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Chris Wondolowski at the brink of MLS goal-scoring history

Oct 26, 2012, 1:52 PM EDT

DC United v San Jose Earthquakes Getty Images

As Chris Wondolowski chases the MLS single-season goal-scoring record, here’s something to keep in mind:

All due respect to current record holder Roy Lassiter, but this is a much different MLS than the one Lassiter set ablaze back in 1996.

That was MLS on spindly roots, a league barely crawling, much less walking, jogging or galloping at full pace.

There were some bad teams back then. And some pretty average defenders. And even a few who were aspiring toward average.

So Lassiter exploited the talent gap better than anyone, hitting 27 goals for Tampa Bay in that inaugural MLS season. And we should mention how very much Lassiter did benefit from the splendid midfield offerings of Carlos Valderrama, the Colombian creators who won the league’s initial MVP honor with a league-leading 17 assists.

Today’s MLS is so much better. The individuals manning today’s MLS back lines are better and the collective defending is more highly organized, with more teams that have their you-know-what together.

So we should consider all that while watching Wondolowski hunt for No. 27 tomorrow against Portland. Either way, the Earthquakes striker already has matched the second-best goal scoring total.

Personally, considering the discrepancy in talent and back-line organization between the two periods, and considering what Wondolowski has done over three years in MLS (A total of 60 goals in three seasons!), I’m pulling for him.

San Jose meets the Timbers at 6:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. The match is the last of an NBC tripleheader; this one is on NBC Sports Network.

The Earthquakes made a video to help gin up interest on all this. It’s worth a look.

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  1. sir1389 - Oct 26, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    In all honestly I don’t think he will do it tomorrow night, and it’s not because he isn’t talented enough or doesn’t deserve it. My line of reasoning is this: Portland plays San Jose very well, I mean VERY well, for being the high scoring offense they are for the last couple of seasons, Portland is 1-0-3 against SJ while giving up 5 total goals in 4 games (only 2 of which were from Wondo in that crazy game this year in SJ). Portland is also on a bit of a high coming off of a Cascadia Cup victory and their first road win of the season. The players are also essentially playing for their jobs as they know Caleb Porter is watching the end of the season and taking notes. On San Jose’s side, I would be dumbfounded if they started the normal 11 with nothing left to gain club wise going into the playoffs. Yes Wondo will play but the rest of the club should not be their best. Secondly, everyone and their grandma knows every Quakes player will be purposefully trying to get Wondo the ball anywhere within 35 yards of the box, Portland should know this and completely blanket him the entire game. I don’t feel it is in the cards for him, I could see him possibly tying the record if a penalty shot is called as he will obviously take the shot, but it seems rather unlikely to me.

    • khard1250 - Oct 26, 2012 at 2:47 PM

      While I agree with what you’re saying, I have to wonder if SJ will go for the record anyway. It’s a pretty prestigious record, not just for the player, but for the club as well. It’s been a great season for Wondo regardless.

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