Opinions vary on this week’s best MLS goal

ThierryHenryGOW (ISIPHotos.com)

In a league where the quality of goals is improving on a regular basis, it is pretty much unheard of to everfind a complete consensus on MLS Goal of the Week. This week, after seeing three magical goals scored, the debate is stronger than any goal award debate since the "Nagbe or Hassli" Goal of the Year debate in 2011.

Thierry Henry, Julian deGuzman and Fredy Montero all scored special goals over the weekend, and if you ask fans of their respective teams, chances are they might tell you that you're clinically insane for not voting for their player's goal as Goal of the Week (and apologies to San Jose fans, but as impressive as Alan Gordon's team goal was, passing through an opponent that has looked like traffic cones for the past month isn't quite as impressive as these other goals).

In case you missed them, or want to see them again, here are Henry's goal, deGuzman's goal and Montero's goal.

As you know, Henry's goal was named SBI MLS Goal of the Week. And no, it wasn't because that was the one of the three aforementioned goals I saw in person. It was the pick because Henry's goal was a special goal, something you almost never, if ever see (no, I don't simply mean an Olympico, since we have seen those before, but rather an Olympico hit perfectly over the goalkeeper and off the back post). A goal you could show anybody, soccer fan or not, and chances are they'll say "Wow" (I know because I spent part of Saturday night in New York City showing people this goal on my phone and 'Wow' was the general response).

Folks in the Pacific Northwest and in Texas had other ideas, which I found out afternaming Henry's goal SBI's pick. DeGuzman's dramatic last-minute volley blast could have easily been the pick because of the skill and importance of the goal, and Montero's outstanding finish came in an intense derby (and earned me double fantasy points). Both might have earned Goal of the Week in my book in most week.

Just not this week.

In an effort to get a better sense of which goal really was the most impressive, I decided to survey some MLS players. I asked six players (none of which either play with or played against either Henry, Montero or DeGuzman last week) which goal they thought was the best and the voting was unanimous. All six picked Henry's goal, with all but one choosing DeGuzman's goal second. Why the overwhelming support for Henry's goal among players? I would say it is because none of them questioned whether Henry meant to perfectly strike a corner kick off the top of the far post and over Columbus goalkeeper Matt Lampson. Plenty of fans, and some media, refuse to believe he meant it (something Henry had to know when he adamantly insisted he meant it after the match).

So now I ask you, SBI readers, to chime in. Which goal did you think was best, and why? You can cast your vote after the jump (though as we know, polls are too easily manipulated to ever truly be trusted as a fair measure of popular consensus). I'm more interested in hearing people's opinions (and feel free to let us know where you are chiming in from).

Share your thoughts (and your vote) below:

 

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60 Responses to Opinions vary on this week’s best MLS goal

  1. Gnarls says:

    “It was the pick because Henry’s goal was a special goal, something you almost never, if ever see.”

    A goal from a corner kick? Really? Beckham has scored three of those in the last 2 years, if I recall correctly. It was a great goal, but it certainly is not “something you almost never, if ever see.”

    (SBI-Olimpicos have happened, but when’s the last time someone hit a corner on the fly off the top of the back post? It’s virtually an indefensible play unless the keeper actually knows it’s coming.)

  2. Raymon says:

    DeGuzman yo. Scored in stoppage time, in a game in which FCD dominated the chances but couldnt finish, in a playoff-important game against the team they are chasing for the last spot, using touch and skill. Oh, and it’s the only one I saw in person.

    (SBI-And another vote for DeGuzman from someone in Dallas. Who would have guessed ;-)

  3. n8ngrimm says:

    This is not a very representative poll since it comes right after an article arguing for a specific option.

    (SBI-The poll doesn’t really matter, I just threw it up to see what kind of results we would get. I’m interested more in hearing actual arguments from people (and I’d love to hear some from people who aren’t either Sounders, FC Dallas or Red Bulls fans).

    And if you honestly think my remarks about the Henry goal being the pick this week is swaying many people to vote that way who weren’t already, then I think you’re giving me way more credit than I deserve.)

  4. n8ngrimm says:

    to SBI: The author of this post is from New York, correct? By that measure this commenter and the author have the exact same bias.

  5. n8ngrimm says:

    You’re a well-known, respected blogger. With three very different and insanely good goals to choose from I could easily see your article swaying neutrals.

    (SBI-Flattery will get you nowhere. Haha. Kidding aside, the point of the post wasn’t to try and glean an impartial vote on it, so it’s not really all that pertinent. I was just interested in hearing from readers about the goals, and I wanted to share the results of my survey of MLS players. Considering I had already named it Goal of the Week on Monday it was pretty clear I wasn’t here trying to set up some impartial voting scenario. In retrospect I could have just not included a poll, but I threw it on at the last minute out of pure curiosity. I also think far more people will form their own opinions and stick to them than simply pick Henry’s because I picked it.)

  6. Aguinaga says:

    I’d probably add that Henry’s fame and status as one of the elite players of all time has to help his cause a bit, as I wonder if a more famous player had scored DeGuzman’s goal, would it have garnered more favor. Still, no contest. That gol olimpico was simply ridonkulous.

  7. Kevin_Amold says:

    This RSL fan says DeGuzman.

  8. David s. says:

    I don’t have an MLS team anywhere hear where I live, but if you’re asking ‘what was the best goal?’, it’s clearly Henry. But I voted for Ge Guzman in the MLS’ poll and did here again. Goals have contexts, and Dallas FC was seconds away from squandering multiple chances, in front of a good home crowd, to save/prolong their season. And JdG saved their bacon with a quality, quality strike. GOTW.

    (SBI-It’s definitely a worthy goal, and I could have gone either way, but ultimately it boils down what you touch on. Best goal. If we’re talking Most Important Goal of the Week, then sure, it’s DeGuzman by a landslide, but nowhere is it written that the context of a goal has to be factored into whether it is the goal of a particular week. It can be a factor, but it’s pretty much up to each individual to decide how much of a factor that will be.)

  9. David s. says:

    Appols fpr all teh typing errors.

  10. Shane says:

    Not a fan of NY, Dallas or Seattle and I picked Montero’s goal. I just think it is the most difficult. He had a man on him and got that shot off so quick and at such an angle. The Henry and DeGuzman goals were scored with essentially no pressure and are all something you can practice.

  11. DJ says:

    Obviously Henry for the reasons already mentioned. I’m an SKC fan, so I’m hoping for less of that kind of blinding brilliance tonight at RBNY.

    It was cold, calculated, and viscerally devastating. How the hell would an opposing team answer Henry’s goal?

    Henry by a mile.

  12. 19561 says:

    Great article. Intersting to hear what players thought.
    NYRB fan – Henry’s was elegant, beautiful and technically difficult. He meant it.
    Deguzman was technically difficult -looks simple but its not. its hard to chest it smoothly down while moving and volley it on the fly. The context makes it GOW for me.

  13. wides says:

    The commenter is a fan of the team… the author is not. Not the same bias.

  14. Idaho Brian says:

    As stated in some of the comments above, DeGuzman had the most important of the three goals, but the pure skill of Henry’s goal was incredible and should be the goal of the week.

  15. j1mbr0wn says:

    Henry’s goal hands down. I should say, Henry’s SECOND goal hands down. His first goal of the night was probably as good as either of the other two. That’s right, we got a twofer on Saturday.

  16. Brian Looft says:

    Gonna give the author a yellow card for time wasting.

    But since you asked: Henry. From NJ of course!

  17. THomas says:

    Well I’m from Chicago…didn’t read the article. I just clicked on the links in order. First Henry’s, which is pure class because unlike some of Beckham’s Olimpicos, Henry meant this one.

    Then De Guzman’s, which given the time in the match, season, and standings. His got my vote.

    Then I watched Montero’s which just seemed like a shot and a prayer.

    And yes, I am the authority on wunderstikes.

  18. Adrian says:

    I don’t understand how people can vote for anything except Henry’s goal. Those other goals happen once or twice a week in MLS.

    Henry’s goal is one you may never see again in your lifetime at any level. It was, intentionally, one of the most perfect goals ever scored.

    Saying the ‘context matters’ is another way of saying the goal you like isn’t of the quality of the other so you need to introduce other criteria to justify choosing it. By that logic the goal scored to win the MLS cup, regardless of what it is, should be goal of the year, every year.

  19. Smacking says:

    I’m in the same boat, but don’t think practice time plays into it as much as outright skill and speed. Montero’s half turn and fire happens so fast and with so much precision, he’s my winner.

  20. Knuckles says:

    The skill involved in all three goals is pretty damn impressive, so I refuse to vote (although I think I would have to, grudgingly, give it to Henry). I will, however, give Gspurning “Assist of the Week.”

  21. Primoone says:

    Dont get it twisted SBI….its much easier to go far post than near to beat a keeper. Nthat is magnified even more on a corner considering he is facing the ball and actually protecting anything in fron as well as near. The swirve on the ball is less pronounced when going near post. There is less margin for error considering that there is always a defender on the line near post. Also, i dont believe there was a defender protecting far post on the line.Considering that…who wouldnt try and take advantage of a poorly positioned keeper and defender? That goal was easy for him. Thats why you dont see many goals far post on a corner…its too easy to defend.

  22. elgringorico says:

    It simply all depends on how you personally weigh the words “skill” and “context” with relation to the definition of “best.” It’s all semantics, but for me context definitely outweighs skills, therefore Guzman’s is not the only most “important” but also the “best” goal of the week. DeGuzman’s goal created far more jubilation and raw emotion amongst fans than Henry’s did, and that is what soccer is all about, is it not?

  23. NE REVS says:

    When’s the last time someone hit the back post. Remi Galliard does it once a youtube video. It might happen more often if people tried to do it but nobody does. Still impressive, but my panties are still dry.

  24. Raymon says:

    Ives, thanks for the forum for banter. I wish we could have this friendly debate in person, whether at Nevada Smiths in NYC over buffalo wings, or at Chuy’s in Dallas with Margaritas or Shiners.

  25. Adrian says:

    So the goal that wins the MLS cup is goal of the year, every year for you? That’s what you just said.

  26. AdamFromMich says:

    I also voted for the DeGuzman goal. Henry’s goal may have been prettier, but DeGuzman’s goal mattered far more. For the record, I live in Michigan, I’ve never lived in Texas, I’m not a Dallas fan, and definitely not a DeGuzman fan.

  27. elgringorico says:

    No, I said context outweighs skill, but it’s certainly not the determining factor. I’ll say for me it’s 65% context and 35% skill. That being said, yes, the goal that wins the MLS cup should always be considered for goal of the year for its context.

  28. elgringorico says:

    Think about it. What goal are more people going to remember, Iniesta’s not terribly skillful WC winning goal… or the absolutely incredible Van Bronckhorst (sorry, SP)goal in the SF? Or what about one of Forlan’s crackers? People will remember the Iniesta goal because of the context.

  29. Marlon says:

    Do players make any kind of bonus for getting this weekly awards?

  30. Gnarls says:

    Ives, if Henry’s intention was to hit the upper far post then I’ll concede, nod goes to Henry. But to me, that part was more luck than anything else. In all likelihood, he was trying to put the ball in a good spot for his teammates. Mission accomplished in any case.

    De Guzman’s goal was an off-the-chest volley during the run of play during last 30 seconds of stoppage, and won Dallas the game. Those three factors really pull me toward De Guzman for GOTW.

    And I am a neutral fan in this case.

    (SBI-LIke I said before Gnarls, DeGuzman’s is a worthy pick, and I really could have flipped a coin it was so close in my book. To me, the tie-breaker probably boils down to this. Which one of those goals is more likely to be remembered five years from now? I’m willing to bet more people (outside Dallas) will remember Henry’s Olimpico than will remember DeGuzman’s late heroics.)

  31. Brain Guy says:

    Your contention that Henry got lucky flies in the face of the evidence. If Henry were trying to “put the ball in a good spot for his teammates,” surely he would have put the kick somewhere in the box; he’s too good to miss by that much. (There was nobody at the far post.) The “smart” play at the point in stoppage time might have been a time-wasting short corner, but as Henry said after the game (and as his pointing to his eyes right after the goal attests), he saw the goalkeeper cheating to the near post and saw an opportunity.

  32. Joel J says:

    Gotta vote Henry. I like Freddy’s goal also as his shot was from nowhere and took me by surprise. DeGuzman’s goal was the most important, but I’d actually rate the goals…

    1) Henry
    2) San Jose Team Goal
    3) tied for Freddy and DeGuzman.

  33. TomM says:

    Rapids fan- Henry.

  34. TomG says:

    I like JDG’s goal a bit better too for the moment involved and the impact on the game, but I disagree w/ your assessment of TH’s intent. That corner was straight up intentional. He saw the keeper creeping up and took his shot.

  35. TomG says:

    I’d tend to agree (and I’m a NYRB fan), but all 3 were beautiful goals. I love the quality in MLS the past couple years. There have been some amazing highlights and exhibitions of skill.

  36. Kevin_Amold says:

    SBI Comment Sections-Come for the banter, stay for the rank hyperbole.

  37. TomG says:

    Ha! Folks have never been inclined to just agree with Ives on his site. It tends to attract quite the contrarian crowd.

  38. Henry says:

    Context outweighs skill? Rediculous. Goal of the week is about Golazos, not Game Winners. It is all about the skill, nothing else matters.

  39. ArsenFan says:

    All three goals were beautiful – very, very few players have enough skill to pull those off.

  40. josh says:

    “and earned me double fantasy points” nice that you were able to get John Lennon on your fantasy team!

  41. QuakerOtis says:

    Henry, no question.

    And I don’t think this “context” thing is just semantics either. With context, you could run down the slippery slope Adrian did and proclaim that context makes the season winning goal the de facto goal of the year every year (I understand you’re being sarcastic), or you could just admit that this context thing is subjective, a means of maintaining the “relative objectivity” of a homer’s standard.

    Hell, by that logic, every goal my Quakes score is the goal of the week since those goals keep them on track for winning the Supporters Shield, on track for winning the Cup… again ;)

    But most importantly, what’s with all this: “All Henry had to do was kick the ball to the far post from a dead ball situation. He and everyone could see that the spot was open, so ALL HE HAD TO DO was put it there.”

    All he had to do… All he had to do?!?!

    ()*^(%!

    Look, it doesn’t take anything away from the importance of the DeGuzman goal (which was great) or detract from Montero’s clear, week in and week out brilliance to admit that Henry’s was just a class above.

    Perhaps the real problem is that he made it look too easy.

  42. soccerhorn says:

    This is hilarious. Beckham scored off a corner three weeks ago, and it barely got a mention. Now Henri scores one in New York, and the world is coming to a stop? Oh clearly the whole world is biased towards LA. Not.

    For the record – I am an AYSO referee. This past weekend I reffed a match in which an 11 year old boy scored off a corner kick, far post, just like Henri. Yeah, really impressive.

  43. Weston says:

    I’m gonna go all un-popular here and say Montero.

    Henry’s goal. amazing. No doubt.
    Guzman’s. Holy Crap. That’s special stuff.

    But I’m gonna say Montero because I think the speed and technique he used was incredible and extremely difficult.

    A lot of people can bend it in from the corner. Off the back post is special. But Henry’s goal is more mentally brilliant than anything else.

    Guzman’s was incredible, and he had two guys crashing in on him.

    But I think Montero’s was just pretty special considering he took it off the bounce, facing away from the goal, and got it up over the keeper and back down in time to hit the back of the net all in about 12 yards of space.

  44. Adam M. says:

    Context. Its roughly 40 yards from the corner to the back post at RBA. A goal is 8 feet tall, and the spot Henry hit is roughly two feet under the cross bar. Now imagine if you stood a foot to the right of center on the 30 yard line of an NFL field and the goalposts were turned exactly sideways (NFL goalposts are a few feet wider than an MLS goal). How many times out of ten do you think an average NFL quarterback could hit the far goalpost at the point where it meets the crossbar? I’d say maybe one of ten. Henry did the equivilant of that spontaneously and with intent in a game situation. The other goals were real nice goals.

  45. 19561 says:

    Best explanation yet for Montero.

  46. Gnarls says:

    You make a strong point re: memorability of a goal. I concede, and I like this SBI-reader interaction! That’s why we read your blog. Ives is a man of the people.

  47. Jeff says:

    Okay I am biased here as I was in NY for the Henry goal, so obviously you know my vote. The one thing I will say is the reaction to the goal was something I have never witnessed. When the ball hit the post and went in, everyone threw their arms up to celebrate but it felt like a couple seconds went by before people jumped up and started cheering. It took people time to realize and understand what had really happened.

  48. QuakerOtis says:

    Problem solved: Oscar for MLS GOTW.

  49. Brain Guy says:

    I agree, Gnarls. Nice debating with you.

  50. Andy in LA says:

    I’d just add that it’s fantastic for MLS to have a discussion like this going on. There really isn’t a ‘right’ answer to this one, obviously, as all three are pretty superb top-notch goals. I guess I’m one of those swayed by the drama of the timing of the de Guzman goal, but I don’t pretend that there’s anything other than personal preference behind that choice.
    What gets me excited is that all three of these happened in one MLS week. This is the first year I’ve really followed the Galaxy or MLS in general (I’m a repentant Euro snob, my apologies to the soccer gods), and while I’m still being slowly lured into it, this kind of thing will help get me hooked pretty quick.
    Also, I love that some people thought Ives’ stating a preference would sway the poll– first of all, who cares, for heaven’s sake, and second of all, yeah, the regular commenters here really love to just go along with Ives’ opinions. That’s how it always works!

  51. divers suck says:

    The reason why I think Montero and de Guzman goals were better is because they were both absolutely sick goals in the run of play with Monteros being a snap volley while being draped on by a defender after a direct pass from the goalkeeper. Henrys goal, for me, was very nice but more of an indictment on the embarrassing goalkeeping and the basic setting up of the defenders for the corner kick. Most professional players (and many lower level) can practice corners into an empty goal and eventually turn into somewhat of an art scoring on them. Goalkeepers and defenders should NEVER let them go in. And lets face it, you can tell by the look on TH face that he himself knew it was a lucky goal.

  52. QuakerOtis says:

    Just curious, could you tell whether or not that kid’s goal was a fluke or intended? Good for the kid in either case. I think it’s Henry’s awareness, intent, and execution that has those in his camp so impressed.

    I’m thinking that this whole debate comes down to those who appreciate “the moment” versus those who appreciate the way years of technical practice and dedication can make a difficult thing look easy… so easy that some would argue how any 11 year old can routinely replicate it. Though both certainly go into the enjoyment of sport, I am routinely floored by how great some atheletes are on command. Henry’s goal is the latest example of that level of skill in this league. Glad he’s here.

  53. Cayman Cash Stash says:

    Montero’s goal was sick.. no competition

  54. nate says:

    I was on the near post when one was scored on my team–in high school (except it was actually a better kick cuz it curled inside the far post entirely; let’s be honest, any time you’re banking it off a round post there’s a bit of luck involved, intentional or not). Impressive, sure, but let’s not get carried away. DeGuzman’s was more technical and more important to the match.

  55. Polo says:

    SBI: Nobody tries it because any decent keeper would easily get to that ball. Columbus’ #1 keeper even admitted it was an embarrassment for his sub to have let in such a goal. That’s not the definition of a goal of the week.

  56. Polo says:

    “I can empathize with him,” Gruenebaum said of his understudy Lampson, “because I’ve had something probably more embarrassing happen to me against New York in New York.”

    This is Columbus’ first keeper talking about the substitute kid who let Henry’s goal in. That’s right, an embarrassment. That is NOT the definition of a goal of the week. You rarely see far post goals like this because no decent keeper in the world would let one in. I see them all the time in kids’ leagues, though, and no, it’s not that impressive. As for MLS, it’s more sad than impressive.

  57. Pedro says:

    Says who? Don’t be so arrogant. GOTW has always been about more than just the technicality of the goal and skill involved, because it’s a fan vote and it’s up to them to decide. If you don’t like it leave.

  58. Pedro says:

    Do you play soccer? Curling a ball is not that hard. You see tons of olimpicos in jr-high soccer because keepers aren’t experienced enough.

    And context is not all, but it is important, and GOTW is a fan vote, so it’s up to the fans to decide if a goal is more important to them because of context, you can’t decide for them.

  59. Pedro says:

    An american football ball is not round. You can’t bend it. Soccer balls are super easy to bend. I don’t think you know what you’re talkin about, sorry.

    Olimpicos happen in high school ALL THE TIME because of inexperienced keepers.