[MLS] The race for this season's top scorer title -- the Budweiser Golden Boot – comes down to a San Jose Earthquakes striker who scored just seven goals in his five previous MLS seasons and the league’s seventh all-time leading scorer.
The 27-year-old striker Chris Wondolowski saw sparse playing time for the Quakes last year after arriving in a trade with Houston, but was pressed into a starting role this season when the team was hit by injuries. His hat trick on Wednesday put him in a tie atop the leading scorer’s list with the Los Angeles Galaxy’s Edson Buddle with 17 goals apiece.
Buddle, a New York product whose father had emigrated from Jamaica and named him Edson after Pele (Edson Arantes do Nascimento), debuted in MLS as a 20-year-old in 2001 and scored three goals in 556 minutes of play for the Columbus Crew. He scored 30 goals in his next three seasons, but, by 2007, Buddle had never scored more than 11 goals in a season.
Buddle moved to New York, Toronto FC and Los Angeles, for which he scored 15 goals in 2008. He struck just five times in an injury-plagued 2009 season, but scored nine goals in the first six games of the 2010 and earned a spot on the USA’s 2010 World Cup squad.
Buddle’s 17 goals this season up his career total to 90.
Wondolowski played his youth soccer in Northern California, college ball at Chico State, and landed with the San Jose Earthquakes in the 2005 supplemental draft. He started just 19 MLS games before the 2010 season.
The Quakes face Kansas City on Saturday. Los Angeles meets FC Dallas on Sunday.
2010 MLS LEADING SCORERS
Edson Buddle (Los Angeles) 17
Chris Wondolowski (San Jose) 17
Juan Pablo Angel (New York) 13
Omar Cummings (Colorado) 13
Dwayne De Rosario (Toronto) 13
Sebastien Le Toux (Philadelphia) 13
Conor Casey (Colorado) 12
MLS SEASON-BY-SEASON TOP SCORERS
2009 Jeff Cunningham (FC Dallas) 17
2008 Landon Donovan (Los Angeles) 20
2007 Luciano Emilio (D.C. United) 20
2006 Jeff Cunningham (Real Salt Lake) 16
2005 Taylor Twellman (New England) 17
2004 Eddie Johnson (Dallas); Brian Ching (San Jose) 12
2003 Carlos Ruiz (Los Angeles); Taylor Twellman (New England) 15
2002 Carlos Ruiz (Los Angeles) 24
2001 Alex Pineda Chacon (Miami) 19
2000 Mamadou Diallo (Tampa Bay) 26
1999 Stern John (Columbus); Roy Lassiter (D.C. United); Jason Kreis (Dallas) 18
1998 Stern John (Columbus) 26
1997 Jaime Moreno (D.C. United) 16
1996 Roy Lassiter (Tampa Bay) 27