Forwards in any team are vital. Without goals, you can't win games. I once heard one commentator state "no one comes to a football match to watch defenders". So to pay homage to the players that win matches, I will determine who the best forward in the MLS is.
Probably the most well-known forward in MLS, Henry has had a glistening career in Europe prior to his American debut. He started his career in the principality of Monaco where he spent five years playing in Ligue 1 before he moved to Juventus. However Arsenal came knocking and he quickly swapped Serie A for the Barclays Premier League. Part of the invincible team that took the Premier by storm, Henry became Arsenal's all-time top goal scorer. But Henry left his beloved Arsenal in 2007 for Barcelona and won the UEFA Champions League. "Mr va va voom" joined the Red Bulls in 2010, has since become an ambassador of the sport in America and has scored 25 goals since 2010, Henry hasn't played every game. However his influence on the pitch is second to only David Beckham. He has achieved cult status in fewer than three years.
Robbie Keane has played for 10 domestic clubs in four different countries. Starting with the Michigan Wolves in 1997 and ending at the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2011 in between this he had spells at Inter, Celtic and Liverpool. But his most successful time was a Spurs. 93 goals in two separate spells at White Hart Lane. Keane has had one of the most interesting careers out of any player in the world. Since his arrival at the Home Depot Centre, Keane has scored five goals in 13 games. That's not bad for the Republic of Ireland's all-time leading goal scorer who is perhaps one of the most gifted finishers of this generation.
"Wondo" is currently enjoying his second spell for the San Jose Earthquakes. After 88 games he has scored an amazing 50 goals. That's 1.75 goals per game. However his time at Houston Dynamo was a little less successful. Four goals in 37 games isn't great but there's no faulting his record now. At the age of 29, he's currently in his "prime" and every time he puts on a San Jose jersey, he looks deadly. He's currently the MLS top scorer with 13 goals. Some think he could make it in Europe but a move east has never happened for Earthquakes' most prized asset.
Cooper was born in Maryland but he started to apply his trade in Manchester. He was signed as a youngster by Sir Alex Ferguson and he was given a professional contract in 2004. However two years on loan at Academica and then Oldham, he never made a first team appearance for United. A move back to America followed as FC Dallas came calling. This is where is career really got started. 40 goals in 90 games for the Red Stripes gave him another chance in Europe.
This time German side 1860 Munich acquired his services but he only managed 2 goals in 13 games as he was loaned out to Plymouth Argyle for a season. He once again returned from England when the Portland Timbers sought a frontman. He only scored eight goals in 34 games but he proved himself to Hans Backe and he moved to the Red Bulls. He now sits second in the MLS top scorer charts with 11 goals and he's been vital to their championship hopes this season.
The Colombian has already made himself a cult figure in Seattle. A poster boy for many young Sounders fans, Montero has proved himself in the MLS. He started his career at Deportivo Cali and spent five years there scoring 22 goals. However, during this time he had three separate loan-spells at Academica, Atletico Huila and Seattle Sounders. The Sounders were so impressed with him that they signed him permanently. He has scored 38 goals in 100 games. Most followers of the MLS would tell you Montero is an exciting player that can change a game.
Unlike the others, Donovan isn't necessarily a striker by trade. He can play on either wing and in central midfield. However, he does play upfront on a regular occasion for the Galaxy and doesn't disappoint. He's had spells in Germany and England with Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern Munich and Everton. His time in Germany wasn't very successful but whilst at Everton he made a name for himself and all Everton fans cherished him and took him to their hearts. His time at LA Galaxy is unrivalled. 88 goals in 179 games for the American international isn't bad considering his doesn't always play as a frontman. He holds the most caps for the national team as well with 143. Not many European players have that many caps for their country.
Here are a few that just missed out: Juan Pablo Angel had an amazing scoring record at the Red Bulls and he is currently revitalised serving Chivas USA quite well. However his time at LA Galaxy was poor and his age just rules him. A contentious decision but he wouldn't make it in Europe anymore. Will Bruin is fresh on the scene and because of that he can't be seen as the best currently. Dwayne De Rosario isn't really a striker. Like Donovan he can play there but he just isn't one. He is more of a midfield playmaker than a front man. Alvaro Saborio may be a surprise to not be included because of his brilliant scoring record is brilliant, however, he isn't as influential as the others.
In my opinion, there can only be one player who can be named the best forward in the MLS. Landon Donovan has been there, done that and bought the t-shirt. He's done what Henry has failed to do as of yet. Win the MLS trophy. Also he wasn't just a passenger on the road to winning the trophy. He was one of the first names on the team sheet and always will be. Landon Donovan is a class professional that is loved in America and England. Henry only missed out because he is yet to win the cup.
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All information correct up to 29/6/12