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Forward 'Wondo' a wonderful revelation
by Ridge Mahoney, December 9th, 2010 12:27AM
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TAGS:  mls


[MLS] Soccer America's position-by-position rankings for the 2010 season continue as Ridge Mahoney rates the league's forwards and explains the rise of San Jose' Chris "Wondo" Wondolowski. ...

Though teams often play with two forwards, some players can at different times be asked to play as a striker -- the player furthest forward much of the time -- and at other times as the second forward, who plays “underneath” his partner. Teams sometimes play with just one forward, which alters the tasks and responsibilities still further.

Second forwards are also prime candidates to play in midfield, usually on the flanks. Our ranking of forwards features a few of these players, and in these cases, as well as others, the designations between second forwards and strikers are arbitrary.

Soccer America's Top 10 MLS forwards for 2010

2. Omar Cummings (Colorado)
3. Fredy Montero (Seattle)
4. Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Columbus)
5. Brian Ching (Houston)
6. Marko Perovic (New England)
7. Fabian Espindola (Real Salt Lake)
8. Emilio Renteria (Columbus)
9. Milton Rodriguez (FC Dallas)
10. Ryan Johnson (San Jose)

“Wondo” was one of the league’s wonderful revelations in 2010; a journeyman who arrived in a trade with Houston midway through the 2009 season, Chris Wondolowski devoted himself to zealous training during the winter, and once he’d earned a starting spot at times single-handedly drove the San Jose attack. He scored 10 consecutive goals for the Quakes, a league record, and won the Golden Boot with 18. Occasionally stationed as a wide midfielder, the MVP finalist used an uncanny knack for finding space and hitting the target from tough angles to stun opponents and delight his fans.

A mix of size, strength and speed, Omar Cummings led the Rapids with 14 goals and with his slashing runs and centering balls served as a perfect counterpoint for partner Conor Casey. Fredy Montero’s quickness and predatory instincts got goals for himself as well as his teammates; he and Sebastien Le Toux were the only MLS players to hit double digits in goals and assists (10 each). Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s legs aren’t as supple as they were during his 2008 MVP season but the brain and feet are still sharp. Brian Ching labored valiantly as Houston missed the playoffs the first time.

Marko Perovic brought some skill and guile to his debut MLS season and also showed he can handle the rough stuff. Fabian Espindola ran hot and cold while learning to play with a new partner, Alvaro Saborio, much of the time. Emilio Renteria’s impressive touch and nose for goal were blunted by injuries that limited him to just nine starts and 19 games. Milton Rodriguez scored five goals in 13 games after arriving in midseason and can also play as a striker. Ryan Johnson led the Quakes in goals last year; this season, his rugged play set up chances for Wondo and others (eight assists).

2010 Top Goalkeepers

2010 Top Right Backs

2010 Top Central Defenders

2010 Top Right Midfielders

2010 Top Holding and Central Midfielders

2010 Top Left Midfielders

2010 Top Attacking Midfielders

  1. Mike Gaire
    commented on: December 9, 2010 at 3:06 p.m.
    Soooo, you really wouldn't rate David Beckham in the top 10 in his category? Seems a bit harsh!

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