Landon Donovan ties MLS scoring record but focus is on playoffs

Landon Donovan scored two goals in the Galaxy's 5-0 win over Chivas USA to equal Jeff Cunningham’s goal scoring record. Photo: Landon Donovan signs new contract in August as coach Bruce Arena looks on (Associated Press)

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2013 — Records are there to be broken and American soccer star Landon Donovan is one goal away from smashing a big one.

The Los Angeles Galaxy striker scored two goals in the Galaxy’s 5-0 win over Chivas USA on Sunday to earn his 134th MLS league goal and equal Jeff Cunningham’s goal scoring record. In the process, Donovan overtook D.C. United’s Jaime Moreno 133 goals, but he is not celbrating much.

“If this had happened earlier in my career, I would have thought about it more,” Donovan told the Associated Press “But we’re in a playoff race right now, so for us, it’s about winning. It would be nice to get (the record) out of the way so there’s no attention on it.”

It is easy to see why Donovan’s whole focus is not centered on the scoring record just yet. The Galaxy (48 points) are in a fierce battle to secure a playoff spot in the skin-tight Western Conference.

The L.A. outfit is on a quest to win three league consecutive MLS Cups but thing haven’t gone the way the team expected this season. Major League Soccer’s reining champions are currently in fourth place in the division, two points behind the Portland Timbers, with just three games left on the season. At the end of regular season, the club in fourth place will host the fifth-placed team (currently the Colorado Rapids, 48 pts.) in a one-off game to decide who advances to the conference semifinals. That’s something the Galaxy wish to avoid. While many pundits admit the Galaxy are one of the strongest teams in the league with players such as Donovan, Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez, the fact is, the club could be a whisker away from not making the conference semifinals.

Donovan will have to wait to the Oct. 16, after the international break, when the Galaxy host the high-flying Montreal, to get another crack at earning his record-breaking 135th goal. After that the Galaxy host the San Jose Earthquakes on Oct. 20, and then end the season with a tough road-game at the Seattle Sounders on Oct. 27, the last 2013 MLS league game.

With 117 assists, Donovan is also closing in on Steve Ralston’s (135) assists record.

For now, Donovan’s focus will be on his U.S. national team duties. The Americans, who have already booked a place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, play Jamaica on Oct. 11 at Sporting Park in Kansas City, KS, and close out World Cup qualifying at Panama on Oct. 15.

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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