What's next for goal king Chris Wondolowski in San Jose? Almeyda weighs in

SAN JOSE, Calif. – He became Major League Soccer’s all-time goal king in memorable fashion, scoring four goals against the Chicago Fire to take possession of the league’s all-time career scoring record.

But given that it was his first start since March and first goals of the year, it begs the question: How will Chris Wondolowski be utilized throughout the 22 games left in the San Jose Earthquakes’ season?

In principle, the Quakes’ eternal captain will take the field numerous times during that aforementioned span of time, having appeared in all but one of their matches thus far. But did Wondo’s hat-trick-plus-one performance do enough to displace teammate Danny Hoesen – who suffered a upper thigh injury prior to Saturday’s game – from their system’s lone starting striker spot?

“I think he took advantage of being able to play today,” Quakes coach Matias Almeyda said when asked whether Wondo will see more playing time following his historic performance. “He took advantage of it really well. I had a chat with him last week in which I was congratulating him for the way he trains in every practice session.

“More than the goals, we witness a great professional, despite his age. I think it’s just that he was able to score. And like I keep telling the players, ‘Know how to take advantage of it when we give you 90 minutes.’”

With only four starts and no goals to his name up until Saturday, 2019 was becoming a forgettable season for Wondolowski. His sterling performance against the Fire will surely boost his case to be a starter, despite Almeyda dancing around the question. To those who know his resume, it would be imprudent to bet against the captain extending his record of double-digit scoring campaigns to 10 straight seasons.

“He has six or more goals to score this season, and we are all expecting that,” said Shea Salinas, who assisted on Saturday's opening goal.

“Wondolowski has been our captain for a long time,” he added. “He’s such a sacrificial, humble guy. He does whatever is best for the team, no matter if that benefits him or not. So, he’s just an impressive guy. I’ve loved following him, loved being his teammate. He’s going to continue being our captain for a long time.”

It’s not known how serious Hoesen’s injury is, or how long it will keep the Dutchman out. Either way, Wondolowski, a team-first player, is on standby for the overall good of the Black-and-Blue.

"It was very unfortunate for Danny to suffer a bit of an injury yesterday,” Wondolowski said minutes after breaking Landon Donovan’s scoring record. “It happened in practice and he wasn't sure if he was able to go. I think Danny has been playing unbelievable.

“[This season has] reignited a passion and I do enjoy it whether I'm coming off the bench or starting,” he added. “It's always fun to get the start and I didn't necessarily know until he had a pregame test and wasn't able to necessarily go today. I'm always ready, always ready to go. I know my role. I know my job in that sense.”