One thing that has always been said about the recent form of the San Jose Earthquakes is that they are incredibly consistent. They are an all-around good side. They are rarely ever bad and they are equally rarely ever great. They are nice and good. Right in the thick of any given playoff hunt and right in the midst of every other top side out there.
Even Chris Wondolowski doesn’t give off the impression of someone who is great. However, he is so consistently good that ‘great’ may be a better word for it. He has yet to score more than one goal in any single game this MLS season. Instead, he scores about one goal every single appearance. Again – remarkably good. Not great.
Having a club friendly against Real Sociedad may not seem like a big deal. It’s a friendly after all. But any time MLS can test its mettle, all of America should be tuning in. Plenty in Europe don’t see MLS as a competitive league. They see it as an afterthought, a retirement league. Nothing more. Even Steven Gerrard said that this league was not as easy as he thought it was going to be.
Tim Howard reinforced that thought with his own claim of MLS not being a retirement league.
But still, being matched up against an actual European opponent is a big deal. Remember that time NASL-side Atlanta beat Manchester City? It was a big deal. People paid attention. People cared.
Real Sociedad may not have the same power as City did at the time, but they have their quality players and they brought some of them to face off against San Jose at Avaya Stadium. The results were everything American soccer fans would want to see.
First of all, Real Sociedad got off to an early lead in the 10th minute. Alberto de la Bella slotted home to put the European side up, but San Jose wasn’t done. They would come back with two goals from who else but Chris Wondolowski to take home all of the bacon.
The win makes San Jose 6-0-4 in their past ten friendlies.
I know what most of you think of friendlies. If the USMNT can defeat Germany in a friendly, then what’s the point? Well, the point is that, matched up against European competition, America, and more specifically, America’s Mr. Consistency, were able to prevail. Wondolowski hasn’t scored two goals in a game all year but matched up against Real Sociedad, he did just that.
It’s no reason to wrap yourself in an American flag and run down the freeway, but it is reason to be excited. MLS is a strong league and wins like this will start to establish this point to Europeans and their leagues.