Monday, December 8, 2014

Landon Donovan, the Greatest US Soccer Player Ever

Regardless of how anyone (including Klinsmann) feels about Landon's approach or attitude, he retires as the greatest player in MLS and US Soccer history.

Landon stands alone as the only player to ever win 6 MLS Championships.

He holds the MLS record for most goals all-time with 144.  (32 were scored with the San Jose Earthquakes from 2001-04, and the other 112 were scored with the LA Galaxy, from 2005-2014.)  The next leading scorer is the retired Jeff Cunningham with 134.  The current player with the most is De Rosario with only 104, so it will be awhile before Donovan's scoring record is broken.

He holds the MLS record for most assists all-time with 136 as well.  The retired Steve Ralston has 135 and the current player with the most is Brad Davis with 112.

Including all club competitions with the Earthquakes, Galaxy and his 5 European stints (Bayern Leverkusen II, Bayern Leverkusen, Bayern Munich, Everton twice), Landon's scored a whopping 182 goals in 458 games.

As for US duty which stretched from 2000-14, Landon is the career leader in US goals all-time with 57.  Dempsey has the 2nd most with 39 and will likely need to keep playing through the 2018 World Cup to score another 18 goals.  To give you context, if you add the 3rd and 4th highest US scorers' goals together (Brian McBride and Eric Wynalda), you would only have 64, just 7 more than Landon's mark.

Even Jozy, who has 25 goals in 76 appearances, will need to keep up that pace for the 2nd half of his international career just to have a shot at the record.

As for assists, Landon has 58 all-time US assists.  The next highest is Cobi Jones with 22.  In fact, if you added the assists numbers of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th leading assists players (Cobi 22, Reyna 19, Lewis 16), you'd have 57, one less than Landon's total.  The active player with the most is DeMarcus Beasley with 13.  Bradley and Dempsey are next tied at 12.

Cobi Jones is the leader with a remarkable 164 caps, but Landon is 2nd with 157 caps.  Beasley has 121 while Dempsey has 110.

Of course, our only regret is that Landon wasn't in the game vs Belgium, where he would have finished off the pass from Jermaine's head for his 58th goal in stoppage time.

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