He may have been left off of the United States 2014 World Cup roster, but Landon Donovan is not letting that get him down. Donovan scored twice in the LA Galaxy’s 4-1 rout over the Philadelphia Union, breaking the MLS all-time scoring record with 136 goals. Watch him score the record-breaking 135th goal in the video below.
It had been eight months since the striker’s last goal in October, when he tied Jeff Cunningham’s record of 134 goals. The stretch was long and brutal for the soccer star, and, along with his lackluster attitude during international games, attributed to his exclusion from the upcoming tournament. Donovan, who has scored 57 goals for the United States side in his 12 years with the international squad, does not have the speed or ball skills he once had, according to Jurgen Klinsmann.
Yet Donovan showed plenty of his old flair on Sunday, and his first score of the night was met with chants of “USA! USA!” from the crowd. Donovan, whose parents and sister were in attendance, fell to his knees and raised two fists in the air in celebration before being mobbed by his teammates, wiping tears from his eyes, and running down the line to give Bruce Arena an emotional hug. His second goal came in the 81st minute and capped the deal for the record.
Breaking the MLS scoring record makes Landon Donovan the top scorer in two leagues now, as his international goal tally tops number-two-scorer Clint Dempsey by 19. He also holds the record for most assists by any player for the United States international team, with a career statistic of 58. Donovan only loses in most caps to Hall of Fame midfielder Cobi Jones; he has 156 international career appearances.
The LA Galaxy put on a clinic the same night that Donovan broke the MLS scoring record, netting four goals to Philadelphia’s one. LA’s only goal allowed was on a penalty kick in the 88th minute, scored by also-snubbed-by-Klinsmann Union striker Maurice Edu. Both of Donovan’s goals were assisted by Robbie Keane, who put in a shot of his own in the 64th minute. Leonardo scored the first goal with a header set up perfectly by playmaker Donovan.
It is possible that Donovan may still make it to Brazil, though. Klinsmann hinted that the 32-year-old was “on the list” for potential backups should any of the current 23 roster players suffer an injury or be ineligible to play for any reason. Though this is a poor consolation for a seasoned veteran like Donovan, breaking records is definitely the way to put himself on the top of that list. Fans may yet see number 10 on the international stage once more.
Whether Donovan makes an appearance in Brazil or not, he has cemented a place for himself in soccer history. American fans of the sport have been waiting for it to break into the same kind of popularity as football, baseball, and basketball. The controversy surrounding Donovan’s exclusion from the World Cup lit a fire in the sports world, bringing soccer to the forefront of news despite both basketball and hockey being in playoffs. Donovan’s record-breaking score for MLS will certainly fan that flame. Landon Donovan is the kind of player that could finally, truly, put soccer on the map in the United States.
Commentary by Christina Jones