Scoring takes center stage with Villa vs. Nikolic in tight Golden Boot Race and Wondo within reach of all-time record
The 2017 Golden Boot race is heating up after New York City FC forward David Villa not only scored a hat trick, but also notched his 17th goal of the season to overtake the former league-leading tally of 16 held by Chicago Fire forward Nemanja Nikolić. An MLS All-Star and the top-ranked finisher for the past 10 straight weeks, Nikolić has established himself as force to be reckoned with after two impressive scoring streaks, including six goals in four games from April 29-May 17 and five goals in four games from June 10-July 1. Nikolić has accounted for 16 goals in the span of 18 games to date this season, but he has also experienced a bit of a dry spell in recent weeks, going without a single finish in the last month from July 5-Aug. 5. Villa, on the other hand, is living up to the steady production that earned him 2016 MLS Landon Donovan Most Valuable player honors. Finishing one goal at a time for much of the 2017 season, his sparks of two-goal games on March 12, May 21 and June 17 in addition to his first MLS career three-goal game on Aug. 6 could prove this year’s race to be more of a marathon than a sprint.
San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski is rapidly closing in on the MLS all-time career goal-scoring record, as he currently sits in fourth place with a tally of 130 goals scored in his 13 seasons. With 12 games remaining and San Jose barely above the playoff line, some late season heroics could see Wondo catching D.C. United forward Jaime Moreno’s third-place tally of 133 goals scored in 15 seasons or former Columbus Crew SC striker Jeff Cunningham’s second-place total of 134 earned in 14 seasons. Landon Donovan holds the top spot with 145 goals scored in his 15 MLS seasons.