There’s nothing quite like the chemistry of two strikers making music together by playing off of each other’s strengths or setting each other up.
Sometimes, one guy is the emotional header and the other is the acrobatic juggler, or one guy is the stronger dribbler while the other has a quick boot.
In soccer, a strong scoring duo makes all the difference for fans and for a winning record.
Scoring duos don’t come around often, so it’s important to appreciate the good ones. In MLS, three of the best come from the Western Conference and two others from the Eastern Conference.
5. C.J. Sapong and Kei Kamara, Sporting KC
At number 5 is Sporting KC’s C.J. Sapong and Kei Kamara (14 goals, 5 assists), pictured below. They are two tall, sometimes awkward-style forwards, but their athleticism can be a lot of fun to watch.
Kamara is a mid-leader on the scoring table, Sapong is further down. Only a couple of times this year have they really turned it on, but this duo can deliver and has dynamic potential.
The bottom line is that they are fun to watch. Other players on Sporting are giving them a lot of shots on goal and playing beautifully. Their best feeders are Graham Zusi and Roger Espinoza. Aurelien Collin’s aggression on defense keeps the ball going the other way towards Sapong, Kamara, and Teal Bunbury.
4. Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper, New York
At number 4 is a New York surprise (25 goals, 9 assists). Thierry Henry is not the surprise this year; it is his new partner in crime of the Red Bulls, Kenny ‘the header’ Cooper.
Cooper has provided more goals this season than what was predicted. He’s an older player with not a lot of speed; he is quirky and herky-jerky. But he’s also at the right spot at the right time a lot of the time.
Henry still has flair and knows his target well. He’s the French chef of scoring. He still has quickness on the ball. His best asset for scoring is making the most out of a touch on the ball, something that takes a lot of skill and is difficult to to learn for even the best players.
One extra touch and a player loses the opportunity, much of the time.
3. Steven Lenhart and Chris Wondolowski, San Jose
Number 3 is for the underdogs of San Jose (26 goals, 6 assists). Steven Lenhart and Chris Wondolowski of the Earthquakes have done it all season for each other.
Not enough can be said about Wondolowski’s rise up the scoring ladder.
He is the leader of goals scored for MLS and he has made it onto the U.S. National Men’s Team. There’s no other way to put it, other than to say he has become a finisher, one of the hardest things to accomplish in the sport.
Lenhart is always a threat and seems to get a goal for his team when they count most, to win or equalize. Also, Lenhart can be very artistic and powerful with his goals. He’s made a name for himself in MLS, as well.
2. Eddie Johnson and Freddie Montero, Seattle
At number 2 (22 goals, 7 assists), Seattle’s Eddie Johnson and Freddie Montero can light it up in a sport not known for high-scoring.
They are both on the ball and dangerous almost every time with it. They both stop, start, twist, fake, and blast often. The Sounders and their fans are enjoying the ride and the flair.
Every game with Johnson and Montero in it together, the opposing teams must mark them solid or else be prepared to be playing for a tie and not a win.
1. Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, L.A.
Number I can only be Landon ‘the Legend’ Donovan and his compañero Robbie Keane (20 goals, 17 assists).
Keane has been a perfect compliment to Donovan and a great receiver of Beckham’s, just as Donovan is as well.
These guys break the defenses down. They are fast and ready to shoot. They always seem to be in a good spot and understand the strategy for setting up the pass before the assist.
Keane and Donovan are ahead of the field because they are savvy veterans with strong legs.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com