Two players from the league’s best two teams were separated by one vote for April Player of the Month honors with San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski edging out defender Aurelien Collin of Sporting Kansas City on the North American Soccer Reporters ballot.
By pattern, the recognition is a little early for Wondolowski, who was named Player of the Month the past two years in the month of October. It is the second Player of the Month honor since he won his third, and last, Player of the Week selection at the close of the 2010 season.
Wondolowski’s four goals and two assists for the month keyed the club’s April performance and lifted the Earthquakes into a tie for first in the Western Conference with Real Salt Lake, having played two fewer games total. And the 6-1-0 record is only second to the nearly flawless start of Sporting Kansas City, which leads the league at 7-1-0.
Accounting for more than half of the team’s 15 goals, the striker is second in the league in goals with eight in eight games played thus far, trailing leader Thierry Henry (New York) by one.
The California native started the month with a two-goal performance in a 3-1 victory over visiting Vancouver, tallying the initial equalizer in the 68th minute and providing an insurance goal 10 minutes later. The equalizer snapped Vancouver’s MLS record for a season-starting shutout streak, which had broken New York’s 2007 record of 421 minutes only five minutes prior.
A week later in a showdown of two of the league’s hottest teams, Wondolowski was a key component in a 2-2 draw in New York as the Earthquakes rallied twice. He set up Rafael Baca’s equalizer in the 14th minute and then scored the club’s second to level terms once again in the 35th minute.
In a contest for first in the Western Conference, the Earthquakes battled visiting Real Salt Lake despite having a two-man advantage. With the club finding the winner two minutes into stoppage, Wondolowski added the last nail with the final tally in a 3-1 win, extending his goal scoring streak to five games.
Last week in Philadelphia that streak came to an end, however, Wondolowski notched an assist on the opening tally in the 76th minute as Steven Lenhart scored twice in a 2-1 victory that earned him Player of the Week honors.
Leading the other top vote-getters was Collin, whose performance at both ends of the pitch with two goals, game-winners versus RSL and Vancouver, and three shutouts in April kept Kansas City at the top of the league table. He was narrowly defeated in the voting eight votes to seven. Will Bruin (Houston), Thierry Henry (New York) and Maicon Santos (DC) received two votes each.
The Major League Soccer Player of the Week and Month honors are selected during the MLS regular season by a panel of journalists from The North American Soccer Reporters (NASR). The group consists of members of print, television, radio and online media. More information and membership information can be found at www.soccerreporters.com.
How They Voted:
|Voter||First Choice||Second Choice|
|Bobby McMahon||Aurelien Collin (KC)||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)|
|Orrin Schwartz||Aurelien Collin (KC)||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)|
|Scott French||Aurelien Collin (KC)||Maicon Santos (DC)|
|Jose Romero||Aurelien Collin (KC)||Michael Gspurning (SEA)|
|Gerald Barnhart||Aurelien Collin (KC)||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)|
|Beau Dure||Aurelien Collin (KC)||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)|
|Steve Clare||Aurelien Collin (KC)||Will Bruin (HOU)|
|Buzz Carrick||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)||Thierry Henry (NY)|
|Elliott Almond||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)||Thierry Henry (NY)|
|Lisa Eisenmenger||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)||Thierry Henry (NY)|
|Marc Connolly||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)||Maicon Santos (DC)|
|Tom Timmermann||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)||Will Bruin (HOU)|
|Jonathan Tannenwald||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)||Thierry Henry (NY)|
|Jonah Freedman||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)||Thierry Henry (NY)|
|Don Ruiz||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)||Thierry Henry (NY)|
|Phil Schoen||Maicon Santos (DC)||Hayner Mosquera (POR)|
|Michael Lewis||Maicon Santos (DC)||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)|
|Nick Thomas||Thierry Henry (NY)||Aurelien Collin (KC)|
|JP Dellacamera||Thierry Henry (NY)||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)|
|Gina Falcone-Rupp||Will Bruin (HOU)||Zach MacMath (PHI)|
|Dan Girard||Will Bruin (HOU)||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)|