Who will win the MLS Golden Boot this season?
There are few things that can be seen that are more magical than a beautifully volleyed goal. A quality goal stirs up as much emotion as one of Michelangelo’s renaissance paintings. While quality goals represent all that is beautiful about the game of soccer, — the quantity of goals is as important as the quality. The MLS’ golden boot award celebrates the somewhat obsession we have with scoring as many goals as possible. Here’s a list of the top five favourites to finish the regular season with the most goals this season.
Number #1 - Josef Martinez
Atlanta United’s, Josef Martinez is at the top of the world at the moment. Last year he managed to collect the League title with his team and was named MVP, capping it all off by taking home the golden boot. The 25-year-old closed off the season with 31 goals in 32 games, that was the best season ever recorded in the MLS for any striker. Josef Martinez’s 2018 season was reminiscent of another South American giant’s — Luis Suarez’s outstanding 2013-2014 EPL season at Liverpool. Suarez scored 31 goals in 33 matches, won player of the year and the golden boot award ahead of teammate Daniel Sturridge.
Martinez is to Atlanta United what Suarez was to Liverpool. He’s still going to be at the forefront of United’s attack, scoring goals and setting the pace of the game. He has the best accuracy in the league, recording 56 on target shots out of 97. He is replicating the 85-90% average of last year’s performance and could retain the golden boot.
Number #2 - Zlatan Ibrahimovic
After joining Messi and Ronaldo on the list of living players who have netted 500 goals for country and club last year, we know that Zlatan is a goal-scoring maestro. He is, after all, Zlatan. In his debut MLS season, he proved to the world and his club that he can still be the engine of the team, with 23 goals in 27 games for the MLS giants, the LA Galaxy. However, he lost the golden boot to Atlanta United’s, Josef Martinez. The 37-year-old has declared that his goal for this season is to beat Martinez’s record-breaking 31 goals from last season, definitely something no one can put past him.
Maybe this will be the season that the Swede’s age finally catches up with him or he’ll maintain his solid performance throughout, and remain Galaxy’s top scorer. His start to this season seems to be pointing more towards the latter of the two scenarios. After missing, a couple of matches back in March due to an Achilles heel injury, he came back to score three goals in three games. Zlatan’s main task this season is to take LA Galaxy to the playoffs and claim that title.
Number #3 - Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney is absolutely and unequivocally a legend of the game. At 33, the veteran footballer’s presence in MLS alone is an incredible development for the league. He has had one of the best careers in football, winning multiple titles at Manchester United. Many fans will be looking at what he can bring to D.C United, hoping that he would replicate some of his best performances in the league across the pond. As a mid-season signing, he made a huge impact in D.C’s successful campaign last season, making it to the playoffs. Rooney’s 16 goals in 23 appearances was a good start to his career in the US.
Before Rooney left Manchester, it seemed as though the former captain had slowed down and was becoming more irrelevant with Jose Mourinho’s preferring to leave him out of his starting XI. The subsequent move to Everton did not produce sparks either. Nonetheless, the move to the States seems like a more comfortable place for the striker. He’s scoring goals and is playing with hunger, working for titles that he hasn’t been able to win in the last years of his career in England.
Number #4 - Bradley Wright Phillips
Another top runner for the golden boot this year is a two-time winner and New York Red Bulls forward — Bradley Wright Phillips. The 34-year old English forward closed last season with 20 goals and 8 assists. The playoffs period during the 2018 season was a slower part of the year for Phillips. Nonetheless, the rest of the year he was on point and on target, becoming the fastest player to score a century of goals back in July.
Phillips is the linchpin of the Red Bulls attack. The number 99 is good on the solo attack but he scores most of his goals from assists distinguishing him as the number 1 shot taker in the squad. The hype around the former Norwich player has lasted over 5 years since his MLS debut back in 2013, mainly due to his consistency as a centre forward which makes him a stand out choice to claim the golden boot this year.
Number #5 - Jordan Morris
Last season we barely saw much of Jordan Morris due to an ACL injury that took him out for most of the season. The time has arrived for the 24-year old striker to prove himself. Jordan is a graceful player with an acute accuracy in the penalty box, and particularly brilliant with converting from really tight angles. Jordan’s best season so far was the 2016 season where he netted 12 times in 33 games played.
Most likely to break the 20 goal threshold
The winner of the golden boot will most likely finish the season with an upward of 25 goals, given the competition with Josef Martinez who averaged 1.4 goals last season and Zlatan who wants to crush that record. However, there some players that are likely to surprise us and score between 15 - 20 goals this season and might even come close to finishing in the top five. Here are they are in no logical order: