Chris Wondolowski entered the season one goal behind Landon Donovan atop the MLS’ all-time goals list, yet for the Quakes’ first 12 games he couldn’t find the back of the net.
That drought ended in a big way. Wondolowski breezed past Donovan with four goals Saturday in San Jose’s 4-1 win over the Chicago Fire at Avaya Stadium.
After tying Donovan’s record at 145 with his first goal in the 21st minute, punching home a curling pass from Shea Salinas just inside the 6-yard box, Wondolowski took the record for himself in the 48th minute when he poached a loose ball from goalkeeper David Ousted.
“I love visualization, I love going through different things,” the Danville native said. “I always pictured hitting a 30-yard blast going upper 90, didn’t really picture the goalkeeper dropping it and tapping it in, but I’ll take it. Honestly, I’m just having fun right now. It’s kind of rejuvenated, reignited this passion and I’m really having fun right now.”
Wondolowski added goals in the 74th and 76th minutes, finishing assists from Cristian Espinoza and Jackson Yueill to make it 4-0 for the Quakes (4-6-2) and 148 goals in a Hall of Fame-caliber career.
He also has 11 goals in 35 games with the U.S. national team.
Photo: Jeff Chiu / Associated Press
“I was hoping this day wouldn’t happen,” Donovan told Wondolowski with a smile on a Twitter post, “but you deserved it, you earned it, congratulations.
“I’m happy to pass the torch. You did it in much less time, much fewer games than I did, which makes me sad. But I’m very happy for you. Congrats. Great job, you’ve had a great career and inspired us all. I’m happy for you buddy.”
Other Bay Area professional teams were among those to offer congratulations, including the Warriors, Sharks and A’s.
Wondolowski, 36, who won the league’s Golden Boot with 18 goals in 2010 and a then-record 27 goals in 2012, said he wasn’t frustrated that it took so long to score this season.
“It’s been so long and so many games where I’ve promised a handshake or a hug to each person, my daughters, Andy Dunbar, the equipment manager, I wanted to give him a hug too, not enough to go around, but it was pretty special,” Wondolowski said. “It is a relief now, I’m not going to lie.
“To be honest, this year has been so much fun. I think that this coaching staff and this locker room have reignited that passion and a love for the game and I’m just enjoying it out there. I’m going out there not to score goals, I’m going out there because it’s fun.”