USMNT Daily Update: SBI’s Top 5 National Team Goals of 2012

Photo by ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

Another year is about to go into the books, but like any year, 2012 saw a handful of gems scored by the U.S. Men’s National Team.

The Americans scored 23 times in 2012, and several of those goals were quality strikes. From jaw-dropping, one-timed volleys to a pair of historic finishes, there were plenty of goals for U.S. fans to remember as they head into a 2013 that will be jampacked with matches.

So before we turn the page on the year that was, here are SBI’s Top Five USMNT Goals of 2012:

5. Clint Dempsey vs. Italy, Feb. 29

Clint Dempsey helped the U.S. make history in a big way in February, scoring the decisive goal in the Americans’ first win over Italy in a friendly in Genoa. Following a cross from left back Fabian Johnson, Jozy Altidore brought down the ball and laid it off to Dempsey, who did not hesitate to hit a one-timed shot past Gianluigi Buffon for the 1-0 triumph.

4. Eddie Johnson vs. Antigua and Barbuda, Oct. 12

On the cusp of settling for a disappointing draw with Antigua and Barbuda in World Cup qualifying that would have really raised some eyebrows and questions about the direction of the U.S. team, Eddie Johnson came to the rescue. Johnson netted his second goal of the game off a clutch header following a perfectly-lofted cross from Alan Gordon in the 90th minute, which gave the U.S. a 2-1 win and put an exclamation point on Johnson’s return to the national team fold.

3. Michael Orozco Fiscal vs. Mexico, Aug. 15

It might not have been one of the more difficult goals to score, but for a chunk of American fans it certainly was the prettiest because of what it meant. Minutes after entering the game as a late substitue, Michael Orozco Fiscal gave the United States their historic first win over Mexico at Estadio Azteca, finishing from close range after a low cross from Brek Shea and back-heel from Terrence Boyd to make it 1-0.

2. Michael Bradley vs. Russia, Nov. 14

Michael Bradley showed just how good his technical skills are with his strike against Russia in the Americans’ final match of 2012. After a long ball from Maurice Edu was headed down by Juan Agudelo, Bradley pulled the U.S. level at 1-1 with a venomous volley that stung off the left post. Bradley got nothing but clean contact with the ball on his 11th international goal, and it helped the U.S. earn a 2-2 draw to close out the year.

1. Michael Bradley vs. Scotland, May 26

If you liked Michael Bradley’s last goal, you will love this one. Bradley scored the winner in the United States’ 5-1 rout of Scotland in a friendly in May by one-timing a bouncing pass from Jermaine Jones into the upper righthand corner. The volley was a thing of beauty not just because of the way it curled into the upper 90, but also because of the distance from which it came.

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What do you think of SBI’s Top 5 USMNT Goals of 2012? Do you agree with these five finishes? Think another goal should have made the list?

Share your thoughts below.

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49 Responses to USMNT Daily Update: SBI’s Top 5 National Team Goals of 2012

  1. dreadpirate82 says:

    I would pick the Mexico goal #1, just because of the context. Hard to argue with the Bradley goal vs Scotland, though. That was sick.

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      Winning in Mexico was a great achievement. I hate to be cliche, but at the end of the day it was just a friendly. When we finally win a competitive match there it will be one to remember. Bradley’s goals are too good to not be 1 and 2. Can’t wait to see what he has in store for 2013.

    • GJJ says:

      I was just getting ready to post the exact same words. Word for word. As for Mexico, Shea takes on the defender, Boyd backheels and Orozco gets on the end of it………in the Azteca. Magnificent.

  2. DanO says:

    Best part of the aftermath of Bradley’s goal against Scotland is Terrence Boyd’s reaction. Priceless.

    • Kevin_Amold says:

      He’s like “Whoa, Mikey, things are getting crazy.”

    • David JS says:

      Absolutely priceless reaction from Boyd. I know Scotland hardly showed up for that game and at times defended quite lackadaisically, but there has got to be something said for the attitude of the whole team “trying sh*t” as Bruce Arena once put it. I hope we see that sort of confidence and ambition in the Hex, particularly in the home matches vs. Costa Rica/Panama/Honduras/Jamaica.

  3. Dinho says:

    Interesting that three of those goals (Bradley x2 and Dempsey) were from similar build-ups: ball played into a target, knock down and strike.

    • Paul Miller says:

      Dinho, that’s the classic scoring opportunity created by one-forward teams. In a 4-2-3-1, a lot of your shots ought to be coming from midfielders. A good target man is supposed to be a threat to turn on goal, to keep defenders honest, but his first responsibility often is laying out beautiful opportunities for players moving toward the box.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      The second Russia goal by Mixx was similar to the first, so it’s a pattern that extends even beyond the Top 5.

      http://www.ussoccer.com/media-library/Videos/US-Men/2012/11/MNT-vs–Russia–Mix-Diskerud-Goal—Nov–14–2012.aspx

      In terms of why it tactically works, when we combine a little speed and long ball action, the defense has to honor our speed and chase back. The ball goes back into the space the forward’s run just cleared.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Speaking of Mixx, is the Portland thing over? Any idea on his next step? We could use a CAM in Houston but I think the poor Norwegian would melt here.

        • az says:

          I think Mixx to MLS is over. if he wanted to come, to portland and porter would have been perfect for him. I still would like to see him go to a top level dutch team

  4. beto says:

    all 5 are awesome goals. certainly not better than any of these but worth an honorable mention would be Rico Clark’s goal to win the game over Venezuela. If that guy never makes on the field again for the Nats, as many wish, he will at least have a great final memory to take the place of his previous final memory. Glad to see him go out on a high note after a great USNT career.

    • Erik says:

      Sorry, but Ricardo Clark is one of the worst central midfielders to don a USMNT Jersey for over 10 caps. Not to mention, no matter how many goals he scores, or in what fashion, he’s still gonna be known for being the flop who lost us an advancement in the World Cup. He doesn’t deserve another call up, there are many, many, MANY more options in the midfield than Clark.

      • Dennis says:

        That statement makes it pretty obvious you did not watch much US MNT soccer prior to about 2000. There were plenty who played more games but who were worse soccer players.

      • DanO says:

        Watch the 2006 gold cup final again, and give Rico a break. He was a huge part of even qualifying for the ’09 confed cup.

        • DanO says:

          Sorry, ’07

        • Beto says:

          Exactly he wasn’t one of the most talented cms of all time but he played hard and had a long career with plenty of ups and downs. I am just really glad his career ended (possibly) with a beautiful walkoff header instead of being overmatched in the world cup

  5. Paul Miller says:

    Diskerud’s goal against Russia was pretty nice, too, and given its juxtaposition with score and time, arguably a bigger goal than Bradley’s in the same game. There’s is something aesthetically pleasing about a strong shot tinking the post and in, whereas Diskerud’s was one of those bouncing here and there on its way to the net.

  6. beto says:

    10. Boyd (U23) vs. El Salvador
    9. Clark vs. Venezuela
    8. Gomez vs. Jamaica
    7. Dempsey @ Guatemala
    6. Mix vs. Russia

  7. THomas says:

    I can’t argue with any of your reasoning, but I just think the Bradley v Russia goal is number one given the opponent, their form of late, and being away.

    • Bobb says:

      I agree with this, Bradley vs Russia first, Bradley vs Scotland second, imo.

    • PD says:

      And the fact we were chasing a result against an in form opponent
      , as opposed to group of jet-lagged hungover Scotsman wondering why it was do blarging hot….

  8. THomas says:

    Also Ian Darke calling the goal automatically makes it 10 times better.

  9. Ne-Dub says:

    Remember when a large portion of US supporters believed that Bradley was only on the field because of his dad?…….Funny.

    • OPMG says:

      Remember when this comment appears at least once on every single article that mentions Michael Bradley?

      • Ne-Dub says:

        As it should out of respect for Bradley.

      • Bobb says:

        It’s only fair that they appear at least once, given that the nepotism comments appeared MULTIPLE TIMES under every single mention of Bradley….

        • Travis is Miami says:

          +1(0000000000000000000)

        • Kevin says:

          Right on. Every comment thread should include a something like “Hey you, former Bradley basher, when are you going to publicly say you were wrong?”

          I must have seen a thousand comments saying MB only saw the field because of his dad. I’ve not seen one person apologize and say he was dead wrong with that view.

          • az says:

            I first became a US fan not too long ago during the last WC. At the time i believed that Bradley was overrated and that he belonged on the team, only on the bench and i thought he was starting due to his dad. it wasn’t until his move to chievo that i realized that i was wrong. And oh boy do i see now how wrong. But here is one fan admitting fault on Bradley-doubting

  10. ec says:

    I’m getting excited for Bradley at WC ’14, he’s on track to be the best midfield engine for the US since Reyna bossed around WC ’02. And now let us pause and mourn the untimely demise of John O’Brien and the sad fate of the ’06 team.

    My only problem with the list is that it’s embarrassing having EJ’s header against Antigua one of our best 5 goals. Weak. I’ll take Mixx vs. Russia to round out the top 5. Johnson should consider a becoming a dictator in his post-playing career, he loves to abuse helpless island nations.

    • Paul Miller says:

      My kid stopped fiddling with his Christmas presents because now he’s wondering what I’m laughing at.

    • GW says:

      When you ask people to pick a “best goal” you need to establish criteria for your choice.
      Most technically proficient? Most game changing? And so on. Otherwise it’s just he said, she said.

      EJ’s goal is my choice because the four other goals all came in friendlies.

      It gave the US three badly needed points and gave the USMNT a big lift. If the US settles for a draw, who knows what happens next? It represents production under real pressure.

      • Travis is Miami says:

        I can’t speak for ec but I interpreted (and agree) that he wasn’t happy that a goal like EJ’s against a team like Antigua was important at all – and because of that importance it became a top 5 goal. I didn’t think he was disputing it’s place rather expressing disappointment in the reasoning behind it being there.

        In any case, that was my initial response to seeing it so high up the list.

  11. Dan says:

    Damn, did we beat Mexico, Italy, Scotland, tie Russia and qualify for the Hex this year? Not bad in retrospect. 2013 will be huge. Now if only AO can get another charter set up for the 600 fans on the waiting list for Brasil.

  12. Daniel in Atlanta says:

    I am a fan of Donovan’s, but it is probably telling that he was not involved in any of these goals.

  13. atd says:

    2012 in review: The B-team stormed Azteca; the A-team nearly drew against Antigua and Barbuda.

    • FCA says:

      Good point you make but ask any coach at any level and they will tell you how tough it is to motivate players for weak competition. From the outside its so easy to say “this is world cup qualifiying” but just as you implied in making your point, we do not take Antigua and Barbuda seriously in any contest and that includes us as fans.

      The B team you mentioned was playing to prove they deserved a place on the team for the games that really mattered and to show they are ready for the next step in their career. It is always about winning but the motivation to take advantage of a rare USMNT call up for many of those guys was enough to play out of their minds against a U-23 Mexico team coming off a long tournament to start a victory tour. Not that the victory didnt mean anything, it just meant more in terms of the impact those guys careers had from that game (edu signed his contract with stoke because of it).

      The A team is comprised of guys who are very secure in their careers and are usually leaders of their club teams. They did not respect Antigua. They didnt play Antigua like they did Italy. They were brought in from the magical playing surfaces of their club leagues to play on terrible turf the width of a hallway against a low level team. When it became “Oh Sh*t” time and we needed to win they got it done, and it got done by the two guys playing for more than anyone else on the field that day (Gordon and Johnson).

      The bottom line is that great teams don’t win games, teams that play great win games. While the B team out played the A team in your two examples, every person who reads this blog knows that the A has a much higher level of greatness than the B team. Jurgen and the boys will prove this as we progress through the WC cycle. 2013 is not the year of panic, but the year of patience.

  14. beto says:

    when does the costa rica venue get announced???

  15. ToasT says:

    EJ’s goal should be number one on the list due to its sheer importance for WCQ. We needed those three points and it couldn’t happened in more of a dramatic fashion by those two small blips on the radar that time. That goal should be followed then by Bradley’s goal for brilliance and then you can pick and choose between Italy or Mex.

  16. Murphy says:

    Great choices. Bradley is getting better every year.