Landon Donovan nears MLS all-time scoring record

 Landon Donovan is just five goals away from becoming Major League Soccer’s all-time leading goal scorer. Photo: Associated Press

WASHINGTON, August 15, 2013 — Everyone loves seeing sporting records shattered and this one is a big one. Landon Donovan, who has broken nearly ever record for the U.S. men’s national team, is just five goals away from becoming Major League Soccer’s all-time leading goal scorer.

Donovan notched a hat trick last weekend in the Los Angeles Galaxy’s 3-3 tie at Dallas FC to take his tally to 130 goals and give new life to the MLS goal scoring race. The 31-year old American striker has 11 games left in the MLS season to overtake Jeff Cunningham’s 134 goal record set on August 27, 2011.

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Donovan was in excellent form last month for the U.S. team in the CONCACAF Gold Cup where he earned five goals and seven assists to win the Golden Ball as the tournament’s MVP. He leads the U.S. team all-time in goal scoring with 56 goals.

It looks like his club-form has gone up an extra notch too.

Up next for the Galaxy is a home match against Real Salt Lake on Saturday. In his career, Donovan has scored nine goals in 17 games against the Utah outfit.

In a poll on the MLS website, the majority of voters thought that Donovan could break Cunningham’s record in the Galaxy’s second-to-last game of the season against San Jose on Oct. 20. Donovan and the Galaxy visit D.C. United at RFK Stadium on Sept. 14. Donovan has scored 14 goals in 19 games against United.

Cunningham earned his 134 goals in 365 games, 233 starts, while runner-up, D.C. United legend, Jaime Moreno, notched 133 goals in 340 games (295 starts). Donovan has reached his goal-haul much quicker than the than others, earning 130 goals in 295 games (275 starts). Forty-four of Moreno’s goals came from penalty kicks, while only 20 of Cunningham’s strikes came for the 12-yard spot. Donovan has 28 penalty kick goals from 33 attempts in his MLS career.

If Donovan does break the record, he will likely hold onto it for quite a while. The nearest active players in MLS behind Donovan on the scoring chart are Dwayne De Rosario (102 goals), Edson Buddle (95), Carlos Ruiz (88), Brian Ching (82), Chris Wondolowski (75), Kenny Cooper (69), Eddie Johnson (60) and Conor Casey (59). Many of those players are in the twilight of the careers.

John Haydon wrote a weekly soccer column for The Washington Times for 20 years. He has covered two World Cups and written about Major League Soccer from the league’s inception in 1996.

Follow John on Twitter at @Johnahaydon or email

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John Haydon

John Haydon has covered soccer for The Washington Times for two decades. He has reported on international soccer events in Germany, South Korea and Spain. John hails from Birmingham, England and has lived in the Washington D.C. region for over twenty years.  

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