2010 Club by Club
Kansas City Wizards
New England Revolution
New York Red Bulls
Real Salt Lake
San Jose Earthquakes
The 2010 season will be remembered for two things: San Jose’s return to the MLS Cup Playoffs and the emergence of Chris Wondolowski.
The year began with a preseason camp that included a 10-day trip to train at the grounds of club partner Tottenham Hotspur. The Earthquakes played three friendlies during the time abroad, winning games against the Tottenham Hotspur (1-0) and West Ham United (2-0) reserves as well as the Colorado Rapids (1-0).
Building on a strong preseason, the Earthquakes jumped out to a 5-2-1 start over its first eight games. During that stretch, Wondolowski scored four goals in four games, a precursor to what would become an historic body of work.
In July, Tottenham Hotspur traveled to San Jose to train and play an exhibition against the Earthquakes. Two days before the match, over 1,200 fans attended a Spurs open practice session with players like Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Robbie Keane on the pitch. On Saturday, July 17, a record crowd of 10,712 packed into Buck Shaw Stadium with more tuned in on ESPN2 to watch a spirited 0-0 draw.
One month later, the Earthquakes eclipsed the attendance record set against Tottenham Hotspur with 10,799 on hand for a thrilling 1-0 win against their Southern California rival LA Galaxy. As was the case in nine of San Jose’s 13 wins during the 2010 campaign, it was Wondolowski tallying the decisive blow.
San Jose’s win against the Galaxy was part of a 5-1-1 stretch that put the squad on the brink of clinching its first MLS Cup Playoff berth since returning to the league in 2008. On October 9, after two goals from Wondolowski gave the Earthquakes a 2-0 road win against DC United, the club officially sealed its spot in the postseason.
With a playoff spot secured, a different race heated up: Wondolowski’s chase for the Golden Boot. With Edson Buddle in command heading into the final week of the season, San Jose’s local product needed a small miracle to overtake the lead. That miraculous moment came on October 20 with Wondolowski coming off the bench to record a hat trick, leveling the race at 17 goals apiece. The drama continued as Wondolowski scored in San Jose’s 4-1 loss to Kansas City on Saturday, October 23 and Buddle yet to play. The next day, Buddle failed to find the net, sewing up Wondolowski’s comeback to win the 2010 MLS Budweiser Golden Boot.
From Sept. 15 to Oct. 23, Wondolowski scored all 10 of the Earthquakes goals, setting the all-time MLS record for the most consecutive goals scored by one player. Also, the Danville, Calif. native accounted for 52.9 percent (18 of 34) of the Earthquakes’ goals in the 2010 season, the second highest such percentage all-time in MLS history. Also of note, Wondolowski posted the third-highest scoring percentage in MLS history, scoring 25 goals on 111 shots (22.5%).
For his efforts, Wondolowski was named a finalist for the Volkswagen MVP along with Buddle and eventual winner David Ferreira of FC Dallas.
Regular-season accolades aside, the Earthquakes sought to make an impact in the MLS Cup Playoffs after drawing the star-laden New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semifinal. A Red Bulls squad bolstered by Thierry Henry, Rafael Márquez and Juan Pablo Ángel took a 1-0 lead in the aggregate at Buck Shaw Stadium. However, on the strength of a brace by 2010 MLS Comeback Player of the Year Bobby Convey and a series-clinching goal by Wondolowski, the Earthquakes advanced to the Eastern Conference Championship.
One week later, the Earthquakes bowed out of the MLS Cup Playoffs in frigid conditions against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Kosuke Kimura scored the lone goal for a squad that would go on to defeat FC Dallas 2-1 to win the MLS Cup Championship.