Wondolowski makes statement for league MVP with his second three-goal game of the season.SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Chris Wondolowski again was the goal scorer for the San Jose Earthquakes in the club‘s final home game of the regular season. It has been eight matches since any other Earthquakes player has scored. But on Wednesday night, the Quakes wouldn’t need contributions from anyone else.
Wondolowski, already San Jose’s leading scorer coming into the match, is now tied for the Major League Soccer lead after his three-goal performance in San Jose’s (13-9-7, 43 pts) 3-0 win over Chivas USA (8-17-4, 28 pts) in front of the 9,633 fans at Buck Shaw Stadium.
In addition to his performance, Wondolowski, who was named San Jose’s Most Valuable Player prior to the match, has netted nine consecutive goals for his club, tying an MLS record held by Carlos Ruiz, who accomplished the feat in 2002-03 with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Ramiro Corrales' free kick from 35 yards out tested Kevin Guppy, but the Chivas keeper, making his first MLS start, got behind it before it hit the top right corner of the net in the third minute.
Chivas got its first opportunity in the eighth minute when Paulo Nagamura hit a strike from 20 yards. Jon Busch, however, dove to stop the shot heading for the lower far 90.
Cornell Glen beat Guppy in the ninth minute. The Trinidadian leaped over the Chivas defense to get behind an Arturo Alvarez chipped cross and headed it by Guppy, but the crossbar prevented the Earthquakes from getting an early lead.
Chances were coming at a rapid rate in the early going, but no one could find the back of the net. In the 12th minute, Rodolfo Espinoza hit a corner to Yamith Cuesta’s head, who directed it for the lower 90, but Busch was able to sprawl for the save.
Brad Ring in the 16th had another quality chance for San Jose that went awry, hitting a shot from 25 yards out over the bar.
Another 13 minutes passed before the next chance on goal came. Alvarez sent a free kick into the box that Ryan Johnson headed across to Glen, who volleyed a shot at goal, but it sailed high of the target, not threatening Guppy.
Miscommunication in the Chivas back line nearly cost them in the 33rd minute. A Busch clearance from the San Jose box bounced all the way to the Chivas box. Guppy raced out to grab it, but Michael Umana, with pressure on his back from Eduardo, chose to play it. Umana’s clearance was poor and Eduardo hit the ball first time toward the vacant goal, but missed just wide.
Two minutes later, Corrales took advantage of a turnover by the Goats and turned it into an instant chance at goal. Corrales went down the left flank to the box before hitting a cross to Eduardo, who slid to shoot it, just grazing the ball at net, and Guppy made easy work of it.
San Jose got two more chances in less than a minutes time. In the 44th minute, after a string of passes, Eduardo fed Scott Sealy in the box, but his shot was stoned by Guppy, who kick-saved it out. After putting it into play, San Jose strung a number of passes together before Wondolowski got in behind the Chivas defense. But the San Jose MVP missed wide of the target.
It was the Wondolowski show in the second half, as the scoreless tilt turned into a one-sided affair.
Wondolowski had the first chance of the second half in the 53rd minute when Corrales centered a ball to the Quakes’ leading scorer’s head. Wondolowski’s header, however, went directly into the midsection of Guppy.
A minute later, Wondolowski drew a foul from Marano Trujillo in the box, and referee Ricardo Salazar awarded a penalty. Wondolowski converted the penalty for his 15th goal of the campaign to give the Quakes the lead.
San Jose kept pushing forward and nearly got a second goal in the 58th minute. Corrales again streaked down the left flank and into the Chivas box before sending a low cross to an open Alvarez whose shot deflected off Wondolowski, leaving enough time for Guppy to make the diving save.
San Jose got its second goal, and a 2-0 lead, in the 59th minute when Eduardo took the ball into space to the Chivas box. With two defenders closing in on him, Eduardo cut a pass to Wondolowski who slid a shot by Guppy for his 16th goal.
Wondolowski was back at it in the 72nd minute, scoring his third goal of the match and 17th of the season. Johnson streaked down the left flank and sent in a cross that Wondolowski volleyed for his second three-goal game of the season.
Wondo's nine game-winning goals lead the league and his 17 goals overall ties Edson Buddle for the league lead with one match remaining in the regular season.
The final 18 minutes-plus were all but formality, as the Earthquakes prevailed and leapfrogged the Colorado Rapids into seventh place in the MLS table with one game to play.
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