Donovan remains the man

[MLS | Starting XI] Clint Dempsey, who was making the rounds of the Monday morning talk shows, is being billed as the new face of MLS, but lest we forget, Landon Donovan is still around. Donovan's hat trick for the LA Galaxy in its 3-3 tie at FC Dallas Sunday night gives him 130 career regular-season goals, starting the countdown to the all-time league record of 134 goals held by Jeff Cunningham. Here's who we'll be talking about and hope to hear from on Monday ...

11. CONOR CASEY. Casey scored both goals in the Philadelphia Union's 2-0 win over D.C. United to give him nine goals this season -- one more than he had the last two seasons combined. Casey, who is healthy again after being hampered by an Achilles tendon injury at Colorado, has carried the Union in the last two months as Jack McInerney, the MLS Player of the Month in April and May, has gone silent.

10. ANTHONY PRECOURT. The new Columbus Crew owner make friends with Crew supporters on his first home-game weekend since buying the team when he visited with the Crew Union at Fourth Street Bar and Hudson Street Hooligans at Hendoc's Pub and bought a round at both bars. And to top the weekend, the Crew went out and snapped its three-game skid with a 2-0 win over New York.

9. FEDERICO HIGUAIN. Gonzalo Higuain's older brother burst on the MLS scene last summer, leading the Crew on a late-season playoff charge that came up a point short. Injuries make Columbus a long-shot to make the 2013 playoffs, but Higuain remains the best-kept secret in MLS. He scored one of the goals of the season Saturday night when he chipped Red Bulls keeper Luis Robles from 20 yards in the Crew's 2-0 win.

8. SOONY SAAD. Sporting Kansas City has had several promising young American forwards come along in recent years, but Teal Bunbury has been injured, and C.J. Sapong was sent down to Orlando City in USL PRO. In the meantime, the 20-year-old Saad, who now plays internationally for Lebanon, has stepped up. He assisted on both Kei Kamara goals in the 3-0 win over New England to give him three goals and four assists in 14 games after registering one goal and one assist in 13 games in his first two MLS seasons.

7. CAMILO. The Brazilian tied Mike Magee for the MLS scoring lead with his 14th goal of the season in Vancouver's 2-0 win over San Jose. He celebrated by sticking the ball under his jersey and sucking on his thumb. The good news: his wife, Jessica, is expecting.

6. KEVIN ALSTON. Alston started at left back in New England's loss at Sporting KC, his first start since being cleared to play following his leukemia diagnosis. He was an MLS all-star at right back, but with the arrival of rookie Andrew Farrell, Alston's future may be at left back, which will allow the Revs to push Chris Tierney higher up the flank.

5. CHRIS KLUTE. Suddenly, there is an abundance of young MLS talent at the outside back positions: players like Seattle's all-star rookie DeAndre Yedlin, 18-year-old Kellyn Acosta, who make his first start for Dallas Sunday night, and Farrell at right back, and Klute at left back. Only 14 months ago, Klute made his pro debut with the NASL Atlanta Silverbacks, and now he may be the best left back in MLS. He had his seventh assist of the season, setting up Martin Rivero's tying goal in Colorado's 1-1 tie at Chivas USA.

4. JOSE LUIS REAL. The Chivas USA coach watched as two more players --  Gabriel Farfan and Tristen Bowen -- were sent off in Sunday night's 1-1 tie with Colorado, following Carlos Bocanegra's red card last week. That makes five straight red cards and eight overall -- the most this season in MLS -- for the Rojiblancos, and the pressure will mount on the coach who goes by the nickname of "Guero" to take some action.

3. BRUCE ARENA. The LA Galaxy has tried Arena's patience this season with some horrible defending in late-game situations, and Sunday's game at Dallas had him ready to flip a lid. If it wasn't bad enough that the Galaxy gave up three goals to FC Dallas -- which hadn't scored in five games -- on set pieces, Blas Perez's two goals should have been called back for offside. "In professional games," Arena said, "you have to assume that the linesman can make those calls."

2. CLINT DEMPSEY. Until about 10 days ago, the plan would have been for Dempsey to be in Sarajevo by now. But after playing his first game for Seattle in its 2-1 win at Toronto FC, Dempsey headed to New York to make the rounds on the Monday morning talk shows, beginning with MSNBC's Morning Joe and ABC's Good Morning America.

1. LANDON DONOVAN. We'd love for someone on the press tour to ask Dempsey if he watched Donovan Sunday night. On a night when its defense gave up three more goals off set pieces, Donovan saved the Galaxy. "He’s the reason that we got the point today," said teammate Omar Gonzalez. Now in his 13th season, Donovan showed why he is still the man in MLS and will need a contract approaching Dempsey's deal if the league hopes to keep him next year.

OFF THE BENCH: Michael Seaton. Coming off its Open Cup semifinal victory at Chicago on Wednesday, D.C. United fielded a largely reserve team in its 2-0 loss at Philadelphia. It began the game with the youngest starting lineup in MLS history and that was before Seaton entered the game. The Jamaican-American, who turned 17 in May, became the first player born after MLS was launched in 1996 to play in the league.
2 comments about "Donovan remains the man".
  1. Kerry Solomon, August 12, 2013 at 7:48 a.m.

    It looks like Donovan is hitting his stride. Great match for Donovan but let's hope he and Dempsey work hard and play well together for the USMNT. Gentlemen, leave your egos at the door and strive for excellence together.

  2. Eric Piazzoni, August 13, 2013 at 8:52 a.m.

    I've got September 21st circled on my calendar. Seattle @ LA on NBC Sports. Should be a great match.

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