Forward Jeff Cunningham of FC Dallas had one of the finest performances of any single player in MLS history last weekend against Kansas City at Pizza Hut Park. The journeyman striker would score four goals in the match and double his total to eight on the year putting him in contention with the league’s best. The four goal game was only one single goal away from the MLS record of five. And the number four does have some significance to Jeff Cunningham. The Jamaican born striker has been on four different clubs in the last four years.
Originally the 9th pick in the rookie draft out of University of South Florida in 1998, Jeff Cunningham had an impressive start to his career for the Columbus Crew. From 1998 to 2004 the forward would score 62 goals for the squad. However he was traded following a disappointing 2004 season to the Colorado Rapids. He scored 12 goals in 2005 for the club and was traded once again despite his starting role on the All Star team. This time Cunningham was sent to Real Salt Lake for Clint Dempsey. It would be the best move yet for the star forward.
Jeff scored 16 regular season goals and won the MLS Golden Boot Award for the 2006 season. Cunningham also showed his ability to pass, finishing the year with the second most assists in the league (11). However he was once again traded. This time Cunningham went to Toronto, where the player played his worst soccer of his career. In August of 2008, after two dismal years in which Cunningham could only score 6 goals, the club traded him to FC Dallas.
Cunningham’s four goal performance launched him to 112 career MLS goals and third on the all-time list. Here is a short list of the top goal scorers in MLS history.
#3 Jeff Cunningham (112)
#2 Ante Razov (114)
#1 Jaime Moreno (128)
In another year or two Cunningham, 32 years old, may be the MLS all-time leading goal scorer.