MLS: 5 Players Who Will Be Vying for the Scoring Title This Season

John D. Halloran@JohnDHalloranContributor IIMay 14, 2012

MLS: 5 Players Who Will Be Vying for the Scoring Title This Season

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    With a third of the 2012 Major League Soccer campaign complete, a number of familiar faces are atop the goal-scoring chart. But which one of these grizzled veterans will have what it takes to be on top at the end of the season?

    Let’s take a look at five most likely players to win the MLS Golden Boot in 2012.

Chris Pontius, D.C. United

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    Certainly a dark horse among this group, Pontius has gotten off to a good start in 2012, picking up five goals in eight starts including a hat trick against the New York Red Bulls in late April.

    Pontius is actually only the second leading scorer on his own team (behind Maicon Santos' six goals), but he will definitely continue to benefit from being part of one of the most high-powered offenses in MLS with D.C. United.

Robbie Keane, Los Angeles Galaxy

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    Although Keane is off to a slow start with only three goals through nine games, everyone who doubts Keane’s scoring ability does so at their own risk.

    Keane can score in more ways than just about any MLS forward, whether it is with pace, power or finesse, and eventually he is going to get hot.

    In addition, with players like David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Juninho providing service, Keane should get more quality looks at goal than just about any other forward in the league.

Kenny Cooper, New York Red Bulls

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    Cooper has enjoyed a sterling start to his 2012 campaign, notching eight goals in eight starts so far this season.

    In the early going, Cooper benefited from his newfound partnership with Thierry Henry. But after Henry injured himself several weeks ago, Cooper has been forced into a lone-forward role, as the Red Bulls have started each game in a 4-5-1 since losing Henry.

    Despite playing without the talented Frenchman and without a partner up top, Cooper has continued to impress, scoring twice in his last two games.

Thierry Henry, New York Red Bulls

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    With nine goals in eight starts, Thierry Henry has the most goals per 90 minutes of any consistent starter in the league.

    In fact, the only thing that seems capable of stopping Henry this season is Henry himself. Shortly after scoring the game-winner late last month against the New England Revolution, Henry pulled up lame with a hamstring injury.

    Henry is expected back later this month.

Chris Wondolowski, San Jose Earthquakes

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    The smart money to win the MLS Golden Boot this year has to be on Chris Wondolowski.

    With 11 goals in 10 games, it’s difficult to bet against Wondo, who also scored the most league goals since 2010.

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