Three for Thursday: Top headers of the 2012 MLS season
Did you see Brandon McDonald’s header last night for D.C. United?
Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson saw it too, but there was nothing he could do about it as McDonald’s seeing-eye floater found its way into the side netting and helped send United to a 4-2 victory at RFK Stadium.
With what was just his second goal of the season – and first since May – McDonald helped give D.C. a four-point cushion in the race for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Even more encouraging for United: they still hold three games in hand compared to sixth-place Montreal.
McDonald's impressive header got us thinking: what have been the best headed goals so far in the 2012 campaign?
3. Steven Lenhart (SJ), May 24 vs. LA Galaxy
WATCH: Lenhart starts Quakes' comeback
In a now-all-too-familiar case, it was Steven Lenhart doing what Steven Lenhart does: scoring timely goals.
With the clock just past the 75-minute mark and the Quakes trailing 2-0 on the road in Carson, Marvin Chavez found a streaking Lenhart on a corner kick and the curly haired lightning rod sent a diving header past goalkeeper Brian Perk.
Lenhart laid the foundation for one of the most memorable comebacks of the MLS season as a Khari Stephenson goal in the 82nd minute eventually drew San Jose level. That would set the stage for Alan Gordon – who is no stranger to late-game heroics himself – to cap off the 3-2 win with (coincidentally) a header from a Jason Hernandez long ball in the 94th minute.
2. Sebastian Miranda (CLB), May 12 vs. FC Dallas
WATCH: Miranda heads home winner from distance
What a way to score your first-ever MLS goal.
After starting every game last year in defense, Miranda emphatically put his name in the score column for the first time for Columbus when he headed a 20-yard line drive into the back of the net to give the Crew a 2-1 win at home.
Miranda was unmarked beyond the 18-yard-box when Nemanja Vukovic sent a corner kick his way in the 72nd minute. The Chilean then proceeded to head the ball on a line into the lower corner, capping off a five-minute, game-winning turnaround for the Crew after a Justin Meram goal in the 67th minute equalized.
1. Darren Mattocks (VAN), July 11 vs. Toronto FC
If we told you we’d seen anything like it before, we’d be lying.
In one of the most athletic soccer displays in recent memory, Darren Mattocks found the equalizer against Canadian rivals Toronto FC in the 90th minute, rising over TFC defender Logan Emory and goalkeeper Milos Kocic to loop a header into the back of the net.
Key word here: over.
In what appeared to be seemingly effortless, Mattocks climbed the ladder to reach a floating cross from teammate Jordan Harvey and silence a stunned BMO Field crowd.
Despite the fact that Terry Dunfield would eventually find the game-winner for Toronto less than four minutes later, it was Mattocks’ leap that people were buzzing about after the match.
WATCH: Mattocks leaps over Emory, Kocic to equalize