The 2011 MLS season is just about halfway done, but the race for best goal of the year is already over, courtesy of Vancouver's Eric Hassli.
The shot took place late in the second half of the Whitecaps' game against Seattle on Saturday night. With his team down 2-1, Hassli got the ball just outside the goal box and lobbed it to himself, then he unleashed a vicious shot that caught the upper left side of the net to tie the game, 2-2.
Soccer doesn't get enough credit from Americans, myself included, for being as exciting as it is. We all look at the box score and see a 1-0 score and assume that it was a dull 90 minutes with about 20 seconds of excitement for the goal.
The way people feel about that kind of game is the same way they feel about a 1-0 pitchers' duel in baseball.
But when you watch a soccer match, you can feel the energy and electricity from the fans in the stands more than you can in any other sport. They are into every little thing that goes on over the course of 90-plus minutes of action.
When you see a goal like this, you really gain an appreciation for the skills that these athletes have. Hassli basically set himself up for an alley-oop and he was able to finish it with one of the best shots that you will ever see.