San Jose's Wondolowski shoots for record at Portland
Portland, OR – All eyes will be on Chris Wondolowski at Jeld- Wen Field on Saturday, when the San Jose Earthquakes striker will attempt to tie or break the MLS single-season scoring mark against the Portland Timbers.
Wondolowski enters the final fixture of the regular season with 26 goals, just one off the record of 27 set by Roy Lassiter for the defunct Tampa Bay Mutiny in the first season of MLS in 1996.
"It's an honor for me to be within one goal of sharing this record with him," Wondolowski said last week, after scoring in a 2-2 tie against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Since the start of the 2010 season, Wondolowski has 60 goals - a league record over a three-year span - in 89 games. He scored 18 in 2010, 16 in 2011 and has one game left to add to his haul this season.
He scored twice against Portland in September, and that was in just 32 minutes off the bench. And six times this season, Wondolowski has scored at least two goals in one match.
Another double, and he will stand alone in the record books.
Wondolowski insists he will not be focused on the record.
"My mind frame going into Portland will remain the same, which is to perform my best for my team and work for a win," Wondolowski said.
But with the best record in the regular season secured, San Jose (19-6-8) has nothing to play for but getting Wondolowski the record. Even if the he is able to put the record in the back of his mind, his teammates likely won't.
Portland (8-16-9) won its first road game of the season last week, 1-0 against Vancouver Whitecaps FC, to win the Cascadia Cup. The Cup is contested by those two clubs and Seattle Sounders FC.
"It ended on a good note on the road, after all the struggles we had this season on the road, we were able to get that win at the end and we didn't become one of those five MLS teams not to get a road win," Timbers midfielder Sal Zizzo.
The Timbers were previously eliminated from playoff contention, but will hope add another positive result at home to finish the season.
But the focus this weekend will be solely on Wondolowski and a record that has stood since the first season of the league.