CARSON, Calif. (AP) — Landon Donovan broke the Major League Soccer goal record Sunday night, scoring his 135th and 136th regular-season goals in the Los Angeles Galaxy’s 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union.
Playing for the first time since being cut from the U.S. World Cup team, Donovan broke a tie with Jeff Cunningham in the 49th minute with his first goal of the season, then added another in the 81st. Donovan also holds the MLS playoff record with 22 goals.
Donovan scored his first goal on a counterattack, passing to Robbie Keane, who took the ball into the Unionbox and fed Donovan at the left post for an easy finish. After making it 4-0 in the 81st, Donovan was replaced by Brazilian forward Samuel a minute later, departing to a standing ovation from the crowd of 21,010.
“It’s been a long week,” Donovan said. “It’s hard not to make it about me, and I don’t necessarily want it to be that way. But I’ve sacrificed a lot to be in the position I’m in and I was very happy for myself because I’ve dedicated a lot to this. I think I deserved what happened today.”
Donovan, also the U.S. national team goals leader with 57 in 156 games, has played 311 regular-season games in 15 MLS seasons. The Jamaican-born Cunningham, a former U.S. national team player, played in 365 games over 14 seasons with Columbus, Colorado, Real Salt Lake, Toronto FC and FC Dallas. He last played in MLS in 2011.
Donovan said he wasn’t looking to make a statement after coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s decision not to include him in the group headed to Brazil.
“This is my job and this is what I get paid to do, so my teammates depend on me and I think I’ve played well this year, but I needed to contribute on the scoreboard, and that felt good,” said Donovan, who was making his eighth appearance of the season.
“Obviously, a lot of relief in some ways, a lot of joy, but I feel like I’m in really good form right now, and I really feel good about how I played, and this is a continuation of how I’ve played over the last few months.”
Donovan is No. 2 on the league’s career assists list with 120, including one on Leonardo’s second-minute header Sunday. Steve Ralston, a Houston Dynamo assistant coach who retired in 2010, has the record with 135.
That was the first goal for Los Angeles, with Donovan delivering a free kick for Leonardo to finish. Keane scored a third in the 64th minute after a turnover by Union defender Sheanon Williams.
Los Angeles (4-3-3) won consecutive games for the second time this season.
Philadelphia (2-7-5), which welcomed back midfielder Maurice Edu — also one of seven players trimmed from the 30-man World Cup preliminary roster — lost its second game in a row and fifth in the last six outings. TheUnion have won just once in their last dozen games.
Edu scored in the 88th minute, converting a penalty kick after Raul Mendiola fouled Zach Pfeffer.