Wondo & Co. show improved firepower in preseason finale

Marvin Chavez of the Earthquakes

Photo Credit: 
Ethan Erickson/Portland Timbers

PORTLAND, Ore. – The prevailing thought out of San Jose Earthquakes camp is that 2010 Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski’s goal chances could decrease this year, what with an improved supporting cast up top and in midfield.

On Sunday, in San Jose’s final match of the Portland Tournament at JELD-WEN Field against Chivas USA, Wondolowski got his cake and ate it, too. And there was plenty of it to go around.

The veteran forward led an impressive offensive display, scoring first to open a flood of goals in the Earthquakes’ 5-0 victory.

“I thought a 5-0 is a great score line,” Wondolowski said. “But I also thought we played well, and that doesn’t always show how well you played. But I thought front to back we played well. And it will be nice to have that momentum going into the season.”

And the fashion in which several of the goals were scored – incorporating many of the new pieces brought in to bolster the Quakes offense – was pleasing to Wondolowski.

His goal in the 28th minute came by way of an assist from midfielder Shea Salinas, acquired in a trade with Vancouver.

Midfielder Tressor Moreno, a free-agent signing from Colombia, scored in the 80th minute and assisted on a goal by Sercan Güvenisik, another new addition from Germany, in the 84th minute.

Rookie attacker Sam Garza, the No. 6 overall pick by the Earthquakes in the 2012 SuperDraft, got into the mix with a goal in the 88th minute, assisted by Guvenisik. And Honduran winger Marvin Chávez (above), perhaps the most important new face in San Jose camp, picked up an assist on Justin Morrow's 52nd-minute header.

“I still think we’re still gelling and still a little bit of a work in progress,” Wondolowski said. “But you can definitely see the pieces starting to come together. And we’re all starting to get on the same page, which is very important. I like it. We made some great additions, and we’re really striding as a team in the right direction.”

The offensive barrage culminated an impressive performance at the Portland Tournament, giving the Quakes a win and two ties, and a successful preseason with an overall record of 3-1-4. Wondolowski said the atmosphere during the tournament was also a good primer for the regular season.

“Anytime you can get a full stadium for a preseason game, it’s impressive,” Wondolowski said. “These Portland fans are one of a kind.”

Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at dcitel@hotmail.com

GET TICKETS to San Jose Earthquakes vs. New England Revolution, Saturday, March 10, 2012, 10:30 pm ET at Buck Shaw Stadium