May 18, 2016
By Brian Trusdell
The real deal
Soccer News Net Contributor
Sebastian Giovinco's first-season success in MLS clearly wasn't a fluke. After taking the goal-scoring title and MVP award last year, the Toronto FC forward is on track for seconds on both. He shares the league scoring lead with Portland's Fanendo Adi and NYC's David Villa with eight goals, and has the Reds within two points of the top of the Eastern Conference.
Much of Toronto's success can be statistically tied to Giovinco, who besides his eight goals, has been involved in every goal TFC has scored this season. His two goals and additional assist on Drew Moor's in Saturday's 4-3 loss to Vancouver extended his streak of either scoring or assisting on all of Toronto's last 13 goals.
That passed Ronald Cerritos, who set the previous record of scoring or assisting on 12 straight goals in 1998 while playing for San Jose – when it was the Clash, now Houston Dynamo.
Giovinco still can add to the mark – which likely will stand for a while considering how long the previous one lasted.
On the other end of that spectrum is New York City FC defender Jason Hernandez, who has played 255 games in 11-plus seasons in MLS without scoring a goal.
Hernandez, who was picked up by NYC in the expansion draft before the start of last season, is with his fourth MLS side, starting with NYC's Hudson River rivals the New York Red Bulls (then MetroStars), Chivas USA and San Jose.
Hernandez, who is credited with only 14 shots in his career – none this year and three in his last three-plus seasons, passed Brandon Prideaux's previous mark of 252 shot-less games in NYC's 3-2 win over Vancouver on April 30. Prideaux retired from the Chicago Fire following the 2009 season after 11 years and four teams in MLS. He is now an assistant coach at the University of Washington.
Unlike Giovinco, Hernandez may have some competition for his record. Real Salt Lake defender Tony Beltran is next on the games without a goal list at 205. However, credited with 55 shots in his eight-plus seasons, Beltran apparently tries to at least score.
Burnishing the resume/LinkedIn profile
Considering Landon Donovan made a few million during his playing days and had a fairly savvy agent – Rich Motzkin – to invest those earnings, he probably doesn't need to work for the rest of his life. But at 34, there's only so much golf – and celebrity games – he can play.
Especially now that he has a son (Talon, born in January), a job may not be a bad thing.
He's tried broadcasting (ESPN, Fox Sports) and now he'll be going back to the coaching ranks, at least for a second stint as coach of the MLS team in the “Homegrown” game against the Mexican U-20s at the MLS All-Star Game.
The game will be played at San Jose's Avaya Stadium on July 27, the day before the All-Star Game against Arsenal.
Donovan has a record of one draw in one game (last year's 1-1 draw that technically was won on penalties by Club America's U-20s).
Winning makes a difference
Kekuta Manneh scored two goals and set up Pedro Morales for the eventual winner, pacing Vancouver to a 4-3 victory over Toronto on Saturday and earning himself Player of the Week honors.
It was the second time Manneh has won the award, and first since Week 33 of his rookie season in 2013.
As mentioned above, Sebastian Giovinco also tallied two goals and an assist, i.e. responsible for all of Toronto's goals, but was on the losing end of the 4-3 result to Vancouver.