Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up
NBCSports Header Logo

How special is a 20-goal season in Major League Soccer? We’re looking at you, Marco Di Vaio

MLS Toronto FC Impact Soccer

Montreal Impact’s Marco Di Vaio left, and Toronto FC’s Richard Eckersley vie for possession of the ball during the second half of an MLS soccer game at Olympic Stadium in Montreal on Saturday, March 16, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Peter McCabe)


The bottom line on 20-goal seasons (obviously, we are talking about 20 goals or more) in Major League Soccer is this: It has happened just 10 times in 17 previous seasons. So this remains a benchmark difficult to reach and therefore, by definition, something special.

That helps add some perspective to the season of goal-scoring joy being assembled by Montreal’s Marco Di Vaio (pictured). The Italian striker sits on 19 goals with five games remaining in the Impact’s regular season. Clearly, he has a wonderful chance to reach 20.

(Chicago’s Mike Magee also has a decent shot at it, too; he has 18 goals so far in 2013, although just four games remaining.)

Here is just a little more perspective on Di Viao’s impending, potentially historic season:

Most previous MLS seasons have been 28-, 30- or 32-game campaigns. So Montreal’s sharpshooter (and all the others playing this year, of course) do have an advantage in opportunity factor. This is Major League Soccer’s third season with a 34-game schedule.

On the other hand, 20-goal seasons have grown fewer and further between in Major League Soccer as quality in all areas (but especially in areas of defensive organization) has improved.

Of those 20-goal seasons s or more, only three came in the last 10 years.

Three of Major League Soccer’s 20-goal seasons came in the league’s very first year, in fact, when Roy Lassiter, Eduardo Hurtado and Raul Diaz Arce also eclipsed the 20-goal barrier.

Here are the only three 20-goal seasons of the last ten years in Major League Soccer:

  • Luciano Emilio for D.C. United in 2007; 20 goals
  • Landon Donovan for the LA Galaxy in 2008, 20 goals
  • Chris Wondolowski for San Jose in 2012, 27 goals