May 4, 2012, 6:05 PM EDT
Sporting Kansas City shot out of the gate this year like 5th graders through the doors on the last day of school. They were off and flying.
Meanwhile, San Jose started a bit slowly before climbing steadily, and with some authority, into the Western Conference top spot. So MLS watchers have been understandably slow to catch on here, a little behind perhaps in understanding just how good Frank Yallop has the Quakes rattling and rolling.
No worries. We’ll sort it out right here. Let’s dig a bit into the numbers and see just how high this Earthquakes’ zeppelin has already risen:
Stacking up the points: Frank Yallop’s crew collected 38 points in 34 matches last year, barely over a point a game. So, 22 points from nine matches this year (2.4 points per match) is a significant improvement.
Speaking of points … : Yallop’s men have collected those points by early May, through nine matches. Last year’s team need 18 matches (exactly twice as many) to gain those same 22 points.
How high will he climb?: MLS leading scorer Chris Wondolowski has 10 goals this year. The math says he’s on a warpath toward something in the high 30s, which would be a league record. (Roy Lasssiter’s 27 is the current mark. Worried much, Roy?) Things do happen, so nobody can believe at this point that he’ll reach into the high 30s. (They may hope …) The point is, this is a fantastic start for Wondolowski.
About to lap last year’s total: “Wonder Wondo” scored hit 16 last year, a total that allowed him to share the final league lead. Safe to say this year’s race is going to stretch beyond that total, possibly quite a bit.
Goals in 2012 vs. 2011: San Jose has a league-leading 20 goals. They hit No. 20 for the 2011 season on July 20.
About that guy with the Brady Bunch hair: Don’t underestimate Steven Lenhart’s contributions. Four goals in seven matches may not look stunningly significant, but it represents some level of scoring dispersion, which was a big Earthquakes’ problem last year. Simon Dawkins was second leading scorer at Buck Shaw in 2011 – with a meager six goals. Bottom line on the Earthquakes in 2011: when Wonder Wondo wasn’t scoring, the Quakes usually lost. With such a wonderful variety of attacking options at Yallop’s choosing, that may not necessarily be the case this year.
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