With goal record still unclaimed, LA Galaxy's Landon Donovan admits "It'd be nice to hit the net"
CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan last scored for the LA Galaxy the last time they took on Chivas USA, netting a pair of goals in a 5-0 romp last October to pull even with Jeff Cunningham atop MLS' career list.
He'd like to score No. 135, for sole possession of the regular-season goals mark, when LA face the Goats in Sunday afternoon's first SuperClasico meeting of the season (3 pm ET, UniMas), but that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with setting records.
“I don't think [the goal to claim the record] would mean more because it's against them,” Donovan said following Friday morning's training session at StubHub Center. “I'd like to score, in general. It'd be nice to hit the net.
“In the first four games, with [CONCACAF] Champions League, I think I've played pretty well. I thought I played OK the other night in Phoenix [for the US national team against Mexico]. I feel like I'm doing well, I feel like I'm moving well, but it's always nice to hit the goal, and I'd like to hit the goal.”
- RIVALRY WEEK: Chivas USA-LA Galaxy SuperClasico, Sun. 3 pm ET, UniMas
Donovan played a reserve role in Wednesday's 2-2 draw with Mexico in Glendale, Ariz., because, US coach Jurgen Klinsmann told media afterward, “He didn't train well ... had no tempo ... had no higher pace, higher rhythm” in preparations for the match.
Donovan, who said afterward he was limited by a knock to his left knee, noted that “It was a little bit of a tough week ... and to not be 100 percent was frustrating.” He said he feels good heading into the weekend.
The 32-year-old attacker owns the USMNT's record for goals (57) and assists (58) and is second on MLS's career assists list with 117, 18 off Steve Ralston's record. He's acknowledged the MLS goals record “means something to me” but that he doesn't “think about it until it's brought up.”
It's not how he measures his game.
“I'm in a different phase. I don't judge how I play based on if I score,” he said. “I mean, I've played a lot of bad games in my life where I score a goal, and you feel like, 'Oh, I'm great,' but I'd rather continue to play well and not score, if that's what happens.
“I think for myself, I deserve to score. I deserve to get myself in good position to score, so hopefully it happens this weekend.”
Donovan has had opportunity in both Galaxy league games this year to score No. 135. He was one-on-one with Nick Rimando but fired at the Real Salt Lake goalkeeper in the March 8 opener, a 1-0 Galaxy defeat. He might have netted a stoppage-time winner in the rematch two weeks ago, a 1-1 draw, but chose to pass to Robbie Keane when he had an open shot near the top of the box.
Sometimes, he admits, he needs to be more selfish.
“It's sort of ingrained in me, and Bruce [Arena] and I work on it all the time,” Donovan said. “But I'm also one that gets as much enjoyment out of someone else scoring, so we'll try to do a better job of balancing it.”