The only way the San Jose Earthquakes weren't going to win the Western Conference is if they lost to the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night. Well, they didn't, taking down Seattle 2-1 to move 11 points clear of second place in the conference. The math hasn't crowned them the best team in the West yet, but reality has. San Jose are your Western Conference champs.
Of course, it was Chris Wondolowski who scored the winner for San Jose. MLS's leading goalscorer, who is taking aim at the league's single-season scoring record, just ghosted away from his marker in the 30th minute. All alone, he just had to simply redirect the ball home from close range for his 22nd of the season and the eventual match-winner.
The Quakes went in front after just two minutes when they jumped on a giveaway by Steve Zakuani. Eventually Simon Dawkins got on the ball, cut in from the left and unleashed a wicked shot from more than 20 yards to beat Michael Gspurning for the opening tally.
Zakuani made up for that with the equalizer, but most of the credit goes to Sammy Ochoa. He held a defender off, flicked the ball past him and then his the ball across the frame of goal that Zakuani just had to tap into the empty net to make things even.
But eventually, Wondolowski got involved. He scored the winner and the Quakes had themselves a key win. Besides being way out in front of the West, they are now five points clear of Kansas City in the Supporters' Shield race and look like good bets to claim the trophy.
The loss actually drops Seattle all the way down to fourth place, which would require them to play in the wild card playoff game against the fifth place team in the West. The Sounders trail the Galaxy and RSL by one point for second place.