Here are the 10 things we learned from gameweek 12 of the Major League Soccer season.
1. Congratulations to Chris Wondolowski
The wait for Wondo’s 100th MLS goal wasn’t a long one. Eight days after heading in 99 at Avaya Stadium, the San Jose Earthquakes striker hit the century mark at Levi’s Stadium by converting a penalty with a mix of aplomb and ferocity that can only be described as admirable.
It’s time to move on from Belgium. Wondolowski is a true American original. Wondo’s grit and determination are the heartbeat of MLS – this is a player who played his college soccer at Chico State, slipped into the league at the back end of the Supplemental Draft, scored four goals in his first four years with the Houston Dynamo, was traded, and then, without warning, exploded.
Wondolowski is only the ninth player in MLS history to score 100 goals, and he did it faster than anyone before him bar Taylor Twellman. How Wondolowski has scored most of those goals – an uncanny knack for finding seams between center-backs and through defenses – and how he’s celebrated – with a passion virtually unrivaled in MLS – give Wondo a style all his own.
This is more than a “nobody believed in him” story. This is one of the best stories in MLS history – the league helping a young American soccer player’s dreams come true, and that soccer player helping in turn to take the league to new heights.
2. Don’t forget about Frank Lampard
Much has rightly been made of Steven Gerrard’s farewell tour at Liverpool this season, fanfare that culminated in the last two weeks with his final appearance at Anfield and final Premier League appearance at Stoke City, and much has been made of the impact that Gerrard will have on the LA Galaxy when arrives Stateside in July.
Frank Lampard’s Premier League sendoff hasn’t carried with it the same weight for a few reasons, namely that he finished this season with Manchester City, not Chelsea, and that Lampard was mostly a bit-part player at City, while Gerrard was still very much at the heart of Liverpool.
But in MLS, Lampard’s arrival should be garnering more attention. He’s been out of the spotlight for the last few years, but Lampard is still a top, top player with lethal goal-scoring instincts almost unmatched by any midfielder in the modern era.