When Alan Gordon came into the league last year there wasn't the typical fanfare involved with new rookies. He wasn't wearing a suit. There wasn't the obligatory photo op with the head coach or general manager at the draft. There wasn't the preseason speculation as to how Gordon would contribute as a rookie.
At this time last year, Gordon was preparing for his rookie campaign with the Portland Timbers of the A-League. The 23-year-old did nothing short of dismantle every defense he faced, tying for the league lead in goals scored. His performance caught the eye of Galaxy head coach Steve Sampson who quickly brought him into the fold in Los Angeles.
Joining the Galaxy so late in the season last year didn't translate into very much playing time, but he did manage to gain some great memories.
"When I stepped out at The Home Depot Center my first start, that was definitely the highlight of my career," Gordon said.
The late-season performance resulted in an MLS contract, and thus far this preseason the Galaxy striker has shown plenty of promise, finding the back of the net on several occasions in exhibition games. Gordon hopes that his performance so far will translate into more time on the pitch.
"Steve's going to put in who's playing the best," said Gordon, "whoever's knocking in the goals."
With the recent trade of Carlos Ruiz to FC Dallas, and the acquisition of Landon Donovan, the Galaxy boss now has to decide what the best lineup will be for his team. Does he play Donovan up top in place of Ruiz, or does he play Donovan in behind the strikers, a role he's had with the U.S. national team? If Donovan is up front, you can expect Jovan Kirovski to play in the center of midfield. Sampson could even go with a 4-3-3 formation playing with three forwards. In either case there is still a job opening up top that needs to be filled.
Sampson likes the fact that he has so many options at his disposal, and likes Gordon's chances to step up and perform.
"The competition up top is fierce this year," Sampson said. "It wasn't a fluke that (Gordon) led the A-League in scoring as a rookie."
Of course Gordon hopes to have a productive season -- he's still looking to notch his first career MLS goal, and lock up a spot in the Galaxy starting lineup. But as is the case with many athletes, superstition abounds with Gordon, and you won't hear him talk about what he hopes to accomplish.
"I always set goals for myself," he said. "I try to keep them personal so I don't jinx myself."
Greg Daurio is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.