TUCSON, Ariz. – The San Jose Earthquakes gave Chris Wondolowski an extra week off from preseason training after his time with the US national team. If there were any worries that his time off would make it harder for him to get used to his new-look team, they were obliterated on Saturday.
Three minutes into San Jose’s scrimmage with Sporting Kansas City at the Kino Sports Complex, Wondolowski headed home a cross from newcomer Marvin Chávez. The Quakes went on to lose 2-1, but the more positive sign for head coach Frank Yallop is that his star forward is immediately back to doing what he does best.
“Wondo can step onto any field and score a goal,” Yallop told reporters after the match.
The challenge now for Yallop is integrating San Jose’s new acquisitions quickly so Wondolowski has a bit more help up top. Although he finished tied for the league lead with 16 goals last season, the Quakes finished eight points out of playoff contention.
Chávez, acquired in an offseason trade with FC Dallas, and former Colombian national-teamer Tressor Moreno seem to fit the bill for Yallop.
“‘Dynamic’ is a good word,” Yallop said of the new-look offense. “The signs were very good.”
Wondolowski, for one, is thrilled with his new offensive partners.
“The additions that we made are some great ones,” he told reporters. “To add Marvin and Tressor, it adds quality out there. We can combine and break teams down rather than just taking the direct route, it’s great. I’m loving it. All I do is make runs in the box, and Marvin puts it on a platter for me.”
Yallop has other players he deems as “attacking options” that haven’t featured in San Jose’s tune-up matches yet. Forward Steven Lenhart did not play Saturday, and the Quakes are still in talks with Tottenham Hotspur to bring attacker Simon Dawkins back.