Quakes close season with 4-2 win over Dallas

October 23, 2011, 5:01 am
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The Earthquakes closed out a largelydisappointing 2011 by matching their best result of the season, putting fourfirst-half goals past FC Dallas en route to a 4-2 win, but Chris Wondolowskifell just short in his quest to retain the MLS Golden Boot. Simon Dawkins proved the hero on the day as the Earthquakesscored four goals in the span of 11 minutes. The Englishman put two past ashaky Dallas defense to open and close the Earthquakes scoring. Rafael Bacatallied a minute after Dawkins 27th minute opener, squeezing in afar post header for his first professional goal. Wondolowski scored his 16thgoal of the season from the penalty spot in the 34th minute. Asked if the performance was San Joses best of the season, head coachFrank Yallop replied, I think playing-wise its been similar to that but nottook our chances, but we did tonight for sure. Simon Dawkins getting twogoals was terrific, and I think we well deserved the win. FC Dallas scored once at the end of each half, with GeorgeJohn connecting with a diving header to pull one back on the stroke of halftimeand Ruben Luna scoring from close range in the 90th minute.The Earthquakes players and staff admitted afterward thatthe late goal was at least partly a result of the team pushing extra-hard toget Wondolowski his second of the game.If you look at the game, we had the ball a lot, Yallopsaid. I thought we were going the length of the field a lot of the time. Dallas are a dangerousteam, we knew that. The pace of the game was high, we put a lot into it.Wondolowski took a unique point of view on his teamconceding two goals.I blame myself that they scored two goals because they myteammates were trying to go hard and feed me and kept going, Wondolowskisaid. To have teammates like that to have my back like that its one of a kindand I really appreciate and love them.Wondolowskis penalty allowed him to tie D.C. UnitedsDwayne De Rosario on 16 goals, giving him a share of the league lead inscoring, but De Rosario an Earthquake from 2001 to 2005 won the tiebreakerfor the Golden Boot award by virtue of having 12 assists to Wondolowskis four,one of which he tallied on Dawkins final goal.Wondolowski had three good opportunities to score in thesecond half, including two looks at a nearly open goal, but each time Dallas goalkeeper ChrisSeitz was able to pull off the save, and difficult ones at that.Its a shame because another night when you have fivepretty good chances to score and only get one obviously from the penalty was not like Wondo, so I just felt for him, Yallop said.Seitz himself mentioned that he was not even thinking aboutdenying Wondolowski his chance at the Golden Boot, stressing the importance ofputting together a solid second half after conceding four goals in the first.In all honesty, I dont look at it that way, Seitz said.I look at it as us coming out in the second half and trying to put up a zero.We were going to do whatever it took to achieve that, and as a whole we playeda lot better. We tried to shut him Wondolowski down and not give them as manychances.Despite losing out on the Golden Boot, Wondolowski becomesjust the fourth player to twice lead the league in scoring after Carlos Ruiz(2002, 2003), Taylor Twellman (2003, 2005) and Jeff Cunningham (2006, 2009).It means a lot, he said. Its just one of those thingsthat Im glad I can show myself and even others and the league and my teammatesthat I can do it.. His teammates were also full of praise for hisaccomplishment, veteran goalkeeper Jon Busch in particular.To me, Wondo over the last few years showed what a trueprofessional he is in scoring goals, Busch said. The mark of a trueprofessional is consistency, day in day out, game in game out, year in yearoutto put the numbers up back-to-back years that he did just shows he is a toppro and hes one of the best goalscorers in this league. Furthermore, with the Earthquakes finished for the seasonand U.S. national team games scheduled for November and a camp in January,Wondolowski hopes that his goalscoring exploits have put him on the radar ofrecently-appointed head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, himself a prolific goalscorerin his playing days. I would love it. It would be a true honor, Wondolowskisaid of the possibility of returning to the national team fold. Coach Klinsmannsdone a great job so far and I know he has the team in the right direction. Ijust hope and pray that I can be a part of it somehow, some way and hope to geta chance. What is certain, though, is that Wondolowski and theEarthquakes will be looking to return to the playoffs in 2012 after missing outthis year, and the teams star forward believes that process could start withthis win.We have a great core group of guys and I think we canreally build on that, Wondolowski said. Its just one of those things thatstoo little, late, its just unfortunate. I think we have a great group of guysand were going to build and one things for sure: I think well be moremotivated coming in and we have a bitter taste in our mouth right now.For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccer chatter,you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano

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