Before Chris Wondolowski and the San Jose Earthquakes can begin their run toward an MLS Cup, the star scorer has one final shot at making league history.
Wondolowski needs two goals Saturday to become the league's single-season record holder as the visiting Earthquakes look to extend their undefeated stretch to nine matches when they conclude the regular season against the Portland Timbers.
Setting franchise records with a 19-6-8 mark and 65 points, San Jose has clinched its second Supporters' Shield and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. However, Wondolowski still has something to play for Saturday as the Earthquakes try to go undefeated in nine consecutive MLS matches for the first time since a 4-0-5 stretch July 12-Sept. 13, 2008.
The forward scored his career-high 26th goal in Sunday's 2-2 home finish against Los Angeles that pushed the Earthquakes to 5-0-3 in their last eight. The tally left a humble Wondolowski one goal behind Roy Lassiter's league record of 27 set in 1996 for Tampa Bay.
"I don't think too much about the record," said Wondolowski, who has scored 61 goals in the last three seasons. "It's an honor for me to be within one goal of sharing this record with (Lassiter). My mind frame going into Portland will remain the same, which is to perform my best for my team and work for a win."
Wondolowski went scoreless in his first three career matches against Portland (8-16-9) before scoring twice late to help San Jose rally for a 2-2 home result against the Timbers on Sept. 19.
Though San Jose will begin the postseason in good position to claim its third MLS Cup, the Earthquakes are 0-3-1 versus Portland. The Timbers, who posted a 2-1 home victory over San Jose on July 3, look to conclude their disappointing sophomore MLS season with a second straight victory after beating Vancouver 1-0 on Sunday.
Jack Jewsbury scored in the 39th minute as Portland snapped an 0-3-3 slide and won for the first time on the road this season. The victory also gave the Timbers the fan-created Cascadia Cup, a trophy awarded to the team with the best record among MLS' three Pacific Northwest clubs.
"It's been a long season for (the fans) and it's been a long season for the organization, and while this doesn't remove some of the things that have happened over the course of the season, it's a positive and it's something we can take into next season," Portland general manager and interim coach Gavin Wilkinson said.
One of Jewsbury's three goals this season came in the home win over San Jose, while all three of teammate Danny Mwanga's 2012 goals have come against the Earthquakes.