Earthquakes' Chris Wondolowski voted MLS MVP

Earthquakes' Chris Wondolowski voted MLS MVP

CARSON, Calif. (AP) Chris Wondolowski won Major League Soccer's MVP award Thursday by an appropriately huge margin for the San Jose Earthquakes forward who dominated the league's goal-scoring race.

Wondolowski capped his remarkable season by lifting the MVP trophy at Home Depot Center during the week of festivities leading up to the MLS Cup on Saturday.

``It's an individual award, but I like to think of it as a team award, because I wouldn't be here without those guys,'' Wondolowski said. ``There's not many one-man goals scored by our team, and that shows you what kind of a team we have.''

The Bay Area native scored 27 goals, tying the MLS season record set by Tampa Bay's Roy Lassiter in 1996, and won the Golden Boot as the league's top scorer while leading San Jose to the Supporters' Shield with the best regular-season record. He is the first Earthquakes player to win the MVP award, and the first MLS player to lead the league in goals for three straight years.

The 29-year-old former Earthquakes reserve team player received 91 percent of MLS club management votes, 97 percent of media votes and 71 percent of player votes for a combined 259 percent. Thierry Henry of New York Red Bulls was runner-up with a combined 14 percent, and Graham Zusi of Sporting Kansas City was third with 7 percent.

``There's a terrific story that Chris brings to our league, one that I think serves as an inspiration for all those tens of millions of people that play this game,'' MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. ``To be able to go and get signed by an MLS club, play as a reserve player and then become one of the great players in Major League Soccer is something that speaks to his tremendous prowess.''

Wondolowski wasn't recruited to play Division I soccer out of De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif., but was drafted by MLS' first version of the Earthquakes in 2005 after starring at Chico State. He moved to Houston with that Earthquakes franchise in 2006, but scored just four MLS goals in parts of four seasons with the Dynamo before the expansion Earthquakes acquired him in a trade in June 2009.

Wondolowski immediately capitalized on his first consistent playing time under San Jose coach Frank Yallop, leading MLS with 18 goals in 2010 before tying for the league lead with 16 last season.

``There's not a more deserving person to win this,'' Yallop said. ``He's such a team fella. He just wants to win. He's not selfish. He'd do anything for his teammates, all the things you'd want in a player. To have 27 goals is an amazing feat in this very tough league.''

Wondolowski arrived in Los Angeles from Washington, D.C., where he had spoken with several U.S. senators in recent days to raise awareness for Native American health issues. Wondolowski's mother is a member of the Kiowa tribe.

``It's part of my heritage, part of who I am,'' Wondolowski said. ``I still have a lot of family there, and it means a lot to me to shine light onto their conditions.''

In awards announced Wednesday, Kansas City's Jimmy Nielsen was voted Goalkeeper of the Year, receiving a combined 146 percent. Chivas USA's Dan Kennedy was second with 30 percent followed by Seattle's Michael Gspurning with 28 percent.

Columbus forward Federico Higuain - the brother of Real Madrid's Gonzolo Higuain - was voted Newcomer of the Year. He received 59 percent, followed by San Jose defender Victor Bernardez (51) and Gspurning (32).

Quick Links

Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

USA Today Sports Images

Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Canadiens will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


The Capitals (43-24-7) take on the Canadiens (27-36-12) Saturday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Montreal.


The Capitals-Canadiens game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. for postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals at Canadiens
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime


You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

Quick Links

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—D-line scoop, Alex Smith's big deal

USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—D-line scoop, Alex Smith's big deal

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 24, 33 days before the NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

Free agency update: What's next for the Redskins on the D-line? The Redskins have been casting out lines for defensive linemen since before free agency officially started but they haven’t been able to reel one in. Part of the issue might be that they know that Vita Vea and Da’Ron Payne are likely to be available in the draft. They have to balance spending big on a lineman vs. being able to get one pretty cheap for the next five years.

Redskins make a D-line contract change, gain roster flexibility—Speaking of the D-line, the team negotiated the removal of a salary guarantee for one player to give themselves more flexibility when it comes time to cut the roster down to 53 in September. See the post for details.

Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract—In the words of Joe Biden, this is a big f-----g deal. It showed that the Redskins aren’t afraid to pay a quarterback big money if they think it’s the right guy. It should be noted that whether or not they chose the right guy is something that remains to be seen. Although the post shows that it’s plausible for the Redskins to terminate the deal after three years, I anticipate Smith playing out at least four if not all five years of the contract.

Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign Scandrick—Orlando Scandrick has struggled with injuries the past few years and Redskins fans did not greet the news of his signing with great enthusiasm, to say the least. To point out the bright side, his contract is not pricey by NFL terms ($2.6 million cap hit this year, no guaranteed money beyond a $1 million signing bonus) and from what I have been able to gather it’s possible that change of scenery might give him a boost for a year or two.

Tweet of the week

Well before free agency started, I wrote that the Redskins’ top priorities in free agency should be to get extensions done for Smith, Brandon Scherff, and Jamison Crowder. They should have about $15 million to work with after a few more free agent signings and that would be plenty to get all of those extensions done. And if they do score a big free agent signing, it would be worth it to restructure the contract of someone like Ryan Kerrigan to get them done.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 23
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 124
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 169

In case you missed it