As you may know, Columbus Crew forward is chasing a record. In a league that's just 15 years old, any career record is probably a bit suspect, but the one for goals scored is probably the biggest there is. With 132 in his MLS career, he currently sits one behind Jaime Moreno.
On Wednesday, it looked like he was going to get his chance to tie that record after teammate Justin Meram was given a bit of a gift of a penalty against Real Salt Lake. Cunningham, after all, was the preordained penalty taker. Designated Player Andres Mendoza had other ideas, though.
Instead of deferring to Cunningham, even after team captain Chad Marshall tried to convince him otherwise and despite the urging of the crowd, Mendoza insisted on taking the kick himself. The apparent thinking being that he is the team's highest-paid player and every goal, penalty or otherwise, helps quiet the ample criticism he's been receiving this year.
To his credit, Mendoza buried the shot, his fourth goal -- and his second from the spot. After scoring, he seemed to flick his ear at the crowd -- his own fans, mind you -- a gesture he apparently repeated when he was pulled for a substitute about 10 minutes later to a chorus of boos. Mendoza later claimed to not be aware of the protocol in a situation like that, something that is nearly impossible to believe.
It's been a rough year for Mendoza, as he's been benched several times and, despite the respectable goal total, has not been very good. Incidents like these will no doubt make his life any easier, and you really have to wonder about the maturity of a player who is goading his own fans.
At least Cunningham comes out looking like a hero, though. He seemed genuinely supportive of Mendoza and