Why Landon Donovan's date with destiny won't wait much longer & other Week 1 statistical notes
After Saturday night's 1-0 LA Galaxy loss to Real Salt Lake, Landon Donovan still sits on goal No. 134, one shy from separating himself from Jeff Cunningham atop the all-time list. So it didn't happen for him in Week 1. But it's a good bet it'll happen in the Galaxy's next game.
Here's why. For one, Donovan just doesn't go through slumps very often. Saturday marked his third straight regular-season game without a goal, dating back to last season. Other than his career-worst drought of nine games without a goal in 2012, three matches is the longest he has ever gone without scoring a goal (it's happened only three times).
And the schedule is kind to the Galaxy star. LA's next league game is March 22 at that same RSL side. Although Donovan didn't score against them on Saturday, he averages close to a goal every other game on the Claret-and-Cobalt: nine in 19 career matches.
If somehow he doesn't set the mark at Rio Tinto, the Galaxy next "hit the road" to take on Chivas USA on April 6 at StubHub Center. In 23 games against his Superclasico rivals, Donovan has 11 goals.
With the opponents coming up, don’t expect him to share the record much longer.
• Home not so sweet? In addition to LA losing their home opener to RSL on Saturday, Portland narrowly escaped with a point in theirs -- not a particularly auspicious start for two would-be MLS Cup contenders opening the season in their own buildings.
But neither team need be worried: Recent MLS Cup winners didn’t exactly came out of the gates hot, either. Only two of the past seven champions won their home openers. As a matter of fact, in the Galaxy’s four MLS Cup-winning seasons, they won only one of their home openers.
• Something afoul: Sporting KC committed 25 fouls in their opening loss to Seattle on Saturday, tied for the most they have conceded since 2011. Since 2011, SKC have committed 21 or more fouls eight times, winning two and drawing three for an average of 1.13 points per game. This pales in comparison to when they only foul 11-15 times in a game. In those games, Peter Vermes’ teams have averaged 1.80 points per game.
• Something more afoul: Speaking of fouls, a big topic of conversation coming into opening weekend was the replacement refs. In the eight matches played, they called an average of 31.3 fouls per game. This was a slight uptick over last year’s opening weekend, when games averaged 26.6 fouls per game. Games in 2013, in total, averaged 24.8 fouls per game.
• Attaboy, rook! Rookie Thomas McNamara scored Chivas USA's second goal on Sunday in his MLS debut. In doing so, he became the 12th rookie since 2010 to find the net in his first league game.