The San Jose Earthquakes have arrived in Washington, D.C., minus their own commander-in-chief on the field.
Chris Wondolowski, MLS’ reigning MVP, did not make the East Coast trip and will miss his first match of 2013 after suffering a contusion on his right foot this week in training.
Although Wondolowski has not matched the pace of last season’s record-shattering campaign, his absence will still leave a large hole in San Jose’s lineup on Saturday evening (7 pm ET, watch on MLS Live). Wondolowski tops the Quakes with five goals and is tied for the team lead with three assists. In addition, he netted a pair of goals in San Jose’s wild 5-3 win against D.C. United in the teams’ only meeting last year.
A team spokesman said that Wondolowski incurred the injury during Wednesday’s training session when he inadvertently kicked a teammate while following through on a shot. The 30-year-old will be re-evaluated next week after several days of rest with the hopes he could be available June 29 for the Quakes’ first showdown of the season with California Clasico rivals LA Galaxy.
Interim coach Mark Watson has various options in terms of who fills in for Wondolowski, who played on the wing in San Jose’s 2-1 victory against Colorado last weekend.
Perhaps the easiest move is simply to make a straight swap from that configuration, keeping Alan Gordon and Steven Lenhart up top as a target-forward tandem and using some combination of Marvin Chávez, Wálter Martínez and Shea Salinas in the outside midfield roles.