CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan’s quest for history will resume on Saturday.
When LA return to action on Saturday against Real Salt Lake in their MLS regular season opener, Donovan will resume his pursuit of the league’s all-time regular season goal scoring mark. Donovan tied Jeff Cunningham’s mark of 134 regular season goals with two impressive finishes in LA’s 5-0 victory over Chivas USA in September.
The chance to add another accolade to the most extraordinary resume in American soccer is meaningful for Donovan, but what is most important to the Galaxy star is that the record will reflect his most impressive achievement: the ability to be a consistent contributor to his teams.
“What it means is that I’ve been consistent and in my opinion that’s the hardest thing to do in sports... and the athletes that do that are the ones that I admire the most,” said Donovan. “The flash in the pan one or two year guys can do it and that’s exciting, but if you sustain it for a long period of time then that’s what is most impressive. That’s what I’d be most proud of.”
Due the magnitude of the record, one wouldn’t be surprised if Donovan was “pressing” in hopes of taking sole possession of the scoring mark, but don’t expect the LA attacker to fall victim to such emotions.
“All I do is focus on me,” said Donovan. “If I get into the right spot then I’m always trying to score, whether it’s my first goal or my 130-something.”
And the memory of his first goal is still fresh in Donovan’s mind.
Donovan’s first goal came on May 19, 2001 at Spartan Stadium in San Jose in the Earthquakes’ 2-0 victory over the MetroStars.
“It came against [current U.S. National Team teammate] Tim Howard. It had been 12 games that I didn’t score a goal, but [coach] Frank Yallop stayed with me,” said Donovan. “The team was playing well and he believed in me. When it came, it was a huge relief.
“It was a breakaway, one of those hot summer days back in the olden days,” added Donovan. “It was a long breakaway and Tim just kept backing up and backing up. I think that he wanted me to score.”
Yes, there will be a day when the nation’s greatest soccer player hangs up his boots, but despite being another year older, Donovan isn’t about to entertain the notion of retirement just yet.
“We’ll get through the year and see how I feel. I’ll leave the [talk] for others,” said Donovan. “I simply live in the moment… I try to be the best player that I can be and I leave the rest for other people to talk about.”