Will there be a new all-time MLS leading goal scorer in the 2018 campaign?

The excitement is ramping up as the 2018 Major League Soccer season is just five days away. Clubs have been busy and it looks set to be one of the most competitive seasons ever given the influx of quality players into the league. However, one of the veterans could become the new all-time MLS leading goal scorer if stats are anything to go by.

That man is Chris Wondolowski. The San Jose Earthquakes forward is on an impressive 134 goals in 293 MLS games. The current record holder, Landon Donovan, sits top of the pile on 145, meaning Wondo needs just 12 goals to break the record.

Wondo’s form over the last five seasons suggests he is on course to net the 11 goals needed to equal the record. Age hasn’t yet been an issue for him either, despite celebrating his 35 birthday in the offseason, his form has been extremely consistent since turning 30 in 2013.

MLS leading goal scorer: Can Wondo break the record?

He has averaged 13.2 goals across his last five seasons. Wondo has not scored less than 11 goals in a season since 2009. He didn’t become a regular scorer until the 2010 season so the stats make for positive reading.

While Wondolowski won’t be playing for just personal accolades, he will surely have an eye on the record and will hope he can hit the ground running when MLS kicks off in less than a week.

Will Wondo break the all-time MLS leading goal scorer record this season?

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Where would the San Jose Earthquakes be without Chris Wondolowski?

By Drew Farmer – Twitter: @Calciofarmer

In Chris Wondolowski’s first five Major League Soccer seasons, the San Jose Earthquakes’ striker tallied a combined seven league goals. In the five seasons that came next, Wondolowski notched 86, including 27 goals in 32 games during the 2012 campaign.

This season, the former fourth round MLS Supplemental Draft pick has been on fire, scoring eight goals in 13 appearances for the ‘Quakes. Second in MLS in scoring, Wondolowski has contributed 57% of the team’s goals. The remainder of San Jose’s 14 strikes have been spread across six different players, each with one goal.

So where would San Jose be without Chris Wondolowski?

Right now the Earthquakes are just outside the last playoff place in the highly competitive Western Conference. After a mediocre opening month to the season, San Jose have been solid since the beginning of May. Two wins, three draws and a loss currently place the Earthquakes fifth in the MLS overall form table.

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During their current run, Wondolowski has been in brilliant form, bagging five of his eight goals. In that time, the former Houston Dynamo striker has scored from all areas, including four goals from open play, three penalties and one set piece, according to Whoscored.com.

His last two goals have come from the penalty spot as the club’s attack produced few chances in front of goal. Worryingly San Jose have shown an inability to score when Wondolowski can’t find the back of the net.

One move that has paid off for Dominic Kinnear’s ‘Quakes has been Wondolowski’s move to midfield. In an attempt to get their best players on the pitch this season, Wondolowski leading by example, moved positions. In eight matches, the San Jose captain has scored five times from the centre of midfield.

On May 24, Wondolowski became the ninth MLS player to score his 100th MLS goal. His ability to reach the century-mark was proof that sticking with a player with potential can pay off. Too often in the current MLS climate, teams trade and disregard young American or Canadian players based on a run of bad form.

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Wondolowski benefitted from mid-2000s MLS and teams hanging on to hardworking players. That time allowed him to learn to be one of the best strikers in the North American game.

Though he is a former two-time MLS Cup winner with Houston in 2007 and 2008, Wondolowski tallied a total of two goals over those cup winning seasons. Currently with a “small market team”, Wondolowski’s chances of adding to his trophy collection could be limited.

Despite the Earthquakes winning the 2012 Supporters’ Shield thanks to a team built on graft and teamwork, San Jose were no match for the more glamorous MLS teams in the playoffs.

While San Jose may be an outsider to win an MLS Cup this year or next, Wondolowski would be an obvious upgrade for many of the teams around the league.

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However, it would take an extremely ambitious general manager and/or owner to pull off such a move. A move that could deplete a team for the long-term to obtain short-term rewards. And as most know, MLS teams try to build for the long-term. In regards to salary, Wondolowski was guaranteed $650,000 in 2014 – a Designated Player contract that several teams in MLS could take on.

With San Jose knocking on the door for a playoff place, San Jose will continue to covet their prized jewel, which, for San Jose supporters is just fine. A fan mutiny at the newly opened Avaya Stadium could ensue if Wondolowski were to be traded.

And losing their best player is the last thing the ‘Quakes want to happen at the house that Wondolowski built.

Follow Drew Farmer on Twitter @Calciofarmer. Drew Farmer is a Manchester, England-based journalist/blogger that has written for Forza Italian Football and World Soccer Talk. Originally from southwest Missouri, Drew covers Italy’s Serie A, English football and USA soccer.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Toronto vs San Jose Earthquakes

Competition: Major League Soccer – Toronto FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes 

Venue: BMO Field – Saturday, May 30 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports 1)

Match Odds: Toronto 8/11 – Draw 5/2 – San Jose Earthquakes 4/1

Match Preview

Toronto FC entertain San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening, live on Sky Sports 1 as two of the most inform MLS players are on show.

Toronto come into this one with just one loss in their last five. They beat Portland Timbers 1-0 last weekend and are sitting 5th in the Eastern Conference.

Sebastian Giovinco has been in brilliant form since his move to MLS, scoring five in ten games and he has quickly become a fan favourite.

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Greg Vanney’s side have played just twice at home this season, so their chances of making the playoffs is looking strong given they have already played eight times on the road.

San Jose Earthquakes haven’t lost in their last five games and are looking strong in a very competitive Western Conference.

The Quakes have some tough fixtures coming up, against FC Dallas, Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy, so picking up points here is a must.

Chris Wondolowski has been in sensational form this season. He netted his 100th MLS regular season goal last weekend and he has seven in 12 games so far this season.

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Team News

Toronto have six injury concerns. Jozy Altidore, Clement Simonin, Collen Warner, Steven Caldwell, Robbie Findley and goalkeeper Joe Bendik are all set to miss out.

San Jose Earthquakes have five injuries. Innocent Emeghara, Mark Sherrod, Steven Lenhart, Shaun Francis and Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi look to be unavailable.

Key Points

Toronto’s last five: W/W/L/D/W

San Jose Earthquakes’ last five: D/W/D/W/D

Key Stat: San Jose Earthquakes have failed to win in 17 of their last 19 games on the road in MLS.

Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – the Italian is in fine form and he will be keen to score in front of his adoring fans.

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Score Prediction

Toronto FC 2-2 San Jose Earthquakes – The two sides locked in a tight game with the Giovinco and Wondolowski to score once again.

Wondolowski’s 100th goal will ‘slowly sink in’ and praises Kinnear

Chris Wondolowski netted his 100th MLS regular season goal this weekend from the penalty spot against Orlando City.

Celebrations were subdued as San Jose Earthquakes were behind at the time and Wondo is happy that his goal earned Quakes a share of the spoils and is pleased with the historical value of the goal.

“It’s good to come back and get a point, but it’s a bit frustrating,” he is quoted by saying by MLSsoccer.com. “I’m very grateful, I know the historic value [of the goal], but it’s one of those things that will slowly sink in; it hasn’t really sunk in yet.”

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The Quakes talisman praised his manager and thinks Dominic Kinnear is one of the best coaches in the league.

“He drafted me and gave me a chance. He gave me an opportunity, and I’ve learned from him. I’m grateful to be playing for him again; he’s one of the best coaches in this league.”

The 32-year-old goal-machine is delighted at netting his 100th as a fan of the club and he now sits second in the Major League Soccer scorers this season.

“It’s a bit surreal,” he said. “Right now, it’s fun. I enjoy going out there and whatever happens, happens.

“I grew up a fan of this club, so to be able do it for my hometown team in front of my friends and family is pretty cool. I got to give my dad a hug after, and he had tears in his eyes. He was my first coach and has helped me along the way. That’s what makes it special.”

We can expect Wondo to continue causing defenders problems and remain grounded as he will do what he does best, poach goals.

Chris Wondolowski has “relished great experience” with Fulham

San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski has been in London a little longer than the rest of the USA squad ahead of their friendly with Colombia tonight because he’s been training with Championship side Fulham FC.

The 31-year-old flew to England early as San Jose’s season ended earlier than many teams and he has enjoyed the experience with the west-London outfit.

“Yeah, I have been here for a week and a half or so and it’s been fun. I’ve really enjoyed it,” he said on Thursday.

“I need to get some work in and get sharp. I talked to Jurgen [Klinsmann], and we set this up. It’s been a great experience, something that I relish.”

‘Wondo’ has been linked with moves to Europe in the past but admits that his focus is solely on the USMNT fixture against Colombia at Craven Cottage, despite rumblings that he could be set to join Fulham on loan.

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“That’s something for the future,” he said. “That’s not really where my head is right now. I’m taking this one day at a time; my head is all about playing for the US.

“I’m really grateful to Jurgen for calling me up. Obviously it’s not the same stage as the World Cup, but any time you get this opportunity, you have to be grateful for it.

“London’s a great city, and that’s why it’s going to be such a special experience to play here.”

The Quakes striker had a double digit goal tally for the fifth successive season despite San Jose’s struggles in MLS this year, and he will be looking to net his tenth international goal in the upcoming games.

Klinsmann has named a host of young attackers in his squad for the friendlies against Colombia and Ireland but Wondolowski will hope to get the nod as he has only played 14 minutes for the USA since the World Cup.

A move to Fulham on loan could be on the cards, but the prolific forward is expected back at San Jose for the 2015 season, as General manager John Doyle recently confirmed.

“I can tell you one thing for sure; Chris Wondolowski will be coming back to San Jose [in 2015],” Doyle said.

Would a loan spell at Fulham be a good move for Wondolowski?

Robbie Keane: The goal machine

The playoffs are now fast approaching and other than their defeat last weekend, LA Galaxy have been in a superb run of form going in to it, so they will be full of confidence.

They have lost just 3 of their last 24 games and went on a 10-game unbeaten run from 29th July to 5th October.

LA Galaxy’s last 24 games: Played 24 – Won 15 – Drawn 6 – Lost 3

Much of the attention for their achievements so far this season have focused on club legend, Landon Donovan, and rightly so.

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But with all eyes on Donovan, it’s allowed forward, Robbie Keane, to go about his business quietly but extremely efficiently.

He is the Galaxy’s top goalscorer with 19 and is the third highest across the entire MLS this season, behind only Red Bulls record-chaser Bradley Wright-Phillips (25 goals) and Dom Dwyer (21 goals) of Sporting Kansas City.

The Irishman has contributed an almost record-breaking 33 goals this season (19 scored – 14 assisted).

The record for most goals contributed in one MLS season is currently held by Chris Wondolowski when he notched 27 goals and 7 assists for San Jose Earthquakes in 2012, making it 34 in total.

Other notable efforts were that of Jason Kreis – he contributed 33 goals (18 scored – 15 assisted) for FC Dallas in 1999.

Cobi Jones, also of LA Galaxy, contributed 32 goals (19 scored – 13 assisted) in the 1998 season.

Most goals contributed in an MLS season

  • 34 – Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) – 2012
  • 33 Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy) 2014
  • 33 – Jason Kreis (FC Dallas) – 1999
  • 32 – Cobi Jones (LA Galaxy) – 1998
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It all means that if Robbie Keane can either assist or score one more goal in his last two games, he will equal the record for most goals contributed in any MLS season – two more goals would see him set the record.

It comes as no coincidence as his maiden voyage in Major League Soccer saw him play a hand in 25 goals when he scored 16 and set-up 9 in the 2012 season.

The 2013 season saw him involved in 27 goals with 16 scored and 11 assisted, so he has been very consistent for three years running now and it certainly deserves a mention.

Will Robbie Keane set the record for most goals contributed in an MLS season?