Q&A: San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski
SAN JOSE, Calif. — San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski may have burst into the public consciousness last season with his league-leading 18 goals, but he’s actually been a member of MLS for a half-dozen years now.
On the brink of his 100th MLS regular-season appearance — slated for Saturday against the Portland Timbers (10:30 pm ET; watch LIVE online) which, not coincidentally, will be Chris Wondolowski Bobblehead Night at Buck Shaw Stadium — MLSsoccer.com put the reigning Golden Boot winner to the Q&A test.
MLSsoccer.com: What does 100 matches mean to you?
Wondolowski: Actually, it means a lot. I remember my rookie year, in preseason, just hoping for one. It’s gone quick, [but] I still think I can remember just about every one. It’s pretty special. It’s awesome, a great honor.
MLSsoccer.com: You’ve received all these accolades and honors recently. Have you done everything you want to do in this league?
Wondolowski: No. I’ve been fortunate to be on two MLS Cup-winning teams. I felt like I had a role on that team, but I wanted to play a bigger role and win MLS Cup. That’s my main goal, is to win one and be out there when that final whistle blows.
MLSsoccer.com: Last year, you snuck up on some teams. Are teams taking things away from you now that they didn’t last year?
Wondolowski: I think they might be able to key on me, but I’m still getting chances and it’s on me to finish them. Even [against] DC last game, I had a great opportunity, didn’t finish it. I’m not exactly sure where I was last year at this point, but having eight [goals] right now, it’s not the worst thing. I feel that I can have a lot more and should have a lot more, but it just shows how great our team is, and if we create opportunities that we’ll have guys who can finish them.
MLSsoccer.com: A lot of guys in this league want to try playing in Europe. You just signed a new four-year contract here. Are you satisfied with being an MLS lifer?
Wondolowski: There’s a lot worse places you can be. I’ve honestly loved my time here in MLS. It’s a great [league]. I love being back in California. I think the league’s really growing as a whole. If I’m here for life, I’m alright with that. I can live with that.
MLSsoccer.com: What’s your favorite moment out of 100 matches?
Wondolowski: I’d probably have to go with scoring against New York in the playoffs last year. I don’t think that counts in the 100, though. Maybe I’ll go with my first start, then.
MLSsoccer.com: Did they get the bobblehead right?
Wondolowski: I saw a couple versions before, and it is a lot better. They did get it right, and I think it’s pretty funny.
MLSsoccer.com: Does the bobblehead have a better left foot vs. right foot?
Wondolowski: I think it’s just an overall better player. It seems to have the center of gravity low to the ground and I think it’s better-looking than me, too. I saw pictures [of it] with all these girls.
MLSsoccer.com: What are your thoughts on the hiring of Jurgen Klinsmann as US national team coach?
Wondolowski: To be honest, I really don’t know him a whole lot, personally. I think he’s got a great pedigree and I think it’ll be good for US Soccer. It’s good to have a different outlook on it as a coach, where I think it’s more offensive and [Bob] Bradley was more of a defensive stalwart. I think it could be good for them. But we’ll see.
MLSsoccer.com: Does that make you nervous, since Bradley gave you your shot on the national team?
Wondolowski: Yeah, a little bit. I’m not sure if [Klinsmann] knows a whole lot about me or knows the type of player [I am]. Bradley was able to get to know me through the January camp and the month of Gold Cup. I thought I showed well at times and had a good relationship.
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @sjquakes