MLS: Top 10 Most Unforgettable Moments in League History

Ned Harwood@@RBStampedeContributor IIIMay 25, 2012

MLS: Top 10 Most Unforgettable Moments in League History

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    When looking back on Major League Soccer's 16-year history, you probably can recall several events that have remained strong in your memory.

    From the good, to the bad, to the heroic, the league has been full of memorable moments that have been stuck in the minds of fans since the day of their occurrences.

    Instead of searching through the archives of your brain to remember some of these events, I have conveniently listed some of the best moments in league history in this slideshow.

    Take a trip down memory lane and enjoy.

10. FC Dallas Wins in Mexico

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    Those who witnessed FC Dallas’ historic victory in Mexico on a Wednesday night last August hold a memory that won’t soon be forgotten.

    Labeled as Mexico’s little brother for decades, the joy that came when a MLS team finally defeated a club in Mexico was relieving. Looking at the patriotism on Twitter that night, you would have thought that the USMNT had won the World Cup.

    It wasn’t just a game—it was a moment that relieved decades of disappointment and pain for American fans everywhere. 

9. Seattle Sounders' Debut

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    The first ever game at Qwest Field in Seattle was one of the most unbelievable sights in American soccer history.

    To observe the packing in of 25,000 plus fans to watch a MLS regular season game was an image that will forever remain in most's minds. It was a key moment in the development of the league.

    The passion and support witnessed on that day set the standard for MLS supporter groups from then on. 

8. The Ricardo Clark Controversy

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    It may seem long ago now, but Ricardo Clark’s “Barton-esque” rampage is still a memory that stays strong in the minds of MLS fans.

    The assault kick was bad enough, but the fact that it was an unprecedented act in the league’s young history made it more memorable.

    The kick, the acting job by Ruiz and the long suspension has kept this incident fresh in our minds years after. 

7. 2006 MLS All-Star Game

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    Still trying to gain global respect in the world of football, Major League Soccer came up with the idea of scheduling European powerhouses to play against the MLS All-Stars every summer.

    After beating Fulham in 2005, MLS clearly wanted a bigger challenge. It scheduled Chelsea for the following season.

    Though many thought it was too big a jump and incredibly optimistic, the All-Stars went into Toyota Park and defeated the English giants 1-0—thanks to a goal by Dwayne De Rosario.

    The league took a huge leap that day in the quest to gain global respect and proved that the league had more talent than previously thought in Europe. 

6. 2009 MLS Cup Final

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    Has there ever been a more thrilling MLS Cup than RSL vs. LA’s barnburner in 2009?

    Coming into the game, the Galaxy were heavy favorites, as the team won the Western Conference and boasted the likes of Donovan, Beckham and Buddle.

    On the other side was RSL, who had barely sneaked into the playoffs just weeks before and contained a payroll far less than the Galaxy.

    After a first half goal by Mike Magee, a Robbie Findley strike in the second half knotted the game up for the underdogs and forced it into extra time. When extra time concluded, a Galaxy team with such experience still was expected to take home the title in a PK Shootout.

    However, penalty misses by Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle opened the door for Robbie Russell to sink home the final PK and seal the victory.

    An underdog winning in a PK shootout in front of nearly 50,000 at Qwest Field made this game an instant classic. 

5. The Inaugural MLS Match

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    While many people reading this might not have watched the Inaugural MLS match, those who did will appreciate this slide as a trip down memory lane.

    With soccer fever still buzzing after the 1994 World Cup, the debut of Major League Soccer could not have happened at a more perfect time. Having not had a legitimate American Soccer league for over a decade, the country was excited to embrace this game and everything it had to offer.

    Yet, many people questioned if MLS could sustain success after the “novelty effect” wore off and the well-known stars of the era hung up their boots. With that in mind, we all watched MLS’ Inaugural Game with an increased feeling of appreciation, for we honestly did not know how much longer we would be able to enjoy this luxury.

    That is why that game and Eric Wynalda’s fantastic goal have a special place in our memories today. 

4. Eric Hassli's Wonder Goal

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    When we are talking about memorable, Eric Hassli’s wonder goal might just be the best strike in league history.

    Watching the ball perfectly loop over Kasey Keller’s outstretched hand was an image that stuck not only in MLS fans’ minds, but millions of people worldwide.

    Moments after the Seattle-Vancouver game concluded, the goal went viral on the internet and surmounted millions of views in just a matter of days. It was the first MLS goal ever to be an ESPY candidate at last year’s awards.

    Simply put, this wonder goal is one of the greatest of all time. It deserves at least a corner in our memories.

3. Mullan Breaks Zakuani's Leg

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    Although it was a memory we would all like to forget, this tackle has unfortunately left a stain on our minds since it happened.

    It was the tackle that caused uproar for weeks across social networking sties from fans of the league.

    A tackle that resulted in the longest extended suspension for a player in league history. A tackle that abruptly halted the career of one of MLS’ bright young stars.

    You can try to forget this horrific challenge, but it just won’t go away. 

2. Eddie Pope Becomes the Hero

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    Sixteen years later, I still can recall the image of Eddie Pope sliding head first into his teammates after scoring the MLS Cup-winning goal in the league's inaugural championship.

    On a horrendous day in Foxborough, DC United and LA Galaxy went head-to-head to see who would take home the initial league crown. The Galaxy scored twice to give themselves an early lead in the game before United stormed back and completed the ultimate comeback that concluded with Pope’s 94th minute winner.

    The moment turned a well-respected defender into an eternal MLS legend and established the dynasty that was DC United.

    See the goal at 2:09.

1. MLS Announces Beckham Signing

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    Do you remember where you were when you heard the stunning news?

    The jaw-dropping rumors that David Beckham was indeed coming to America to play soccer seemed too outrageous to be true. However, when the league confirmed they were signing the international superstar, all speculation and doubt was immediately replaced with anticipation and complete elation.

    We all knew the type of impact a signing like this would have on our league. It would change Major League Soccer forever.

    The acknowledgement of the potential of this signing mixed with the feeling of joy that someone actually wanted to play in the United States is a feeling most MLS fans will never forget.