Banner year for MLS scoring

[BY THE NUMBERS] MLS is enjoying its highest-scoring season since it began its expansion push a decade ago. In the last three weeks, eight games have produced five or more goals and almost 70 percent of the games have produced three or more goals, pushing the season average to 2.93 goals per game.

SEASON AVERAGE.
Not since 2002, the first year after MLS contracted to 10 teams, has the league averaged more than three goals per game.

MLS Goals Per Game (2005-14)
2014 -- 2.93
2005 -- 2.87
2008 -- 2.81
2007 -- 2.66
2012 -- 2.64
2013 -- 2.62
2006 -- 2.62
2004 -- 2.61
2011 -- 2.58
2009 -- 2.54
2010 -- 2.46

DEMPSEY HITS DOZEN MARK. Bradley Wright-Phillips' run at the single-season record of 27 goals has overshadowed the depth of MLS goal production in 2014. Clint Dempsey's consolation goal off the bench for the Sounders gave him 12 regular-season goals, making him the 11th player to score 12 or more goals, the most in MLS history.

With five weeks left in the regular season, 13 other players have scored at least nine goals, so that number of players with a dozen or more goals should rise.

Most MLS Players, 12+ Goals (2005-14)
2014 -- 11
2012 -- 10
2013 -- 8
2011 -- 8
2010 -- 8
2009 -- 7
2008 -- 5
2007 -- 5
2006 -- 5
2005 -- 4

CHASE FOR 27. Wright-Phillips scored a hat trick in the New York Red Bulls' 4-1 win over Seattle on Saturday. His 24 goals are tied for the fifth most goals in a season, and he has five games to reach the 27-goal mark set by Roy Lassiter in 1996 and Chris Wondolowski in 2012.

Most Goals, Season
G PLAYER (TEAM) YEAR
27 Roy Lassiter
(TB) 1996
27 Chris Wondolowski (SJ) 2012
26 Mamadou Diallo (TB) 2000
26 Stern John (CLB) 1998
24 Carlos Ruiz (LA) 2002
24 Bradley Wright-Phillips (NY) 2014
23 Raul Diaz Arce (DC) 1996
23 Taylor Twellman (NE) 2002
22 Camilo (VAN) 2013
21 Eduardo Hurtado (NY) 1996
21 Mike Magee (LA/CHI) 2013


HAT-TRICK HEROES. Wright-Phillips' hat trick tied an MLS record for hat tricks in a season with three. Three other players have scored three hat tricks in a regular season. (A year after Stern John scored three regular-season hat tricks for Columbus, he scored two for the Crew in the 1999 regular season and added a third in the playoffs.)

Most Hat Tricks, Season
HT PLAYER (TEAM) YEAR
3 Stern John
(CLB) 1998
3 Cobi Jones (LA) 1998
3 Diego Serna (MIA) 2000
3 Bradley Wright-Phillips (NY) 2014

ZARDES IN ELITE COMPANY. In his second MLS season, Gyasi Zardes has scored 15 goals for the LA Galaxy, becoming just the fourth American younger than the age of 24 to reach that plateau. Zardes is unlikely to break the record of 23 goals set by Taylor Twellman at the age of 22 in his first MLS season in 2002, but he has already broken the record for goals by a homegrown player set by Diego Fagundez with 13 in 2013.

Most Goals, Season (Youngest Americans)
G PLAYER, AGE (TEAM) YEAR
23 Taylor Twellman, 22 (NE) 2002
16 Clint Mathis, 23 (LA/NY) 2000
15 Taylor Twellman, 23 (NE) 2003
15 Eddie Johnson, 23 (KC) 2007
15 Gyasi Zardes, 23 (LA) 2014
13 Jason Kreis, 23 (DAL) 1996
12 Jack McInerney, 21 (PHI) 2013
12 Will Bruin, 23 (HOU) 2012
12 Eddie Johnson, 20 (DAL) 2004
12 Landon Donovan, 21 (SJ) 2003
Age=age at the end of the regular season.

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