By Evan Ream
While watching the MLS games last weekend, I was thinking about each individual team’s all-time leading goal scorers. For some reason (maybe because MLS has only existed for 16 years) people never talk about the player that is the leading goal scorer for each team. Now that each team officially has a leading goal scorer, I would like to look at who are each team’s all-time top marksmen and when that mark will be broken as well as who will break it. I will start with the team who has the lowest goal total for their all-time leading scorer and go up from there.
Portland Timbers: Kenny Cooper* – 1 (* means the player is active)
Player closest on the current roster: Everyone – 0
This total is likely to be broken… in one minute, one game, next season, who knows? Cooper is Portland’s most established scorer (and player for that matter) and will likely end the season as the leading scorer. I can see Cooper staying for four to five seasons and scoring 40-60 goals in keeping this record for a while. If anyone on this roster has the chance to break Cooper’s record, it will be Darlington Nagbe who could be in MLS for a few years. If Cooper, who is injury prone, doesn’t stay healthy for his Timbers career, then Nagbe could overtake him.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC: Eric Hassli* – 2
Player closest on the current roster: Atiba Harris and Terry Dunfield – 1
This total is likely to be broken… who knows? This is a similar situation to Portland. Eric Hassli is the only established scorer on this team, the only player that likely has a chance to break this is Omar Salgado, and he can’t even play until September. Even if he is great, he likely won’t last long in the league so it all depends on how many goals Hassli scores.
Philadelphia Union: Sebastien Le Toux* – 14
Player closest on the current roster: Danny Mwanga – 7
This total is likely to be broken… in two years if Danny Mwanga stays around for the entirety of his MLS contract. I am one who happens to think that Le Toux had a fluke season last year and will come back down to earth this season. I think Mwanga will score more goals this year before overtaking Le Toux in 2012 before moving to Europe. After that, Le Toux will likely take it back. Carlos Ruiz has an outside chance if he returns to his for in the early part of the last decade.
Seattle Sounders FC: Fredy Montero* – 22
Player closest on the current roster: Steve Zakuani – 14
This total is likely to be broken… in the late stages of this season if Fredy Montero plays as he has been in the first two games. In all likelihood though, Zakuani will put up a similar amount of goals as Montero this season and therefore not break it. If Montero is sold this summer, which is a definite possibility, then Zakuani could break it early next season, but Montero should be the owner of this record for as long as he is playing in Seattle.
Toronto FC: Dwayne De Rosario* – 27
Player closest on the current roster: Maicon Santos – 5
This record is likely to be broken… never because Toronto is a terrible franchise who trades away players like Jeff Cunningham, Edson Buddle, Conor Casey, and pretty much anyone else who can score goals. You may think this is a joke, but I’m willing to be that in 15 years, Dwayne De Rosario, who only has a few years left in his career, is still Toronto’s all-time leading goal scorer.
Real Salt Lake: Robbie Findley – 29
Player closest on the current roster: Fabian Espindola – 16
This record is likely to be broken… near the end of this season or the beginning of 2012, but not by Espindola. Saborio will score between 10-20 goals this season giving him an outside chance to do it, but he needs 17 to tie and 18 to break it. Saborio is an excellent finisher and should have no problem doing it under his current contract.
Chivas USA: Ante Razov – 30
Player closest on the current roster: Justin Braun – 16
This record is likely to be broken…by the end of 2012. Braun, a decent but unspectacular goal scorer, will be able to score 15 goals in the next two seasons, especially with the extra games.
Colorado Rapids: Conor Casey* – 42
Player closest on the current roster: Omar Cummings – 31
This record is likely to be broken…not for a long time. Cummings is only 11 goals away, but he will likely move to Europe at the end of his current MLS contract. Even if he doesn’t Casey is good enough to not let Cummings score 11 more goals than him as long as they are playing together. However if Cummings plays for the Rapids for three to four more years, I could see it happening, but not in the near future as Casey will likely end his Rapids career in the 70s or 80s.
Houston Dynamo: Brian Ching* – 46
Player closest on the current roster: Brad Davis – 17
This record is likely to be broken…once again not for a long time. The Dynamo have no proven scorers right now and Ching is nearly at 50 goals. Though he is slowing down, he should end up with 60-70 goals, which would mean that they would have to sign a top player and keep him for 5+ years to make this happen. This isn’t happening any time soon.
New York Red Bulls: Juan Pablo Angel – 58
Player closest on the current roster: Dane Richards – 13
This record is likely to be broken…by Thierry Henry, or some other big name Designated Player. I could be wrong about this, but I think Henry has four seasons left on his contract. Four Years is enough time to score 56 more goals to tie Angel, Henry just has to put his mind to it and stop playing terribly. For those that think Juan Agudelo has a shot at this, it’s not likely, Agudelo is going to get sold before he reaches more than 30 goals; he is too young and too good to not be sold. One player who does have an outside chance is actually Jozy Altidore. If Jozy keeps struggling in Europe for a few more years, I can see him coming back in his late 20’s and demolishing this record.
San Jose Earthquakes: Ronald Cerritos – 61
Player closest on the current roster: Chris Wondolowski – 21
This record is likely to be broken…in four years if I was wrong about Wondolowski having a fluke season last year. Wondo should be able to break it in six if he ends up being a decent scorer though. I think Wondo will have this record at some point, but when that point is remains to be seen.
Columbus Crew: Brian McBride and Jeff Cunningham* – 62
Player closest on the current roster: Eddie Gaven – 21
This record is likely to be broken…depending on how far Jeff Cunningham improves this record, who knows? Cunningham is probably good for 20 more goals in his career and thus it will take someone probably 7-10 years to break it and the Crew don’t have anyone capable of that on their current roster.
Sporting KC: Preki – 71
Player closest on the current roster: Davy Arnaud – 43
This record is likely to be broken…in 2016 if Davy Arnaud scores five goals per season for the next six seasons. It could happen; he’s not likely to go to another team and he definitely isn’t going to Europe. There are two other candidates on the roster though, Kei Kamara who has 11 goals and Omar Bravo who has two. Kamara isn’t good enough to play in Europe and he is still just 26. If he stays with KC for the next eight years he could possibly do it. Bravo is 31, but if he has four to five amazing years in MLS he could have an outside chance of doing it, but it would have to be four to five of the best years anyone has ever had in MLS. Only time will tell, but if anyone is going to break this record in the next decade, it will be one of these three.
LA Galaxy: Landon Donovan* – 71
Player closest on the current roster: David Beckham – 9
This record is likely to be broken…sometime in 2030 when LA sign a DP for 10 years and he breaks Donovan’s record of 150 goals. Really, the sky is the limit for Donovan who looks to be capable of playing well into his 30s and should still score plenty of goals for the Galaxy.
Chicago Fire: Ante Razov – 76
Player closest on the current roster: Marco Pappa – 12
This record is likely to be broken… not for a very, very long time. No one on the current roster can do it. Chicago would have to have a young player come in and play with the team for five to ten seasons in order for this to happen.
FC Dallas: Jason Kreis – 91
Player closest on the current roster: David Ferreira – 16
This record is likely to be broken… in a similar situation that a player will break Chicago’s record. Best-case scenario is that FC Dallas locks up one of their academy players for a long time and he does the job. We have no idea who will break this, but it won’t happen for 10+ years unless Kenny Cooper comes back.
New England Revolution: Taylor Twellman – 101
Player closest on the current roster: Shalrie Joseph – 29
This record is likely to be broken… never. The Revolution really caught lightning in a bottle with Twellman. They are known for being one of the cheapest teams in MLS, refusing to spend money on top players. Twellman’s record should stand for at least 30 years. I can’t see the Revolution caring enough to sign a player of Twellman’s caliber for as long as Twellman was here. Twellman was one of a kind and should own this record for most of his life.
DC United: Jaime Moreno – 131
Player closest on the current roster: Santino Quaranta – 22
This record is likely to be broken…by Charlie Davies if he has a successful season and DC sign him to a deal and he repays the faith in them by staying there his whole career. Davies could have the record in ten years. Unfortunately for all parties involved, I don’t think this is going to happen as Davies likely still has European aspirations, but one can hope. More likely, Davies scores 10-15 goals this year, heads back to Europe, promising to return to United for his last years, and ends up scoring around 50 goals total once he comes back. At the moment, he is the only chance United have of breaking this record, no one else will do it.
Records are made to be broken, and many of them will be this season and in the seasons to come. As the years in MLS pile on, each team will have a more respectable number for their leading scorer and it will become harder and harder as well as more sought after to break these kinds of records. I want to keep this piece up and look at it in 5 years and see if any of these things have actually happened and re-investigate how each team’s situation is then. Hopefully you enjoyed this piece; I will be looking into numbers like this more often from now on.