Whether Chris Wondolowski breaks Roy Lassiter’s 27-goal single-season record or not on Saturday night in Portland (6:30 pm ET, NBCSN, live chat on MLSsoccer.com), the fact that San Jose’s striker even surpassed 25 goals is a feat in itself.
In the 17 years since Lassiter set the all-time mark in the league’s 1996 inaugural season, only three times has the league’s leading scorer netted more than 20 goals.
But after Wondo, which MLS player is most likely to get close to 27 goals next season? We take a look at the three most probable candidates
3. Jairo Arrieta (Columbus Crew) – In his brief spell in the league this season (nine goals in 17 matches), the Costa Rican has shown he has a nose for goal. He has a knack for making the right runs and he will just about shoot from anywhere. With a healthy Federico Higuaín feeding him balls in 2013, Arrieta should be among the leading scorers next season.
2. Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy) – If the Irishman doesn’t go on loan during the offseason and if his commitments to the Republic of Ireland don’t interfere with his MLS play, Keane should rank high on the Golden Boot charts. His tireless off-the-ball runs are the best of any forward in MLS and with a little better finishing, he should be able to improve on his haul of 16 goals in 27 matches this year.
1. Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders) – This year was EJ’s return to MLS, but he only got his first start in the club’s fifth league match. He also missed out on three matches and failed to start in four others. Those 10-plus league matches could prove the difference between his current 14-goal season and a Lassiter-type campaign.