As the MLS season approaches, MLSsoccer.com marks each passing day with a different statistic, observation or talking point, setting the stage for March 2.
11 – Goals Landon Donovan needs to be the league's all-time leading scorer
Let’s make this one short and sweet: Landon Donovan needs 11 goals to climb to the top of the all-time Major League Soccer scoring chart. He’s at 124. Jeff Cunningham is No. 1 with 134.
Can Landon get there in, say, 25 games? You just know people are going to be flogging the hell out of that story (this is our third Donovan-related "Countdown" piece in a row, for the record).
He’s coming back to Galaxy practice at the end of March, and given his historic ability to go from “offseason form” to “midseason form” at the drop of a hat – think about it, nobody’s been more dominant in those January friendlies, not to mention he was able to simply walk into Everton’s starting XI twice – I’m gonna say he needs two weeks to work out the kinks. At most.
At that point the question becomes, “Does Bruce Arena use him as a forward, or as a midfielder?” I personally like him more as a midfielder because Donovan, in space, is world class. As a forward, he tends to attract more attention, which means less time and space, and more defenders kicking chunks out of him.
However, Donovan himself has said that, at this stage of his career, he prefers playing up top. And it’s hard to argue with the results LA had with him and Robbie Keane leading the line last season.
If he’s a forward, then, can we expect 11 goals from him? His career goals per 90 minutes – .46 – suggests he’d need somewhere around 2,000 minutes to get there. He’s topped that mark six of the last seven seasons (setting a career high last year with 2,256, which I would not have guessed), and bagged 12 or more goals in five of his eight seasons in LA.
So it seems like a coin flip – I doubt we’ll have an answer to this one until the very last weekend of the season.
Which means you get a lot more of these articles to read.