Prolific San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski has comfortably clinched Major League Soccer’s Most Valuable Player award.
At the rate Wondolowski scored goals this past season, he was the strong favourite to win the award, and he did that in a landslide vote, capturing the division’s top individual honour on Thursday.
Wondolowski’s 27-goal season tied Roy Lassiter’s single-season MLS mark set in the inaugural 1996 campaign and helped propel the Earthquakes to the Supporters’ Shield.
Wondolowski, an afterthought pick in the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft who was traded from the Houston Dynamo to San Jose in 2009, has led MLS scoring for the past three years (he tied with Dwayne De Rosario last season and missed out on the Golden Boot due to the assists tiebreaker), amassing 61 goals in that time after totaling seven goals in the previous five seasons.
The California native beat New York Red Bulls forward Thierry Henry, Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi and Houston midfielder Brad Davis to win the prize, becoming the first Earthquake to do so.
The 29-year-old Wondolowski received 91.23 per cent of the club vote, 96.97 percent of the media vote and 70.83 percent of the player vote to coast to the award.
Wondolowski becomes the fifth United States-born player to win the MLS MVP award, joining Landon Donovan, Taylor Twellman, Jason Kreis and Tony Meola.
Another American to win the gong was the Yugoslavia-born Preki, who did so in 1997 and 2003.