United States Soccer: The 5 Most Memorable Men's & Women's Goals of All Time

Tim Fontenault@Tim_FontenaultCorrespondent IJuly 11, 2011

United States Soccer: The 5 Most Memorable Men's & Women's Goals of All Time

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    The United States may not be the most recognized country in soccer, but we sure do have a bit of history in the game.

    The men's team has shown talent at times while the women's team is the best in the world and arguably of all-time on their side of the coin.

    There have been many great goals in US Soccer history; these are the five most memorable.

5) Preki Scores Lone Goal to Beat Brazil, 1998 CONCACAF Gold Cup

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    Brazil were the 1994 FIFA World Cup champions after winning on American soil and finished second in 1998.

    Only a couple months before the 1998 World Cup, they were back in America in the Gold Cup.

    In the semifinals, the United States got one of its greatest wins of all time. To this day, despite playing the Selecao many times, this remains the only American win over the Brazilians.

    Preki only scored four goals for the United States in five years on the national team. This was by far the greatest.

    Eric Wynalda played the ball for the Kansas City Wizards star, who fired home a left footer to give a memorable win to the Americans.

    To this day, this is one of the greatest three wins in American men's team history.

4) Joe Gaetjens Scores the Winner to Beat England, 1950 FIFA World Cup

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    It's known as the Miracle on Grass.

    A bunch of amateur soccer players from the United States made the trip down to Brazil for the 1950 FIFA World Cup.

    They were eliminated in the group stage, only winning one out of three, but that one is still considered one of the greatest upsets in soccer history.

    These young, inexperienced Americans were taking on mighty England, a world power.

    England were eliminated in the group stage by a goal from a Haitian-born American who scored only one goal for the United States in his career.

    Joe Gaetjens, a 26-year-old born in Port au Prince, threw himself at the ball in front of goal and put it past the England goalkeeper. The match would end with the United States winning 1-0.

    There is not really any good footage of the shot, seeing as technology 61 years ago was not what it is today, but no doubt, this is the greatest win in men's team history and one of the most memorable goals.

3) Landon Donovan's Stoppage Time Winner Against Algeria, 2010 World Cup

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    The United States needed a miracle.

    Poor play and some adversity in its two draws with England and Slovenia put the Yanks to the sword against Algeria. Turns out, they were not at their best in this game either.

    All the same, the country, united over a sport many of them would probably only watch that one time every four years, stopped what it was doing to see if the United States could reach the knockout stage for only the fourth time in history.

    They did.

    With the match scoreless, goalkeeper Tim Howard grabbed the ball in the 91st minute and quickly played out what would be the last chance for the Yanks. A draw or loss would mean Slovenia were through as group runners-up.

    Instead, American soccer icon Landon Donovan come flying out of nowhere to put in a rebound of a Clint Dempsey shot and seal the American's place as group winners in Group E at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

    The excitement was short lived as another weak performance saw the Yanks eliminated by Ghana, but there was certainly a change in thought about the sport back home.

2) Wambach Equalizes Brazil with Latest World Cup Goal Ever, 2011 World Cup

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    Words cannot describe this game.

    This goal beats Donovan's simply because this game will go down as one of the greatest ever played.

    After the United States got an early lead in the World Cup quarterfinal with Brazil, they saw everything start to go wrong. They couldn't catch a break with the referee and Brazil were about to steal one in extra time.

    Up 2-1 from a 92nd-minute volley from Marta, Brazil seemed set to take on France in the semifinals.

    Abby Wambach had other ideas.

    The United States kept their resolve for over 55 minutes with only 10 players. They were rewarded when Megan Rapinoe played an absolutely perfect ball to the far post for one of the greatest goal scorers in women's soccer history, the 31-year old Wambach.

    The goal in the 122nd minute (the second minute of three added minutes in the second half of stoppage time) is the latest goal ever scored in either the men's or women's World Cup.

    The Americans capped off one of the greatest soccer matches of all time by winning the penalty shootout 5-3 to advance to the semifinals. They are the only team to have reached the semifinals in every Women's World Cup.

    This goal will define Wambach's career and has really made Americans look differently on the Beautiful Game.

1) Brandi Chastain Scores the Winning PK, 1999 World Cup Final

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    There really cannot be a doubt about this one.

    In yet another classic involving the women's team, the Americans went 120 scoreless minutes with fellow world power China in a clash of the titans at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

    This was not just any game though, it was the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup final.

    The long battle resulted in a penalty shootout, which went punch for punch. The only hiccup for either side, China's Liu Ying saw her shot saved by Brianna Scurry in the third round of kicks.

    With the US shooting last, the score was 4-4 heading into the last shot. Brandi Chastain could end it. Otherwise, it would go to sudden death in the shootout.

    Calm, cool, and collected, Chastain drove a left-footed shot past Gao Hong, giving the Americans a 5-4 and their second World Cup triumph.

    Twelve years later, this shot still lives on as one of the proudest moments in American sports history and certainly the best in American soccer. It deserves to be No. 1.