As we prepare for MLS to open its 18th season, it's always fun to guess who's going to do what in the new year.
Who's going to win the MLS Cup? The Supporter's Shield? MVP?
The reigning MVP, Chris Wondolowski, set a league record with 27 goals in 2012. Of San Jose's 72 tallies, Wondolowski accounted for 37.5 percent of them. If you include his seven assists, he was responsible for 47.2 percent of the Earthquakes' offense.
Will Wondolowski come back and break his own record in 2013? No, I don't think he will. Will he be atop the league's top scorer again? That depends.
Whether or not Wondolowski tops the scoring charts again will depend on how much time he misses for national team duty. As it currently stands, I have him missing three games. I can see him missing home matches against Seattle (Mar. 23) and Vancouver (Sept. 14) and a road match against Colorado (June 15).
This, obviously, assumes a couple things. One, that Wondolowski will get called in for all of the matches in the Hex. Two, that he won't get called in for the Gold Cup.
Why do I think Wondolowski won't get called in for the Gold Cup, you ask? Simply put, I think Jurgen Klinsmann will use the Gold Cup to get some younger players experience playing in a competitive environment. Could it backfire? Sure, but considering that this Gold Cup qualifies for absolutely nothing except for CONCACAF's wallet, there's no real point to it.
Now, back to why I think Wondolowski can, and will, top the scoring charts again in 2013. Another reason is the last time Wondolowski didn't finish at least tied for first in goals in MLS was 2009.
In 2010, Wondolowski topped the league with 18 goals. He tied with Dwayne DeRosario in 2011 with 16 strikes. We all know what he did last year.
San Jose will continue to rely on Wondolowski for the bulk of their offense. Most of their offseason transactions concerned the defense, with only forward Mike Fucito (via trade) and midfielder Dan Delgado (via SuperDraft) being added to the squad.
Until MLS defenses prove they can stop him, look for Wondolowski to top the scoring charts.
You think you have another candidate to lead the league in goals in 2013? Put your nominations in the comments.