Chris Wondolowski struck for a first-half brace to build upon his MLS all-time goal scoring record, and the San Jose Earthquakes kept pace in the Western Conference playoff race with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Orlando City at Avaya Stadium on Saturday night.
Wondolowski's third multi-goal game of the season puts him on 13 for the year in MLS and 157 for his career. While his career-high of 27 goals in 2012 is well out of reach, matching the 18 he scored in 2010, his second-most productive output, is still in play with six matches remaining.
Magnus Eriksson opened the scoring on three minutes for San Jose, which moved into second place in the West standings on 44 points in what continues to be an extremely tight table. They remain only four points above the Portland Timbers, who sit in eighth after their 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake and one point beneath the playoff line.
Orlando lost and were shut out for a second consecutive match after their 1-0 home defeat to Atlanta United last weekend, and now sit four points beneath the playoff line and seventh-place Toronto FC in the Eastern Conference.
Perhaps more troublingly, Lions goals and assist leader Nani exited in the 71st minute with what appeared to be a leg injury.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Orlando's loss was celebrated by both the Philadelphia Union and New York City FC, who by virtue of the result and their own victories on Saturday officially wrapped up their spots in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Much of the Avaya Stadium crowd had yet to take their positions when Eriksson punished some lethargic Orlando defending to give the hosts the lead in a moment that set the tone for the evening.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Cristian Espinoza. Lots of candidates to choose from in this one, but Espinoza terrorized Orlando on the right flank for most of the evening. His slick setup work on Wondolowski's second was just one of a handful of exceptional moments that came with the ball at his feet.
- SJ: Wednesday, Sept. 11 at Real Salt Lake (9:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the US and on DAZN in Canada)
- ORL: Saturday, Sept. 7 vs. LAFC (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the US and on DAZN in Canada)