothered by the mile-high change in altitude. If he were to be looking for a hat trick (as I’m sure he wouldn’t be averse to) this is probably where it’d go down.

After that’s Galaxy, who are in a much different position than usual in this Classico. After a hugely disappointing year, LA will surely be looking for another shutout to add to their 4 in the past 5 games. The simple fact of San Jose not being an underdog is a huge break from the norm, as the Galaxy’s lopsided dominance in the annual meeting is embodied by Wondo’s record of two goals in seven such matches. This one seems a toss up to me. Sure, Galaxy have their holes, but it may take a lot of luck for Wondo to get a brace in this match.

Last up is Portland, where Wondo has seen not only zero goals, but zero shots in two visits. Can he get two goals against the Timbers? Beside the fact that he did so at home a week ago, he’ll be facing a Portland club that’s bleeding goals. Since Gavin Wilkinson took over, they’ve allowed 25 goals in 12 games, cementing their place in the lower rungs of the West. I won’t say that it’s a guarantee, but if anyone can get two goals here, it’s Wondo.

So that’s that. Honestly, I’m rooting for him. I love the story: he fought hard, shining even when meddling in the reserve league, and earned the respect of a nation of supporters. It’ll be hard- 8 goals in 4 games hard- but it definitely isn’t impossible.

I mean, come on, they don’t call him Wonder Wondo for nothin’.


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