Gyasi Zardes thumbs up - Columbus Crew - September 19, 2020
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Golden Boot race: How the 2020 field looks as the MLS regular season winds down

The race for the 2020 MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi is heating up, as most teams only have five regular-season games left on the calendar. While chasing Audi MLS Cup Playoff spots, certain goalscorers are also seeking an individual award. 

Diego Rossi is the leader heading into the stretch drive of the 2020 MLS season, but with the LAFC forward quarantining after joining Uruguay for World Cup qualifiers, the door is open for several others to claim the glory.

Gyasi Zardes has moved within a goal of Rossi's lead with his stoppage-time insurance tally in a 3-1 win over NYCFC Sunday night. Zardes, who is seeking his first Golden Boot award, gets a crack at tying or taking the lead outright when the Columbus Crew take on the Houston Dynamo Saturday (8 pm ET | TV & streaming info) at BBVA Stadium. Columbus have five games remaining. 

Seattle Sounders forward Raul Ruidiaz is third on the list with nine goals, but he's currently quarantined in his native Peru after a positive COVID-19 test. Sounders GM Garth Lagerway has targeted an Oct. 27 match against the Vancouver Whitecaps for his possible return to the field

Toronto FC's Alejandro Pozuelo, arguably the favorite to capture the Landon Donovan MVP award, moved into an eight-way tie for fourth place, alongside his teammate Ayo Akinola, after his penalty kick in a 1-1 midweek draw against the New York Red Bulls. Toronto FC have four games remaining in the regular season.

Seattle Sounders winger Jordan Morris and Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse, who scored in a 1-1 draw against LAFC Sunday night, also have eight goals apiece, which should make for a juicy sidebar for the latest clash of Cascadia rivals Thursday (10:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info) at CenturyLink Field. Ebobisse appeared to suffer an injury late Sunday, though, so his spot in Gio Savarese's squad is in question. 

Also joining the logjam at fourth place is Chris Mueller, who scored his third goal against NYCFC this season in Orlando City SC's 1-1 draw last Wednesday, as well as Chicago Fire FC forward Robert Beric and Real Salt Lake's Mr. Everything Damir Kreilach, who both scored for their teams last week. 

Joining them on eight goals is LAFC's Bradley Wright-Phillips, who is one of four players in league history to win the Golden Boot award twice, joining Preki, Jeff Cunningham and Chris Wondolowski. No one has ever won the award three times. Could BWP do it?

And with six other player tied with seven goals, surely the race will go right down to the wire.

Here's where things stand:

Golden Boot leaders

Rank Name Club Goals
1 Diego Rossi LAFC 12
2 Gyasi Zardes Columbus Crew SC 11
3 Raul Ruidiaz Seattle Sounders 9
T-4 Jordan Morris Seattle Sounders 8
T-4 Bradley Wright-Phillips LAFC 8
T-4 Ayo Akinola Toronto FC 8
T-4 Alejandro Pozuelo Toronto FC 8
T-4 Chris Mueller Orlando City SC 8
T-4 Jeremy Ebobisse Portland Timbers 8
T-4 Damir Kreilach Real Salt Lake 8
T-4 Robert Beric Chicago Fire FC 8
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