The Earthquakes may be out of playoff contention, but Chris Wondolowski is making sure his team doesnt go unnoticed. The Danville native scored his 13th and 14th goals of the season in the Earthquakes 2-1 road win against the New England Revolution to move into a tie for first place in his quest to capture a second straight the MLS Golden Boot, awarded to the leagues top scorer. Hopefully I can pull it out, Wondolowski said of his chase for the Goldent Boot. I know Dwayne (De Rosario) still has a bunch of games left, Thierry (Henry) also has, I think Im going to have to do some work in the next two games, but its just nice to get a win. Wondolowski is tied with New Yorks French star Thierry Henry and former Earthquake Dwayne De Rosario at the top of the MLS scoring charts. However, De Rosario is the clear favorite to claim the title by virtue of the fact that his D.C. United team plays twice as many games as San Jose and New York (though De Rosario is unlikely to play at least one). Furthermore, any tie would be broken by the number of assists accrued, and De Rosario comfortably leads that category with 12, compared to Henrys four and Wondolowskis three.
Backing Wondolowskis effort against New England were assists from Sam Cronin, and surprisingly enough, rookie goalkeeper David Bingham, making his MLS debut. Bingham set up the first goal with a booming ball up field, not unlike the goal he scored in an exhibition match earlier this season. They didnt know I could put it over the top, Bingham said. Wondo was in and he took a phenomenal touch and just did the rest. Indeed, Wondolowski took the ball down over his shoulder with the softest of touches and finished from a tight angle to open the scoring in the eighth minute. However, the Earthquakes didnt have the easiest of times following the goal, often finding themselves starved of chances. Wondolowski had a long-range effort sail just wide less than 10 minutes after his opener, but other than that, the team was unable to test Bobby Shuttleworth in the first half. It wasnt as dominant tonight as it has been in other games, but I thought the football we played was quite nice at times in a tough place to come, Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop said. (New England) is a tough place to come: theyre good. It looked like the same old story would unfold, as the Earthquakes were unable to corral a free kick played into the box by Revolution midfielder Chris Tierney. After taking a couple deflections, Revolution forward Milton Caraglio looped a header onto the cross bar, which Benny Feilhaber was able to volley home in midair. The goal looked to be another setback for a team that has had a notoriously difficult time holding onto a lead in 2011. It was the 13th time the Earthquakes had given away a lead and it looked set to extend the teams record when scoring first to an unenviable 5-3-6. Wondolowski and his teammates had other ideas, though, and in the 82nd minute, the Earthquakes had their winner. We go up. We get scored on - which has happened a lot to us - and then we come back and get the winner, Yallop said. I was very happy with that type of spirit tonight from our guys. Simon Dawkins moved into a slightly more central position played a weighted ball right into the path of Sam Cronin, who served up a chipped cross to the far post. Wondolowski came crashing in ahead of the New England defenders to tally his 14th goal of the season. Great movement, good ball, great finish, Yallop said of the goal. All of the things we ask them to do. Its easier on paper, but actually doing them in a physical game is the part that the players are doing. While Wondolowskis pursuit of another scoring title will take most of the headlines, the forward was more than happy to praise his teammates for their work in setting up the goal. Simon (Dawkins) connected a great pass to Sam (Cronin) and Sam just put it on a platter for me, so thats a great goal, Wondolowski explained. Didnt have a lot of room, but I wasnt that far out so just the main part was getting on top of it and making sure I put it over. For his part, Yallop was especially pleased that after plenty of hard work and tough breaks, the team had come away with a win, just its second since June and its third away win in 16 attempts to date. I think performance-wise weve played pretty well for the last three or four months, to be honest, just without getting those points, he said. Its nice to finally have something to show for a decent away performance.Finally, Yallop maintained that his star forward could very well be the one to claim the scoring title, and with four goals from his last three games it would be difficult to argue Wondolowski doesnt have a shot. Hes top goal scorer again, right now as we speak, Yallop said. It looks like hes probably got a couple more before the end of the season, hopefully. For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccer chatter, you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano