Landon Donovan sets new MLS career scoring record in first match after World Cup snub

Brooks Peck
May 26, 2014

Making an early return to the LA Galaxy after his controversial omission from the U.S.'s World Cup team, Landon Donovan scored his first two goals of the MLS season and finally took sole ownership of the league's all-time leading scorer title with 136 goals (158 if you count his playoff goals). Donovan, who surpasses previous record holder Jeff Cunningham, also set up the Galaxy's first goal in their 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Union just two minutes into the game.

Of course, scoring against one of the worst teams in MLS doesn't exactly prove that he could have done the same against the likes of Germany and Portugal, but the moment was still a sweet one for Donovan — and given all that he's done for the league, very much deserved. He celebrated as if a weight had been taken off his shoulders, since he went through a nine-game goal drought before reaching this point.

After getting cut when Jurgen Klinsmann whittled the U.S. squad from 30 down to the final 23, Donovan expressed his surprise and disappointment in the decision. Said Donovan upon rejoining his club from the U.S. training camp (via Sports Illustrated):

“Based on my performances leading up to camp, based on my preparation for the camp, based on my fitness, based on my workload, based on the way I trained and played in camp, I not only thought I was part of the 23, I thought I was in contention to be starting. That’s why this has all been pretty disappointing.

“I’m not angry. I’m disappointed. I’ve spent most of my adult life and majority of my life in general dedicating myself to the sport in this country and representing my country. I was really looking forward to the opportunity to play in another World Cup and help this team. Having been in camp for 10 days, I really thought I was going to contribute in a real big way, probably bigger than I expected going in. From that standpoint it’s disappointing. I think every one of my teammates would probably echo those same words.”

Given the circumstances and the emotions involved, it wouldn't be unthinkable that Klinsmann's decision spurred Donovan on to break through his dry spell and score that record goal (thanks in no small part to Robbie Keane). If this means MLS gets a reinvigorated Landon Donovan, the LA Galaxy might want to send Klinsmann a fruit basket.

You can watch Donovan's first 135 goals here

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Brooks Peck is the editor of Dirty Tackle on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow on Twitter!