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Tracking Landon Donovan and his U.S. records book assault

Jul 10, 2013, 12:20 PM EDT

U.S. forward Donovan celebrates his second goal of the game against Guatemala with teammates Wondolowski and Holden during their friendly soccer match in San Diego

Lets set aside all the branches of the Landon Donovan debate for a moment, shall we? (Ahem … pretty please?)

Temporarily lay away the arguments about whether he deserves a World Cup roster spot, his value to the national team going forward, his tactical role, etc.

For now, let’s just quickly examine – and marvel at – the man’s assault on every scoring record around the team. Because it really is quite something else.

Donovan is the national team’s all-time leader in goals and assists. That’s not exactly news, but it is topical today because Donovan had a goal and two assists in last night’s ground-and-pound against helpless Belize.

That gives Donovan 52 goals and 51 assists; he is the first U.S. player to reach the “50 milepost” in either category.

(MORE: Player ratings from last night’s U.S. win)

More to the point here: I just don’t see anybody capable of duplicating the 50 double – Shall we just call it the “Donovan Double Five-O?” – for a long, long time. In fact, I’m not sure I see anybody making up the ground on Donovan in either category, especially since the LA Galaxy attacker isn’t done internationally, surely about to scoop up more goals and more assists in the Gold Cup games ahead.

No active player is anywhere close to Donovan in assists. Dempsey is nearest; he has 12.

Dempsey does have a legitimate shot at catching Donovan in goals, currently second on the all-time chart with 35. Then again, Dempsey is just a year younger than Donovan – so he may not be around the international scene much longer than his U.S. teammate. Plus, Donovan will benefit from any Gold Cup stat padders over the next couple of weeks the way Donovan may.

Here are the U.S. all-time goals and assists leaders:


  1. kingarthur900 - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Steve, has Richard Farley been talking to you? You’ve mentioned, in your other posts on the subject, that Landon is the first U.S. “men’s” team player to make these accomplishments.
    Today, you write, “he is the first U.S. player to reach the “50 milepost” in either category.” What about the four “U.S. players”, who happen to be women, who have achieved or obliterated that mark in both categories? What if you had written that Landon joins Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach, Kristine Lilly, and Shannon MacMillan, other “U.S. players” who are already in this illustrious club?
    Or what if you’d just kept on making the distinction between the U.S. men’s records and the U.S. women’s records, like you’ve been doing? And like the U.S. Soccer Federation does.
    Yep, I’m back up on my soap box :-)

    • handsofsweed - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:52 PM

      Post the top 5 women in each category. I bet those lists are freakishly high #’s. Doesn’t wambach have 150 goals or something?

      • kingarthur900 - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:59 PM

        Top scorers
        Rank Player Caps Goals Years
        1 Abby Wambach 207 160 2001–
        2 Mia Hamm 275 158 1987–2004
        3 Kristine Lilly 352 130 1987–2010
        4 Michelle Akers 153 105 1985–2000
        5 Tiffeny Milbrett 204 100 1992–2006

        Top Assisters
        Rank Player Caps Assists Years
        1 Mia Hamm 275 144 1987–2004
        2 Kristine Lilly 352 105 1987–2010
        3 Abby Wambach 207 61 2001-
        4 Tiffeny Milbrett 204 61 1991–2005
        5 Julie Foudy 272 55 1988–2004

    • Steve Davis - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:24 PM

      Seriously? I honestly believe that most readers understand that men’s soccer and women’s soccer are completely different entities, performed by a completely different set of athletes. If two dudes are arguing over whether Reggie Miller or someone was basketball’s best three-point shooter of all time, is there someone poking his or head to drop Cheryl Miller’s name?

      • kingarthur900 - Jul 10, 2013 at 8:44 PM

        Yes, Seriously. You thought the distinction journalistically important enough to use it in previous posts. But the bigger issue is the invalidity of the underlying assumption that when someone says US national team it only means men. Let’s turn the assumption around. Suppose someone wrote that the fastest US 100 meter sprinter was Florence Griffith. You’d want to correct them, and have them say that she’s the fastest women’s sprinter. Alls I’m sayin’ is let’s swing both ways.

      • kingarthur900 - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:57 PM

        Or, take the example of the recent pronouncement in British media outlets that Andy Murray was the first Briton to win Wimbledon in 77 years.
        As Chloe Angyal said, “Murray is indeed the first Brit to win Wimbledon in 77 years unless you think women are people”, referring, of course, to Virginia Wade, a Brit who had won Wimbledon in 1977.
        I think when one writes that Donovan is the first US Player to 50 goals/assist, one is making the same error as the Brits did.

  2. randomhookup - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    One advantage that Landon has that others probably won’t — time on the team (especially as a starter). He was 18 or so when he got his 1st cap and has been on the team (almost) ever since, usually as a starter.

    Who has been the youngest player to get a cap under JK? Gatt? Maybe Jack Mac will beat him. 21 seems about the youngest in the recent era and those players aren’t getting the playing time that Landon did.

    We may see a young phenom break through, but more than likely he will be in Europe and won’t be as available as LD has been. Staying in MLS probably helps you get more US caps.

    But, LD has been a helluva player.

  3. larryang - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    As for goals, Jozy Alitidore has chance – 7th all-time already at age 23.

  4. charliej11 - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    No one will break LD 50/50…and he will go down as the Babe Ruth of US Soccer, without a doubt.
    He deserves it.
    He was able to stay in the US financially and he took advantage of that, winning many MLS Cups.
    He crushed it internationally and will continue to do so.
    When he chose to waste club time in Europe, he crushed that too (individually)

    For all the haters out there, with their rediculous posts, that Steve has to beg to not argue about Landon…..he will start in the World Cup too….and if they are successful, it will be in big part due to him.

    ps. not a Landon lover, just a realist.

  5. mdac1012 - Jul 10, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    Not a Landon lover at all myself, in fact I don’t care much for Landon the person, but the player, that’s a different matter. He is easily the best all around U.S. “mens” player of all time.

    I had no problem with Klinnsman leaving him off the roster for the WC qualifiers, but I think the message was sent and recieved, now its time to move foward. He belongs on the World Cup roster, as there is still no other U.S. player that can provide the type of versatility Landon can when he is on his game.

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