With the end of the regular season, the MLS has put out a note proclaiming Dallas' Jeff Cunningham as this season's Golden Boot winner with 17 goals. (Fredy Montero finished tied for third with 12.)
And that reminds me of one aspect of the Sounders' 2-1 win over Dallas on Saturday that I didn't manage to mention until now: The Sounders did a nice job on the guy who may be the league's most dangerous scorer.
But if I didn't mention it, Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman did.
“(Cunningham) had a fantastic season," Hyndman said after the game. "My hat's off to Jeff. He came on and scored a lot of big goals for us in this run we have had. It is unfortunate; I don’t even know that he got a shot off tonight. He was marked pretty well.”
Here's the MLS news release:
FC Dallas forward Jeff Cunningham claimed the 2009 Budweiser Golden Boot awarded to the League’s top goal scorer at the end of the regular season. After scoring a career-high 17 goals in 2009, Cunningham joins Taylor Twellman, Carlos Ruiz, Stern John and Roy Lassiter as two-time Golden Boot winners.
Cunningham edged Colorado Rapids forward Conor Casey (16 goals) for the title. His 17- goal total surpassed his previous career-high of 16 goals, which he accomplished twice - with Real Salt Lake in 2006 and the Columbus Crew in 2002. Cunningham’s 16-goal campaign in 2006 earned him the Golden Boot.
Cunningham is second all-time on the career goal-scoring list with 121 regular season goals, just 10 behind D.C. United forward Jaime Moreno. Cunningham played in 28 of FC Dallas’ 30 games and played a vital role in his club’s remarkable run in the second-half of the season. Cunningham led the League with seven game-winning goals and he also contributed seven assists. Dallas won five of its last seven games and narrowly missed the MLS Cup playoffs, finishing one point behind the last wild card spot.
Cunningham finished the season with four multi-goal games, including his four-goal performance in a 6-0 victory over the Kansas City Wizards on Aug. 1. From Sept. 5 to Oct. 7, Cunningham scored in six straight games. He took home MLS Player of the Week honors four times this season (Weeks 16, 20, 26, 30) and MLS Player of the Month honors for the month of September.
The Columbus Crew selected Cunningham ninth overall in the 1998 MLS College Draft out of the University of South Florida. In his 11-year career he has scored 121 goals in 316 regular season games. After seven seasons with the Crew and one with the Colorado Rapids, he played one season for Real Salt Lake before being traded to Toronto FC mid-way through the 2007 campaign. Cunningham was traded from Toronto FC to FC Dallas before the 2009 season for a third-round draft pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft.
Top Goal Scorers in Each Season:
2009: 17 goals – Jeff Cunningham (FC Dallas)
2008: 20 goals – Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy)
2007: 20 goals – Luciano Emilio (D.C. United)
2006: 16 goals – Jeff Cunningham (Real Salt Lake)
2005: 17 goals – Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution)
2004: 12 goals – Eddie Johnson (Dallas Burn); Brian Ching (San Jose Earthquakes)
2003: 15 goals – Carlos Ruiz (Los Angeles Galaxy); Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution)
2002: 24 goals – Carlos Ruiz (Los Angeles Galaxy)
2001: 19 goals – Alex Pineda Chacon (Miami Fusion)
2000: 26 goals – Mamadou Diallo (Tampa Bay Mutiny)
1999: 18 goals – Stern John (Columbus Crew); Roy Lassiter (D.C. United); Jason Kreis (Dallas Burn)
1998: 26 goals – Stern John (Columbus Crew)
1997: 16 goals – Jaime Moreno (D.C. United)
1996: 27 goals – Roy Lassiter (Tampa Bay Mutiny)