Published November 20, 2014
Vancouver Whitecaps FC has the most shutouts in Major League Soccer this season, but they are all to familiar with San Jose Earthquakes striker Chris Wondolowski.
Although Vancouver has not allowed a goal in six of its eight matches, the two times it has allowed goals, it has surrendered three on both occasions.
Wondolowski, who leads MLS with 10 goals this year, scored two of them to lead San Jose to a 3-1 win at Buck Shaw Stadium just last month.
Vancouver (4-2-2) welcomes San Jose (7-1-1), which has the most points in MLS, to BC Place on Saturday for the second meeting between the clubs this season.
Whitecaps FC is eight points behind the 'Quakes in the Western Conference, but have played one less match this season. But the defeat to San Jose and another 3-1 setback to Sporting Kansas City, which has the second-most points to date, leaves some doubt about the club's impressive start.
Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon admitted last weekend after a 1-0 win over FC Dallas that "we are fortunate to be getting some breaks."
The Whitecaps have posted three 1-0 wins, but that can also be attributed to a better team effort this season, Cannon said.
"The guys on our team know their individual roles," Cannon said. "This year there's more accountability. Everyone's stepping up."
Vancouver continued its early-season success Wednesday with a 2-0 win over FC Edmonton in the Canadian Championship, but its major test is against San Jose this weekend.
San Jose has accumulated three wins and a draw on the road this year, and just Wednesday posted a 5-3 home win over D.C. United to take the overall lead from Sporting in MLS. Wondolowski had two goals for the third time this season.
"We are creating chances and I have been fortunate enough to find myself on the other end, ready to finish," Wondolowski said. "Anytime you can score to help your team get three points against a quality side make the goals even greater."
The Earthquakes had to overcome an early deficit against United to extend its unbeaten streak to seven straight games, and coach Frank Yallop thought it was a sign of his team's confidence this season.
"Even though we got down early, we did not hang our heads or buckle," Yallop said.
Yallop also remained cautious, as just nine matches into the season, it was far too early to get carried away.
"We have had a great start but we are not getting carried away at all. There is a long way to go in the season and we have to keep playing well and getting results," Yallop said.
"What I like about our team right now is that they play for each other and they come out excited to play every match. We have great team spirit right now in training every day and that is carrying over to the games."
Wondolowski believes the team has really come together early this season, and with everybody doing their part, positive results should continue to follow.
"I think you are seeing us starting to gel and just play. We have some skilled players on this team and you see the depth of our roster stepping up for injured players," Wondolowski said. "Everybody is doing their part, staying disciplined and it's resulting in three points."