Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan is on the verge of history: his 135th MLS goal, passing Jeff Cunningham on the all-time list to earn the MLS goals record. But does the greatest American soccer player of all time think highly of the honor? According to MLSSoccer.com’s Scott French, not very highly.
“To be honest, I don’t think about it until it’s brought up,” said Donovan. “There’s a good chance I’ll forget before the game starts. There’s no guarantee you’re ever going to score. Is it important? Yeah, it is. It means something to me. But I’ll be glad when it’s over, to be honest, so I can just get back to focusing.”
“I would say that Landon, when he sets his mind to it and plays up his abilities,” said Galaxy manager Bruce Arena. “I doubt there are too many American-born players that have been at his level.
“In my opinion, that’s the hardest thing to do in sports, is play at a high level consistently. “And those are the athletes I’ve always admired the most. If you can sustain it for a long time, I think that’s very impressive. So that’s what I’ll be proud of.”
“I think a few less people care if I do it than when Hank Aaron did it,” Donovan added. “All I do is focus on me. If I get in the right spots, I’m always looking to score, whether it’s my first goal or my 130-something-th.
“I don’t really care, to be honest. I guess it’s going to happen at some point. Honest as I can be, it’s not on my mind at all.”
Meanwhile, the onus is on Juninho to be a force in 2014 after going through a tough year last year. The Brazilian from Sao Paulo will need to get more involved in the attack and create some solid sequences with Marcelo Sarvas and the new midfielders that have joined the club.
“I spoke to Bruce a lot about that and I hope that I can move up to the front and play next to the target players so that I can be looking for the combination play,” said Juninho to LAGalaxy.coms Adam Serrano. “When you go forward you have more chances to score and that’s my mentality and the mentality that Bruce wants. I’m hoping for success this year.”
“With the Brazilian style, you don’t typically hold in the midfield in front of the defenders, but go forward much better. I hope that this year, we’re both able to switch and have success on both sides.”
“Our relationship is still the same,” Sarvas added. “It’s the same for us. Our relationship is still the same if Juninho goes forward. It’s good because we share [the responsibilities].
“We didn’t have any rules last year on who went forward or who stayed, it was the game and it was the situation that happened. It’s good that he has [the drive] to go forward and score goals and go forward.
“We expect to see good soccer. It’s not easy because we play against other teams that are more physical, but we’re always looking for good soccer with passes and combinations, and something that is nice to see.”
In other news, the Galaxy announced on Monday that it has acquired a conditional draft pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft from the Chicago Fire in exchange for defender Greg Cochrane. Cochrane started in nine oof 12 MLS appearances and both of the CONCACAF Champions League matches he appeared in, as well as a U.S. Open Cup match. Also, defender James Riley has officially been added to the Galaxy lineup.