The LA Galaxy's Landon Donovan (pictured) broke the all-time MLS goals record against the Philadelphia Union on May 25, 2014. (Photo: Mexsport)
CARSON, California -- Only three days after he was left off the United States World Cup roster, Landon Donovan turned in a record-setting performance.
The 32-year-old scored two goals and set up a third as he became Major League Soccer's all-time goal-scoring leader in the LA Galaxy's 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Sunday.
Donovan passed Jeff Cunningham to boost his total to 136 goals. They were his first two tallies of the season and first since tying the mark in October.
The exclusion of Donovan by U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann created much debate in U.S. media circles. Donovan, who has connected for five goals in 12 World Cup matches spanning three competitions, is the USA's all-time men's scoring leader with 57 goals in 158 international appearances.
“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 you know that I’ve sacrificed a lot to be in the position that I’m in. I was very happy for myself, I’ve dedicated a lot to this, and I thought I deserved what happened today."
Donovan created the first goal as Leonardo headed home his long free kick 112 seconds into the match at the StubHub Center.
He broke the record by converting a pass by Ireland international Robbie Keane in the 49th minute, before adding his second with nine minutes left in normal time.
Donovan was mobbed by his teammates as the 20,010 spectators gave him a standing ovation.
“To be honest when I scored, I wasn’t thinking of the record," he said. "It only occurred to me 10 seconds into the celebrating. It’s great. I mean, it really is. I think more importantly, I enjoy the rest of the season, keep helping our team. I want to get back to enjoying football. This has been a week where I had moments I fell out of love for it a little bit. I want to make sure I keep enjoying it.”
Donovan's MLS career began with the San Jose Earthquakes in 2001, helping the club to the MLS Cup crown. He scored his first MLS goal against the MetroStars and his future U.S. teammate, goalkeeper Tim Howard, in a 2-0 win on May 19, 2001.