Every week we find another reason to see the Galaxy as one of the teams to beat, if not the team to beat, for MLS Cup. (It would mark an unprecedented third in a row for Bruce Arena’s star-strewn team.) This week we were reminded of three of them. Landon Donovan scored again, and that makes five in four league matches since returning from that sensational Gold Cup reminder that he is still the best attackers this country has produced. There was Robbie Keane, who continued to build a solid league MVP case with yet another goal and yet another assist. And there was Jaime Penedo, the Panamanian international who has stabilized the club’s formerly concerning situation in goal. It all came as the Galaxy made pretty easy work of rival San Jose in a 3-0 win at the StubHub Center.
The Galaxy is 4-0-1 in all competitions since the All-Star game, and has not conceded a goal in its last three matches.
Donovan inches closer to goals record
Already U.S. Soccer’s all-time leading scorer and the LA Galaxy’s all-time leading scorer, Donovan has drawn ever so close to Jeff Cunningham’s all-time mark in Major League Soccer. His strike on Saturday against the Earthquakes was No. 132, leaving the 31-year-old forward just two shy of the all-time league mark, which Cunningham took from Jaime Moreno just three years ago. Donovan, who made last week’s big off-field splash by re-signing with the Galaxy, will miss L.A.’s next match while pulling national team duty, but will have six chances after that for records chasing.
The big gamble
You really have to hand it to New York Red Bulls manager Mike Petke, who is not even a full year into his first pro coaching assignment. In polite company we would say it like this: the man has courage.
How else to describe Petke’s decision to bench French superstar and former World Cup winner Thierry Henry? Henry doesn’t always play well with others, wearing his lack of patience with lesser players on his Red Bulls sleeve, frequently showing up his teammates. But that’s nothing new, and everyone seems to tolerate it.
What Petke could not allow, apparently, was a training-ground blow-up on Thursday. They hashed it out, but the upshot was a place for Henry on the bench near Petke for a match the wildly inconsistent Red Bulls absolutely could not afford to squander.
Sure enough — and what a relief for the manager — the Red Bulls prevailed 2-1 over woeful D.C. United.
Eddie Johnson and the coming storm
Clint Dempsey is four games into his highly paid days with Seattle, still stuck on no goals and no assists. But Seattle is winning, so no real pressure points are being reached.
Well, they wouldn’t be except for Eddie Johnson’s brazen message to the club, his “pay me” celebration upon scoring he only goal in Seattle’s weather-delayed win at Columbus.
Johnson’s deal is up at year’s end, he wants to remain in Seattle, and now he is scoring while $5 million man Dempsey isn’t. So you do the professional contract math.
Dempsey and Johnson go way back, so there may not be tension between the pair; Dempsey probably wants to see Johnson get a big, fat raise,too.
But how will the this play with fans, who have right to wonder where Johnson’s true loyalties lie? And how will the rest of the Sounders see Johnson’s self-centered actions with the team in such a healthy place, on such a swell roll, steadily climbing in the West?
Real Salt Lake on a goal tear
Portland was the latest to find itself brushed aside by a Real Salt Lake team that has achieved top offensive gear. After hitting three versus Portland two weeks ago and then four versus Columbus last week, Javier Morales led the offensive way as RSL crushed Portland in Utah, 4-2. With the latest win in Utah, RSL extended its lead in the West and for the Supporters Shield to five points, although all pursuers within bothering distance have games in hand.
“El Cubo” Torres rising
Chivas USA is getting something out of this season of misery. It’s Erick “El Cubo” Torres, the young striker on loan from mother Chivas, the Liga MX team in Guadalajara.
Torres had two more goals in Sunday’s 2-2 draw in Vancouver, including one very cool overhead kick. That followed last week’s two-goal evening, bringing the young striker’s total this year to six.
While it’s great that Chivas USA fans get something to feel good about this year, Torres is almost sure to be recalled for the Liga MX spring season – so he won’t be around the StubHub Center long.
Sporting KC back on track
Peter Vermes’ team found a rough patch in August, losing three times in league play losing ground in the tightly packed Eastern Conference playoff jostle, naturally) and finding goals in awfully short supply lately. So a commanding 2-1 victory over visiting Colorado should go far in helping to fortify any sagging confidence around Sporting Park.
Speaking of that match …
The weekend’s top goal
Benny Feilhaber’s can be maddeningly inconsistent, but Sporting KC’s former U.S. national teamed always has a special goal or two lurking about him. He sure dropped a doozy on helpless Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin in Round 27, an outside of the foot bender that was as gorgeous as it was audacious. Watch and enjoy …