Tag Archive | "Chris Wondolowski"

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Wondo Keeps Quakes Top of Table

Posted on 23 September 2012 by Kyle Alm

Seattle Sounders slim chance at winning the Supporter’s Shield was crushed Saturday evening in Seattle when the San Jose Earthquakes put on an offensive display that shows that they truly belong at the top of the MLS Table. The two sides have been building some bad blood recently, a couple of close matches, a couple of physical altercations, the same mutually exclusive prize in an unbalanced schedule and you’ve got a budding rivalry.

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It didn’t take long for the Quakes to get started, in the 2nd minute Simon Dawkins was given space to shoot from a yard beyond the penalty box semi-circle. It was a horrible start for Sounders at home, all Michael Gspurning could do was watch it sail into the top corner and voice his displeasure at his defenders. Although it is not uncommon to give a midfield player space that far away from goal, it was too much space and the shot was not challenged by a defender.

Sammy Ochoa starting in place of Eddie Johnson, suspended for yellow card accumulation, was given his first real opportunity to start in MLS action and made an important contribution when he was able to beat his defender with a flick and then crossed the ball, Fredy Montero tried for it near the middle of the goal, but it was just out of reach. Steve Zakuani was ready for the ball when the cross went past the Colombian, and finished unmarked to draw the Sounders level.

San Jose Earthquakes were the dominant team in the first half, they were able to pass the ball with more ease, get forward in dangerous positions, create crosses, and get shots on goal. Their winner came on a corner kick that was conceded by Adam Johansson & Michael Gspurning in an awkward fashion. The corner kick went over the goal frame and was sent back in by Victor Bernardez and flicked past Gspurning by Chris Wondolowski, who stayed on pace with Roy Lassiter’s record 27 goals from 1996. Wondowlowski has 22 goals now with 4 matches left in the season to catch Lassiter.

Zakuani, who had been the hero moments earlier, was caught on the back post after the ball had been played out initially, he stayed on the post for the second cross into the box by Bernardez. A player can’t be offside on a corner because of where the ball is on the end line, when a player is stuck on the post defending you can’t be offside then either. Wondowlowski would have been offside had Zakuani stepped off the post, Ianni gave space, and tried to close when he realized he was onside, but it was too late.

As much as San Jose came out screaming in the first half, their enthusiasm was considereably muted in the second half. Scoring opportunities, crosses, were all down in the second half as the Quakes looked to defend their lead in Seattle. Sounders looked better and did have a better second half, but when the opposing team is bunkering down to defend a lead you can’t help but look better than you did before.

Sounders only managed one shot on target the entire night, Zakuani’s goal. Jon Busch didn’t have a single save.

Usually rivalries are give and take, but it’s been all San Jose this season and the Sounders have been taking it. San Jose had always been a good offensive side that defended poorly, Frank Yallop has gotten his side organized and kept the goal differential on the positive side by 26 goals after tonight’s match. Sounders fans would probably start a rivalry with any team that Steven Lenhart is on.

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ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week 9: A Braun-y win for Chivas USA

Posted on 18 May 2011 by Breton Bonnette

It was a Western Conference dominated week in Major League Soccer. Chivas USA registered the upset of the week and possibly the season over Theirry Henry and the Red Bulls, thanks to their hero of 2010 (as well as this week’s Player of the Week). FC Dallas took six points, showing worrywarts that they’ll be good no matter what. Los Angeles was just a shade behind, grabbing four points but more importantly, the play of Beckham, Donovan, and Angel continues to gel, a welcomed sign for Galaxy fans. Last but not least, Frank Yallop and San Jose unleashed a statement performance against Columbus with 2010’s Golden Boot winner Wondolowski at the center of the action. Will the Eastern Conference bounce back?

ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week 9

GK: Matt Reis, New England

Shalrie Joseph converted the games only goal and Vancouver’s woes continued but that’s not to say they didn’t put up one hell of a fight. Reis made a clutch save on Omar Salgado late in the game to preserve the three points. His performance, in concert with the play of a younger Revs backline featuring Alston, Soares, and Barnes, extended the Whitecaps winless streak to 10 games.

DEF: Mamadou Danso, Portland

It was deja vu for Timbers fans. Danso, the hero against Philadelphia, reprised his role – this time to equalize – in the first Cascadia derby. Portland continues to show a knack for putting away set pieces but more importantly, their defense has shored things up after a shoddy start to the season. Danso is a big part of that, keeping – for the most part – tabs on Nate Jaqua and Fredy Montero and ensuring that the Timbers come just a little bit closer to shedding that “expansion” tag once and for all. This is Danso’s 2nd consecutive selection in the Best XI.

DEF: George John, FC Dallas

After a little hiatus, John is back and he certainly deserves to be. John was a key man in the Hoops double dose of shutouts in Week 9. First, a midweek 1-0 shutout over Toronto FC in which John and the last line of defense, Kevin Hartman, kept Plata and company at bay. The Union then came to town and the 2nd year central defender neutralized the threat of last year’s biggest surprise Sebastien Le Toux.  John has been selected to the Best XI three out of the last four weeks.

DEF: Nat Borchers, Real Salt Lake

Played a big role in the defensive deadlock, helping to shut down Houston’s rookie on fire Will Bruin. Salt Lake is having a bit of a offensive crisis right now but the defense is still incredibly solid. Borchers and Olave are arguably the best central defense pairing in the league and their good play will help Salt Lake weather the shock of losing Javi Morales and the CONCACAF Champions League.

MID: Corben Bone, Chicago

Probably his best game in a Fire shirt, it’s clear that more playing time has done Corben some good. The second year midfielder finds himself selected for the first time after a spirited showing against Toronto FC, pulling the strings in the attack. He had a hand in both goals and if the Fire defense can tighten things up, Chicago should bound out of the Eastern Conference basement.

MID: Ryan Johnson, San Jose

There are very few in the league that can match Johnson’s work ethic and determination, two skills that worked wonders against a previously staunch Crew backline. The Jamaican ruled the left flank and served in several killer crosses, one finding Wondolowski for the first goal of the game. The Quakes then rattled off two more goals making it 3-0 in just over 12 minutes, a scene Frank Yallop would welcome more often.

MID: Chris Wondolowski, San Jose

We’re well past the stage where Wondolowski can be treated as a Major League Soccer reserve player but, to many, people wonder how he continues to score. He brought his total up to five for the season with the gamewinner in a resounding 3-0 win over the Columbus Crew. He’s a true poacher now and as the Quakes hit their stride, it’ll be hard to keep him away from double digits in the scoring department for a second straight season. It’s his second appearance in the Best XI this season.

MID: Landon Donovan, Los Angeles

Once Donovan catches fire, it’s hard to cool him off. The veteran, now linked with a move to AS Roma, hit for two more in a 4-1 romp of Sporting Kansas City. He was everywhere, picking apart a tough working Kansas City midfield and blowing open a game that was 1-1 at the half. Midweek, Donovan scored the opener in a 1-1 tie at PPL Park, a game that Bruce Arena and Donovan’s Galaxy teammates felt hard done not to win. Surprisingly, this is only his second time in ASN’s Best XI in 2011. So far, that is.

Courtesy of MLSSoccer.com

FWD: Justin Braun, Chivas USA *ASN’s PLAYER OF THE WEEK*

Braun made the statement of his young career. After suffering a long scoring drought to start the season, Braun exploded for a hat-trick against the New York Red Bulls to help Chivas USA win 3-2 away from home. Last year’s revelation for the Goats, Braun opened things up early on before answering two equalizers and securing the upset. If Braun is to make this a long-term thing, Chivas USA may make their way up the table.

FWD: Joao Plata, Toronto FC

One of the better players on the field midweek vs. FC Dallas, Plata is quickly making a name for himself in Toronto and beyond. His performance against Chicago, however, continues to accelerate that trend. TFC fans can thank Jon Conway for one of the goals but Plata’s productive performance (a goal and an assist) put him on the Best XI for the second week in a row.

FWD: Fabian Castillo, FC Dallas

There is no way one can fully replace the services that a David Ferreira provides. The young Castillo, and fellow Colombian, is trying his hardest though. A goal and an assist against Philadelphia’s stingy defense is the perfect way to dull a reality that undoubtedly is still sinking in for Hoops fans. FC Dallas themselves, however, haven’t been too worried – racking up four wins in their last five games.

Bench: Kevin Hartman (FC Dallas), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Andre Hainault (Houston), Alvaro Fernandez (Seattle), Simon Elliott (San Jose), Shalrie Joseph (New England), Cory Gibbs (Chicago), Chris Pontius (DC United), Perry Kitchen (DC United), Steven Lenhart (San Jose), Chad Barrett (Los Angeles)

ARCHIVES:

MLS Best XI, Week 8

MLS Best XI, Week 7

MLS Best XI, Week 6

MLS Best XI, Week 5

MLS Best XI, Week 4

MLS Best XI, Week 3

MLS Best XI, Week 2

MLS Best XI, Week 1

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Triallists run rampant in Houston loss

Posted on 07 March 2008 by Scott Ferguson

With a number of guest internationals making up the Toronto FC roster in MLS pre-season, head coach John Carver was given lots to think about ahead of the squad registration deadline. In the club’s first match of the Texas Pro Soccer Bowl, attacking football was the theme of the day as Houston Dynamo defeated TFC 4-3 on March 5th in Cibolo, Texas.

Chris Wondolowski’s headed goal had given the Men in Orange an early lead at Steele Stadium. Also in the first half, Jim Brennan crossed for triallist Kiki Musampa to send his own thumping header past Canadian keeper Pat Onstad in the Dynamo net. Houston went on to romp to a 4-1 lead on two first half goals from Brian Ching and an Erik Ustruck strike after an interval rife with substitutions.

TFC managed to make a game of it with 2 late goals, as former Newcastle midfielder Martin Brittain converted a penalty after a foul by Dynamo forward Wondolowski and fellow triallist Tony Vairelles bagged a goal with eight minutes left. Despite the late fightback, Dominic Kinnear’s men — who also beat their Canadian opponents last year in their first game of the 2007 Carolina Challenge Cup — held on for another pre-season victory, this time in the first edition of the Pro Soccer Festival on home-state soil.

Brittain and one time-Manchester City midfielder Musampa fit the mould of British-based attacking players that TFC Director of Football Mo Johnston has sought in the past, but Vairelles represents a departure from such a recruitment strategy. The 34-year-old, who played for France in the 1996 Olympics, has spent his club career in his home country and Belgium, where he scored 18 goals in 57 games during two different spells at SC Bastia on the French island of Corsica.

All three of the visiting players have helped their chances of earning a permanent contract in Toronto, with salary cap space available since the departure of Ronnie O’Brien to San Jose. Canadian under-23 international Tyler Rosenlund looks set to join the side, pending league approval, and will join compatriot Kevin Harmse at BMO Field; the midfield hardman having joined from Los Angeles Galaxy last week.

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