Earthquakes-Whitecaps FC Preview
Chris Wondolowski has a chance to become the 10th player in MLS history to score at least 20 goals in a season.
He may be disappointed to have only one matchup left this year against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The San Jose Earthquakes star has scored six times in four career games against the Whitecaps heading into Sunday's meeting at BC Place.
Wondolowski leads the league with 17 goals, two shy of his career-best total in 2010. San Jose (13-4-4) has 13 games left, so there's an outside chance Wondolowski could match the league's all-time single-season mark of 27 by Tampa Bay's Roy Lassiter in 1996.
"This guy is incredible, he scores goals for fun and I am really interested to see how it plays out," teammate Alan Gordon said.
Wondolowski has made the most of 11 career shots on goal against Vancouver (8-7-6). He has three goals this season as these clubs have split two meetings.
"What he does unlike a lot of guys in the league is that he moves off your shoulder very well," Whitecaps defender Jay DeMerit said. "He finds spots to go and finish goals. He's a prolific finisher if you give him the chance."
How the matchup of All-Stars Wondolowski and DeMerit plays out Sunday will be a key factor. Another one would be if Kenny Miller makes his Vancouver debut.
Miller was officially added as a Designated Player on Monday. The Scotland national team captain missed Wednesday's 2-2 home draw with Los Angeles, but he's been training since arriving from Europe.
"I'm not even sure he'll get any minutes but there's a chance that he'll come on, and if he does, I am sure he could play for a decent amount of time if he had to," coach Martin Rennie said.
The Whitecaps made another move Friday when they traded striker Eric Hassli to Toronto FC for a 2014 first-round pick and an international spot through next season.
Hassli was expendable due to the emergence of Darren Mattocks, who has a team-high six goals. Mattocks did not play in the first two meetings with San Jose - a 3-1 Earthquakes home win April 7 and a 2-1 Whitecaps home victory May 5.
Vancouver forward Atiba Harris, who returned to training this week, could see his first action since April 28 after being out following knee surgery.
The Earthquakes have scored seven goals over consecutive victories, winning 2-1 over FC Dallas on Wednesday. Gordon netted his career-high eighth goal for San Jose, which leads MLS with 43 points.
"We have a target on our back, it feels good to have a target but, you know, I think we're doing well with that target," Gordon said.
The Whitecaps are in fourth place in the Western Conference with 31 points. They're eager for another big game after blowing a two-goal lead Wednesday against the defending MLS Cup champion Galaxy.
"It's one of those games that we gotta make sure we're all at our best because when the best team comes into town, you're going to have to play at your best to beat them," DeMerit said.