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Fuel Soccer: History on the MLS pitch; Final Four fizzle; U.S. Players to Watch

Love us some history  

Chris Wondolowski scores four goals becomes all-time career goal scorer in MLS history

Chris Wondolowski wrote his name into MLS lore in storybook fashion at rainy Avaya Stadium on Saturday, scoring four times to lead the San Jose Earthquakes to a resounding 4-1 victory over the Chicago Fire and break the league’s career individual scoring record.

“I’m not going to lie,” Wondolowski said. “It is still so surreal that I get a message from Landon Donovan. That he even knows my name still is crazy and boggles my mind.”

Making his first start in a month and a half, Wondo bagged his opener – it’s also his first strike of 2019 – in trademark fashion, ghosting to the back post to knock home an inviting delivery from longtime teammate Shea Salinas. In doing so, the San Jose legend drew level with Landon Donovan, himself an ex-Quake, atop the all-time MLS scoring chart.

Wondo would need less than half an hour of game action to push ahead of Donovan for good. The Danville, California native was even more opportunistic on his second, tapping home from point-blank range after Fire goalkeeper David Ousted dropped a straightforward take right at his feet. In the 74th minute the 36-year-old wowed the soaked home crowd with a blast into the top corner to notch a hat trick, then barely two minutes later he added a stunning fourth, again outwitting the Chicago back line to find space at the back post to sidefoot home a savvy feed from Jackson Yueill.

MORE ON THE STORY

Where does Chris Wondolowski rank among the top players in MLS history?

Premier League: Race for top four fizzled out before final Sunday

While Manchester City and Liverpool battled for the head of the table – and what a show those two clubs put on not only over the final few months but right down to the final game – the fight for the top four spots, and with it a trip to the Champions League, ended up being a giant yawn. Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United all had top-four aspirations and with five games to go they all had legitimate shots to earn a spot in the Champions League. With two spots locked up, four clubs made a pitch for the final two spots.

But Chelsea and Tottenham already had the final spots locked up before the kickoff on the final Sunday of the season.

The terrific Harry Slavin of the MAILONLINE broke it down this way: “The fact that there was nothing to play for on the final day was largely down to a dramatic drop in form by all concerned, which has now been highlighted by the comparison between the form of those four and the three teams to suffer relegation from the top flight over the final five games of the season.

“Of the four sides, Chelsea picked up just six points over their final five games, but that was still more than Tottenham and Arsenal, who both managed just four apiece. Those totals were dwarfed by already-relegated Fulham, who picked up nine points in their final five fixtures under Scott Parker – form that saw the former Spurs midfielder handed the manager’s job permanently at Craven Cottage.”

Even the bottom of the table was all set before the final kickoff on Sunday. Luckily, there was City and Liverpool at the top to add excitement on that final day.

Who were your final two picks with five weeks to go?

2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup: 10 Players to Watch

Christen Press

Forward (Slammers FC-Newport Beach, Ca.)
A center striker throughout her career, Press has moved to the wing on the U.S. team. But Coach Ellis can use her – most likely off the bench – at wing or striker. Her versatility, experience and success as a super sub earned her a spot on this very competitive roster. She had three assists in the U.S. win over Belgium in April. A versatile and dynamic attacker, Press (Utah Royals FC) has worked her way into an import role for the WNT based on her excellent scoring rate and ability to be effective both at forward or midfielder. Press had an amazing pre-professional career. Her U-14 club team, Slammers FC, never lost a game and she earned MVP honors in every tournament they played. She was Stanford’s all-time leading scorer with 71 goals during her four-year career.

TOP PLAYERS TO WATCH IN FRANCE

LET’S TALK: OK, now you’ve read what’s on my mind…what are your thoughts on the above or any other “football” happenings?

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