Ralston's bender takes award

Steve Ralston's free-kick goal in the 50th minute in a 1-1 draw at Soldier Field against the Chicago Fire was voted by fans as the Sierra Mist Goal of the Week for the week ending July 11, 2004 (Week 15). The league's all-time leader in games played (246) netted the equalizer with his first goal of the year. Ralston is the second Revolution player (Joe Franchino, Week 5) to win the award this year.

The Goal of the Week winner is determined from a selection of finalists through a fan vote conducted on the Sierra Mist Goal of the Week section of Major League Soccer's official web site: www.MLSnet.com -- (watch the goal here).

Ralston's goal (66 percent) handily beat out the other nominees including: John Wolyniec (18 percent) of the MetroStars, who scored on a semi-breakaway for his team's first goal against the Earthquakes; Simo Valakari (eight percent) of the Dallas Burn, whose game-winner against the Earthquakes floated over an immobilized Pat Onstad on July 7; and Ramiro Corrales (eight percent) of the Earthquakes, who netted a header against the Burn.

"Our problem this year is we have let in goals at the wrong times and not taken our chances at the right time," Revolution head coach Steve Nicol said. "So, the timing of Ralston's free kick gave us a lift to keep going."

A minute after Chicago Fire forward Damani Ralph finished a penalty kick in the 50th minute giving the Fire a 1-0 lead, play moved to the other end of the field as Ralston lined up for a free kick in the center of the field about 30 yards from goal. Ralston's right- footed, bending drive cleared the wall and beat Henry Ring as the ball sailed just under the crossbar and off the post into the top left corner of the goal.

"You have to give Ralston credit," said Fire head coach Dave Sarachan. "It was a nice kick. There's nothing you can do when a guy hits it over the wall."

Streaming video highlights and goals from MLS games are available for viewing every weekend on MLSnet.com just hours after the conclusion of the final match of the weekend. The Sierra Mist Goal of the Week winner is announced the following Wednesday.

At the end of the regular season, each of the 29 Goal of the Week winners selected throughout the season will be featured in voting for the Sierra Mist MLS Goal of the Year, an award presented annually to the author of the season's most spectacular scoring play. The Sierra Mist Goal of the Year award will be presented at the annual Gala Awards ceremony in the days leading up to MLS Cup 2004.

2004 SIERRA MIST GOAL OF THE WEEK WINNERS:

Week 1: Alecko Eskandarian (D.C. United)

Week 2: Ronald Cerritos (D.C. United)

Week 3: Dwayne De Rosario (San Jose Earthquakes)

Week 4: Carlos Ruiz (Los Angeles Galaxy)

Week 5: Joe Franchino (New England Revolution)

Week 6: Cornell Glen (MetroStars)

Week 7: Jaime Moreno (D.C. United)

Week 8: Freddy Adu (D.C. United)

Week 9: John Wolyniec (MetroStars)

Week 10: Damani Ralph (Chicago Fire)

Week 11: Jeff Agoos (San Jose Earthquakes)

Week 12: Alecko Eskandarian (D.C. United)

Week 13: Jovan Kirovski (Los Angeles Galaxy)

Week 14: Alecko Eskandarian (D.C. United)

Week 15: Steve Ralston (New England Revolution)


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