Donovan & Keane: Almost Unprecedented as Teammates

Enjoy it while you can. Landon Donovan has announced that he will retire after next Sunday’s MLS Cup Final between Los Angeles and New England.  And we may not see another pairing like Donovan and Galaxy striker Robbie Keane for decades.

Donovan and Keane are only the second pair of teammates—at any time, for any team, in any league in the world—to have scored at least 50 goals each for their respective countries. Keane has scored 65 goals for Ireland, Donovan has scored 57 for the U.S.  The first such teammates were Ferenc Puskás and Sándor Kocsis with Budapest Honvéd FC (1950–56). Puskás scored 84 goals for Hungary (#50 in 1952); Kocsis scored 75 (#50 in 1954).

When Didier Drogba rejoined Chelsea this summer, it appeared there would be a third club-pairing of international 50-goal scorers. But one month later, just before the start of the Premier League season, Samuel Eto’o was loaned to Everton.


Wondolowski posts back-to-back multiple-goal games

Chris Wondolowski scored a hat trick against Belize and two goals against Cuba as the U.S. national team opened the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup with a pair of victories. Wondolowski became the first player in the history of the U.S. men’s program to record back-to-back multiple-goal games in one tournament.

Three other players posted consecutive multi-goal games for the U.S. men’s team, all with at least one friendly included: Bill Looby in 1954–55 (against Haiti and Iceland), and Dominic Kinnear and Joe-Max Moore in the same pair of friendlies in 1993, versus Cayman Islands and El Salvador.

No player has ever scored two or more goals in each of three straight matches for the U.S. men’s team, which completes its Gold Cup group matches against Costa Rica at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, CT on Tuesday night.  The U.S. has faced Costa Rica 30 times and only one American has scored twice in any of those games: Landon Donovan in 2005.

Jack McInerney, age 20, takes MLS lead in goals

Jack McInerney scored twice in Philadelphia’s 3–2 victory over D.C. United on Sunday to take sole possession of the MLS lead in goals (6).  At age 20, McInerney is the youngest player ever to lead the league outright in goals—that is, no other players tied with him—at any point, in any MLS season.

Three players led the league in goals, at least briefly, at age 21: Fredy Montero in March–April 2009, and two players who finished the season as MLS goal-scoring champions: Stern John (1998) and Mamadou Diallo (2000).

Dynamo remain undefeated at BBVA Compass Stadium

The Houston Dynamo defeated the San Jose Earthquakes, 2-0, on Saturday, to improve their record at BBVA Compass Stadium to 14-0-6 in regular-season MLS matches   The Dynamo became only the third team in a major North American pro sports league  to go undefeated in its first 20 regular-season games at a new home venue.

The first was the Washington Capitols of the Basketball Association of America (predecessor of today’s NBA), who won their first 27 games at Uline Arena in 1946–1947.  The team was coached by Red Auerbach, in his first season in the league.  Uline Arena still stands, having been renamed Washington Coliseum, and is best known as the site of the Beatles’ first concert in the United States. The Capitols didn’t last nearly as long as their arena, folding during the 1950–1951 season.

The second team to go undefeated in its first 20 regular-season games at a home venue was the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA, who won their first 22 games at Staples Center (2001–2002).

Honorable mention to the Montreal Canadiens, who posted a 15–0–6 mark in their first 21 road games at the Pacific Coliseum (1970–1979), the original home of the Vancouver Canucks.

Can Cahill replace Cooper’s goal-scoring?

Following the departure of Kenny Cooper, who scored 18 goals for the Red Bulls in 2012, Tim Cahill will be counted upon to provide some of that missing offense.  But Cahill has scored only three goals in his last 57 league matches—two in his last 45 games with Everton of the EPL, and one in 12 games for the Red Bulls last season.

By way of comparison—an unflattering one for a goal-scorer of Cahill’s pedigree—Dax McCarty and Kosuke Kimura of the Red Bulls have also scored three goals in their last 57 league matches.