If Landon Donovan is healthy enough to face the Montreal Impact on Wednesday night, his sole focus will be on helping the Los Angeles Galaxy move closer to a playoff berth and not his pursuit of becoming the leading goal scorer in MLS history.
Though Donovan is on the verge of setting the all-time league mark for most regular-season goals, an ankle injury leaves his status uncertain for this home meeting with an Impact club hoping to end a five-match winless streak and close in on a playoff berth of its own.
Donovan scored twice and had an assist when Los Angeles (14-11-6) snapped an 0-2-2 league slide with a 5-0 victory over Chivas USA on Oct. 6. With 134 regular-season MLS goals, the 31-year-old is tied with Jeff Cunningham for the most in league history.
However, he’s only concerned with leading the two-time reigning MLS champions back to the playoffs.
“If this had happened earlier in my career, I would have thought about it more,” said Donovan, who has 10 goals in 20 league games this season. “But we’re in a playoff race right now, so for us, it’s about winning.”
Fourth in the Western Conference, Los Angeles can clinch a playoff spot with a victory Wednesday and a tie against San Jose on Saturday or a Colorado loss to Vancouver the same day.
Whether Donovan will be there to help immediately remains to be seen.
He sprained his ankle a month ago and re-aggravated it during the United States’ 2-0 victory over Jamaica on Friday in World Cup qualifying play.
The Galaxy also could be without defender and U.S. national team member Omar Gonzalez, who missed last week’s qualifier after he suffered an adductor injury against Chivas.
“We haven’t finalized anything with either player yet,” coach Bruce Arena told the Galaxy’s official website. “We’re hopeful that they’re available on Wednesday.”
Los Angeles will already be minus leading scorer Robbie Keane because of international duty. Arena, though, returns after serving a one-game suspension for coming on to the field to argue with an official during a 1-0 loss at Portland on Sept. 29.
Coming off consecutive 1-0 defeats to Houston and New England, the Impact have been outscored 9-3 during an 0-4-1 league stretch but are fourth in the East.
Looking to secure the franchise’s first playoff berth in its second season, Montreal is tied with fifth-place Chicago and Philadelphia with 46 points. The Impact can clinch a playoff spot with a victory Wednesday, and a tie versus Philadelphia, a Chicago loss to Toronto FC or a New England tie or defeat against Columbus - all on Saturday.
“(The Galaxy) are looking for points as well, so it won’t be easy, especially playing away,” Montreal coach Marco Schallibaum said. “We fell (to New England on Saturday), but have to get up. Soccer is cruel sometimes, but that’s the way it is.”
Montreal, which has never been shut out in three straight matches, last scored on Maxim Tissot’s goal in the 87th minute of a 2-2 draw at Chicago on Sept. 28.
Arnaud scored in Montreal’s 1-1 draw with Los Angeles last season in the teams’ only previous meeting.