Although the Los Angeles Galaxy earned the MLS Cup Championship this year after defeating the San Jose Earthquakes in the Playoffs, the player of the year award rightly was given to Chris Wondolowski, who scored an incredible 27 goals on the season, tying him with Roy Lassiter, who managed the feat over a decade ago. Wondolowski’s hard work brought a Supporters Shield to the San Jose Earthquakes, who led the MLS with 66 points on the season.
Chris Wondolowski’s impressive 2012 should not really come as much of a surprise to American soccer fans. In both 2010 and 2011, Wondolowski nearly put up 20 goals, and he has found the best form of his life in his late 20’s. Currently at age 29, one must presume that the striker is playing at or near his peak abilities. What surprises me about this player, however, is the rare opportunities he has been given to represent America with the national team.
Chris Wondolowski has been overlooked and un-favored to other Americans like Jozy Altidore and Hercules Gomez. Considering how hard goals have been to come by for the American team, one would presume that Chris Wondolowski would be given a chance, especially given these recent performances for his club, where he has scored at a rate of nearly a goal per match.
He has received several call-ups by American head coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, but he has only received one substitute appearance in a friendly against Canada. Incredibly he hasn’t been given much of an opportunity to impress for the country. He did play in the MLS All Star game against Chelsea of the English Premier League, where he scored a goal against a world-class defense that featured former England captain, John Terry.
Terry actually complimented Wondolowski after the match, stating that it was a nightmare trying to defend against the talented soccer player. When someone of that stature expresses his difficulties in playing against the player, why would he not have attracted more attention from the national team?
One option that I think would be a huge benefit for Chris Wondolowski would be for him to perhaps make a transfer move to Europe, possibly to an English Premier League club. At age 29, it would be a difficult time to move to such a prestigious league, but if he could secure a move and impress abroad, perhaps he could earn himself a trip to the 2014 World Cup with America. Surely, he must have such dreams and is probably in a quandary as to why he cannot seem to get a real chance at the international level.
The rest of the San Jose Earthquakes let Chris Wondolowski down in this off-season when they let a Galaxy team come in and outclass them. I think that the player should try and push for such a move and that it could really propel him to the next level. Although the Earthquakes would be very sorry to see him leave their team, it is a move that would be in the best interest of American soccer as a whole and for Wondolowski to prove himself at the top level of the sport.