Donovan joins elite club with 100th regular-season assist
Landon Donovan joined a very small, very select collection of players during the Galaxy's victory last weekend in Portland when he picked up his 100th Major League Soccer regular-season assist.
He's only the sixth MLS player to reach triple figures in assists, but the company of men to hit the century mark for goals and assists is even more exclusive: Donovan and D.C. United legend Jaime Moreno.
Donovan reached the milestone with his feed for Robbie Keane's 28th-minute strike, LA's fourth goal in a 5-3 romp that sent the defending MLS Cup champions to their fifth win in seven games.
The Galaxy captain has 122 career regular-season goals, the last on a penalty kick just 64 seconds before Keane's strike. Moreno, who finished a 15-year MLS career two years ago, has 133 goals and 102 assists while playing in 340 games, 68 more than Donovan.
“I'm proud of it, very proud of it,” Donovan said on the eve of the Galaxy's match Wednesday night at Vancouver (10 pm ET, TSN2/RDS in Canada, MLS Live in US). “I guess what I'm most proud of is the consistency and doing it for a number of years, like Jaime did. I've always tried to take pride in the fact that I can do it year after year, and this is a good milestone.”
Donovan, who entered MLS in 2001 and joined the Galaxy in 2005, has reached double figures in assists five times, most recently when he led the league with 16 in 2010. He's scored at least 10 goals a half-dozen times, with 12 last season.
He has seven goals and six assists this year, five and four in the last six games.
Donovan isn't far from Jeff Cunningham's career goals record, 134, but catching Steve Ralston's assist mark might be difficult. Ralston has 135, more than 20 ahead of No. 2 Carlos Valderrama (114). Also with 100: Preki (112) and Marco Etcheverry (101).
Six players have 100 or more goals: Cunningham (134), Moreno (133), Donovan (122), Ante Razov (114), Jason Kreis (108) and Taylor Twellman (101). Add in playoff tallies, and Donovan — MLS' postseason goals leader, with 20 — sits at 142, behind only Cunningham (147) and Moreno (145).
D.C. United's Dwayne De Rosario (98 regular season/103 including playoffs), Carlos Ruiz (88/104) and Galaxy striker Edson Buddle (92/101) also are in triple figures for all games.
Donovan, who scored his 100th regular-season goal in a loss to Chicago on Aug. 1, 2010, says there isn't a whole lot of difference between scoring and assisting 100 goals.
“To me, they're pretty similar,” he said. “Obviously, a goal is more exciting, but I'm equally proud of this. I always wanted to be a player who can score but can also help my teammates out, so this is meaningful.”
Joining Moreno is a distinct class — that, too, is an honor.
“For the years that Jaime played in this league, I always thought he was the best player in this league,” Donovan said. “He was a good player, but he was also a good pro, and he was a good teammate, and guys around the league liked him. He was always fun to watch, and the few times I had a chance to play with him were a lot of fun. In my mind, he'll always be remembered as one of the best ever to play in this league.”