Time to celebrate? Landon Donovan says "not yet" after equaling MLS goals record
CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan climbed even with Jeff Cunningham atop Major League Soccer's all-time goals list with a nifty pair in the LA Galaxy's 5-0 dismantling of neighbors Chivas USA, but he was much more pleased with the three points won than the 134 goals he's scored.
He first pulled even with Jaime Moreno, with 133, finishing a cross from Gyasi Zardes in the 23rd minute for a 2-0 lead, then claimed a share of the regular-season record on a 41st-minute breakaway to give LA a four-goal advantage.
“If this had happened earlier in my career, I would have thought about it more,” said Donovan, whose season total is up to 10, the seventh time in 13 seasons he's hit double-digits. “But we're in a playoff race, so for us right now, it's about winning. But at halftime, it hit me and I realized it. I'll sit and think about it at some point, but for now I want to keep going. It would be nice to get [sole possession of the record] and get it out of the way, so there's no attention on it.
“I would trade ... maybe not all of them, but most of them for another championship ring. So, hopefully, we do that.”
Donovan already was MLS's all-time, all-games scoring leader – he's up to 156, including a record 22 postseason goals – and is the career leader for the US national team, too, with 57 in 153 appearances.
“We've known Landon for a long time,” associate head coach Dave Sarachan, who guided LA while Bruce Arena served a one-game suspension. “Very proud over these years to follow Landon, be a part of Landon's career and now witness a bit of history, and we say it over and over: When Landon's healthy and at full tilt, you take him over anybody. I'm very proud and he should feel proud about the achievement, but he'll be the first to tell you the three points were more important.”
Not all of his teammates were aware he was so close to the record, nor that he had tied Cunningham's mark, but they certainly were proud of the accomplishment.
“I didn't know that,” said captain Robbie Keane, who also scored twice, when he was asked about it. “Nice. It's a great achievement for anyone to score that amount of goals. Hopefully, he can beat it next week.”
The Galaxy next play Oct. 16 against Montreal, but Donovan might have to wait until the following game, four days later against San Jose – his original MLS team – to aim for No. 135. He's slated to join the national team for its final two World Cup qualifiers, and the finale in Panama is the day before the Montreal game.
“Hopefully, we can do it in a week and a half against Montreal, if I'm back,” said Donovan, who said he'd let Arena and Jurgen Klinsmann figure out if he should return to Southern California after Friday's qualifier in Kansas City against Jamaica. “If I'm with the national team, then potentially against San Jose. But we'll see. If it comes, it comes, great. Knock on wood, nothing happens and there's no injuries, it's going to happen at some point.
“Hopefully, we can get it and put it behind us, but I want to keep winning. It's more fun when you win. It wouldn't have felt the same had we lost today.”