How special is a 20-goal season in Major League Soccer? We’re looking at you, Marco Di Vaio


The bottom line on 20-goal seasons (obviously, we are talking about 20 goals or more) in Major League Soccer is this: It has happened just 10 times in 17 previous seasons. So this remains a benchmark difficult to reach and therefore, by definition, something special.

That helps add some perspective to the season of goal-scoring joy being assembled by Montreal’s Marco Di Vaio (pictured). The Italian striker sits on 19 goals with five games remaining in the Impact’s regular season. Clearly, he has a wonderful chance to reach 20.

(Chicago’s Mike Magee also has a decent shot at it, too; he has 18 goals so far in 2013, although just four games remaining.)

Here is just a little more perspective on Di Viao’s impending, potentially historic season:

Most previous MLS seasons have been 28-, 30- or 32-game campaigns. So Montreal’s sharpshooter (and all the others playing this year, of course) do have an advantage in opportunity factor. This is Major League Soccer’s third season with a 34-game schedule.

On the other hand, 20-goal seasons have grown fewer and further between in Major League Soccer as quality in all areas (but especially in areas of defensive organization) has improved.

Of those 20-goal seasons s or more, only three came in the last 10 years.

Three of Major League Soccer’s 20-goal seasons came in the league’s very first year, in fact, when Roy Lassiter, Eduardo Hurtado and Raul Diaz Arce also eclipsed the 20-goal barrier.

Here are the only three 20-goal seasons of the last ten years in Major League Soccer:

  • Luciano Emilio for D.C. United in 2007; 20 goals
  • Landon Donovan for the LA Galaxy in 2008, 20 goals
  • Chris Wondolowski for San Jose in 2012, 27 goals