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20 Best MLS Goals of All Time

Juan Carlos SalasContributor IIIDecember 27, 2016

20 Best MLS Goals of All Time

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    There have been hundreds of goals throughout the 17 seasons of Major League Soccer's existence.

    Among all those goals, there are many memorable ones. Goals that will never be forgotten for reasons of importance, caliber or just dumb luck.

    To narrow them down to the best 20 in history is difficult. I'm sure some were overlooked for the simple reason there is no video archive that's easily accessible.

    With that said, this list, I believe, does do justice to the best goals we've seen in MLS. We may not agree on the ranking order, but there's no denying that these 20 goals are among the best.

    And if there are some I missed, there is always the comment box below for you to share. Enjoy.

20. Alexi Lalas (1997)

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    (Skip to 0:55)

    It's the flying red tomato!

    Alexi Lalas tallied 16 goals in his MLS career. His most memorable coming with the New England Revolution, where he only scored three goals in two seasons.

    Seeing Lalas, a 6'3" defender, launch himself horizontal to head the ball in is a sight never forgotten for those who remember the early years of the league. 

19. Carlos Ruiz (2002)

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    Maybe not the most impressive, but Carlos Ruiz's game-winner at the 2002 MLS Cup was a textbook counter-attacking goal. 

    It didn't just end the L.A. Galaxy's MLS Cup drought, failing on three different attempts, but it also marked the beginning of New England's string of unsuccessful attempts to capture the league championship.

    After New England failed to capture the MLS Cup in their home stadium in 2002 against L.A., they failed again three other times (2005-2007). 

18. Dwayne De Rosario (2005)

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    Dwayne De Rosario's 2005 MLS Goal of the Year was a rocket, simple as that.

    It didn't matter how many times goalkeeper Kevin Hartman would adjust his wall, he had no chance in reaching that ball.

    It wasn't the first time we saw such a goal from DeRo, who has been known to launch bombs for many years now. 

17. Juninho (2010)

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    Juninho has scored all his goals from outside the 18-yard box, and this goal against Seattle was one of his first. 

    It takes a lot to beat Kasey Keller from 35-plus yards, but Juninho has shown the ability to score spectacular goals from this distance

    The announcer commenting that "Juninho hit that ball with no regard for humanity" only adds to the brilliance of the goal.

16. Will Johnson (2008)

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    You must have a lot of confidence to score a goal like Will Johnson did in 2008 for Real Salt Lake.

    Even before he received the ball, Johnson knew what he was going to try, and it took talent to keep the ball on frame. 

    It was a magical goal that earned him MLS Goal of the Year honors. 

15. Cornell Glen (2004)

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    Cornell Glen wasn't the most productive forward in the league, but he was a very strong and physical forward.

    The method Glen (while playing with the New York MetroStars) turned on Steve Jolley, refusing to go down with Jolley's tugs while he ran half the field to score, demonstrated that strength he brought to the league for seven seasons.  

14. Landon Donovan (2009)

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    Is this Landon Donovan goal luck or skill?

    There was an argument that the New England defender deflects it into his own net, but the bend on the ball by Donovan could refute that claim.

    Nonetheless, this is an amazing goal in a short span when Donovan was finding the back of the net from outside the 18-yard box.  

13. Brian Ching (2006)

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    This is one of two bicycle-kick goals you will see on this list.

    Brian Ching's goal was beautifully placed to the bottom corner, passed the outstretched D.C. United goalkeeper Troy Perkins.

12. Cuauhtemoc Blanco (2007)

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    Cuauhtemoc Blanco played three seasons for the Chicago Fire.

    While his influence on the team fell a little bit short of expectations, his 25-yard golazo makes it one of the best goals in league history.  

11. Marcelo Balboa (2000)

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    Marcelo Balboa was known as the American bicycle kick maestro. He wasn't just accurate, but he put power behind his shots.

    Fans saw Balboa's tendency of his trademark bicycle kick years before he scored this beauty for the Colorado Rapids—once in the 1997 MLS Cup and in the 1994 World Cup.

10. Marco Pappa (2012)

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    It's better to be lucky than good. In this case, Marco Pappa was both. 

    His goal this past weekend against the Seattle Sounders was aided by the wind, but it has to still be marked as one of the best in league history. 

    Goals from the corner kick spot come far and few between, but you'll see it twice today.

9. Jaime Moreno

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    Jaime Moreno is considered the best player in Major League Soccer history.

    Moreno scored over 100 goals in his 15-year career. But it's his goal against New England that's one of his best. He burns Clint Dempsey and goes by Michael Parkhurst to beat Matt Reis for the goal.

8. David Beckham (2011)

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    Unlike Marco Pappa's goal, David Beckham's Olympic goal didn't need the aid of the wind.

    The bodies in front of the net probably blinded Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson from making a clean save, but the spin on that ball was all Beckham. 

7. Darlington Nagbe (2011)

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    Darlignton Nagbe's two-juggle volley from outside the 18-yard box is absolutely an insane goal.

    This wonder strike gave the Portland Timbers midfielder Goal of the Year honors last season. 

6. Eric Hassli (2011)

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    Eric Hassli could have won the 2011 MLS Goal of the Year if not for Nagbe.

    Actually, I think this goal is better that Nagbe's because it's so difficult to strike the ball across your body, and give it enough dip to tuck it away in the far corner. 

    It was a brilliant goal, with maybe a bit of luck, which probably cost the Vancouver Whitecaps forward the honor.  

5. Carlos Ruiz (2011)

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    It's Carlos Ruiz again with another wonder goal, this time for the Philadelphia Union

    There is nothing much to say about this goal, just stare in amazement.

    It's not only a goal scored of a broken play that Ruiz started, it's also off his weaker foot. 

4. Brian McBride (1998)

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    Brian McBride was the quintessential blue-collar soccer player. Giving all of himself to find the back of the net. 

    It's the reason USMNT soccer fans loved him, why Fulham fans loved him and why Columbus Crew fans loved him.

    His 1998 half-bicycle kick, half-upside down ninja goal was the best example of why fans respected McBride.

    The fact he bounces back up and acts like the goal is no big deal is why fans adored him.

3. Marco Etcheverry (1997)

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    Much like his D.C. United and Bolivian teammate Jaime Moreno, Marco Etcheverry is considered the best MLS player to don the No. 10 shirt. 

    His nickname, "El Diablo," took shape from his devil-like antics on the field.

    Etcheverry's abilities are shown best in this goal, where he shields one defender inside the 18-yard box, tip-toes around a tackle and then slips the ball underneath the sweeping legs of Alexi Lalas and into the back of the net.   

2. Landon Donovan (2005)

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    Before the L.A. Galaxy won the 2005 MLS Cup, they defeated Colorado in the Western Conference final on the back of Landon Donovan.

    Donovan's second goal of the match is the best goal he's scored in league history. Donovan starts his run in the midfield, plows through three defenders and finally curls the ball around Joe Canon.

    The win didn't just seal a trip for L.A. to the MLS Cup, but it also made Donovan the league's top postseason goal scorer.

1. Clint Mathis (2001)

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    I couldn't end this list without Cletus.

    Clint Mathis' 2001 goal has to be the best goal in MLS history. It may not be a long bomb from 30 yards away, but that's the beauty of it; this goal is gorgeous soccer. 

    From his own half, Mathis takes off, runs by four defenders and rifles the ball from 15 yards out.

    When you see Mathis sprint across the field like that, it can't help but remind you of Diego Maradona's 1986 goal against England—of course, Maradona had a little bit more traffic.

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