A memorable goal call can take a special moment and imprint in on the game's collective memory. So, MLSsoccer.com staff has highlighted some of their favorite goal calls throughout the years in MLS, national team and European soccer. You can read more about how announcers decide on their goal calls here.
Check out our favorite moments below, and let us know which ones top your list.
It was perhaps the greatest moment in US men’s national team history — considering the stakes and the time in the match that it happened — and Ian Darke handled it with aplomb. Any US fan has gone back and watched the video 50 times and mouthed Darke’s call along with the buildup.
Also be sure to check out The Athletic's oral history of the play.
It’s not an MLS goal, but regards an MLS player: The unforgettably odd, unexpectedly creative and undoubtedly enjoyable call of Teal Bunbury’s debut goal for the USMNT, in a January-camp friendly vs. Chile in 2011, by Telefutura’s Pablo Ramirez. He broke into English for a tribute to the Black-Eyed Peas’ quintuple-platinum hit “Boom Boom Pow.”
“I like that 'Boon-boo-ree', I like that 'Boon-boo-ree' - TEAL BUNBURY!”
Alas, Teal’s international career didn’t turn out to be quite such a chart-topper, but many of us will always remember its bright dawn thanks to Ramirez.
Look, I know it’d fit best to pick an MLS goal, but I heard “favorite goal call ever” and one goal plays over and over again in my mind. Plus, Steven Gerrard played in MLS for 18 months with the LA Galaxy and I’m counting it as a technicality.
Without this goal, Liverpool never advance to Istanbul and enjoy their famous comeback against AC Milan in the Champions League final. It was the final game of the group stage, and they needed a two-goal win over Olympiakos to advance. Up 2-1 in stoppage time, up steps Stevie G to bail out Liverpool. Yet again.
“OH YEEEEE BEAUTY!!!” and “WHAT A HIT, SON! WHAT A HIT!” have been enshrined in the lexicon of Liverpool supporters. I may or may not have recited these words in the thousands throughout my life.
Seven years later and this still gives me goosebumps. Doesn’t matter what time of day I watch it or who’s around me. Thank you, Dan Dibley.
To set the stage on that June 29, 2013: There were over 50,000 Quakes fans at Stanford Stadium, they’re down 2-0 to rivals LA Galaxy and then the unthinkable happened. It’s all capped by this Alan Gordon stoppage-time winner. Fans can re-live the moment on Friday with Alan Gordon himself thanks to MLS Classics: Remix.
John Strong’s “Oh come on!” perfectly summed up what everyone else was thinking at the moment Zlatan decided to shoot from nearly half-field in the first El Trafico. Stu Holden improvised nicely with “LAFC has just been Zlataned.” I was in the stadium for the goal when the place erupted, but I’ve seen the replay so many times that I can’t separate the goal call from the moment itself.
My all-time favorite USMNT goal call would be Ian Darke’s on Landon Donovan’s goal vs Algeria. I was more than emotionally invested in the game and couldn’t have been more proud of the squad’s resilience to get the result they needed to advance. The call gives me goosebumps no matter how many times I hear it.
For MLS, I’m choosing Brad Feldman’s call of Teal Bunbury’s goal in the first leg of the 2014 playoffs vs the New York Red Bulls. That was a massive away goal for our Revolution team and Feldman’s call justified the importance. His energy and excitement gave the fans an indication of how special the finish was.
John Strong’s description of the free kick and the punch out are minimalist but evocative. It’s a routine play. This is all as it should be. Fine.
But then as the clearance falls to Darlington Nagbe you can hear the excitement in his voice go up a notch, specifically on the word “punch.” The tenor of the whole play has suddenly changed, because Nagbe isn’t just bringing the ball down and controlling it – he’s juggling it. WTF is going on. Something special seems to be happening, folks!
Then, as Nagbe’s juggling, the urgency in Strong’s voice conveys levels of meaning that the words simply can not. “It falls for Darlington Nagbe” is all he says, but the way he says it… SOMETHING SPECIAL IS INDEED ON TAP RIGHT DAMN NOW, DON’T LOOK AWAY! There is no time to describe exactly what is happening on the field, but somehow, some way, it is nonetheless being described perfectly.
However, he doesn’t just say “It falls for Darlington Nagbe,” does he? He says “It falls for Darlington NagbeeeeeEEEEEE!!!!!!!” This is my favorite part of the call – John’s voice crescendos perfectly, seeming somehow to almost physically trace the route of the strike. They go hand-in-hand. They are perfect together. Nearly a decade later it still gives me chills.
And then finally: “It’s absolutely brilliant, and the Timbers are right back in it!” A moment of appreciation, and a moment of game context, then 15 seconds of silence to let the madness of the crowd tell the rest of the story.
I love this call so much. It’s so good that it somehow made one of the best goals in MLS history even better.
Jason Le Miere
Sometimes it’s not what you say but how you say it.
To fully appreciate this call, it helps to know the commentator, the legendary BBC voice Barry Davies. It’d be fair to say that he wasn’t prone to hyperbole and didn’t get carried away easily. When Davies responds to a goal by positively screaming in awe, you know you’ve just watched something truly extraordinary.
While this call doesn’t come from MLS, it owes a deep gratitude to a current MLS coach. The play begins with an exquisite 60-yard pass from now-Atlanta United coach Frank de Boer that takes out the entire Argentine team and puts the ball perfectly onto Dennis Bergkamp’s boot.
What happens next is solely down to the Dutchman’s genius. A first touch mere mortals can only dream of, a second touch to take out Robert Ayala — one of the toughest defenders of his generation, no less — and then a flick of the outside of his right boot to finish.
Watching it back now, and hearing Davies’ scream, I still get tingles. It’s one of the best calls, from one of the greatest goals that decided a classic back-and-forth World Cup quarterfinal between two brilliant teams.
(I later became aware of the call for Dutch TV by Jack van Gelder and it’s arguably even better.. Another example of why it’s not what you say but how you say it. Repeating Dennis Bergkamp’s name a full eight times shouldn’t work, but it does.)
A phrase I would anxiously await to hear in my ear, as we all watched in awe of Miguel Almiron during his two years with Atlanta United. The iconic club and country call was birthed back in 2017 during Almiron’s breakout hat-trick performance against Houston on May 20, 2017. The peach, Georgia’s official state fruit, was a microcosm of the South American soccer show capturing the heart of MLS fans.
It’s pretty magical to hear the call in my earpiece, all as I watch it all unfold on the pitch. Little did we know, Almiron would leave ATLUTD within two years as an MLS Cup Champion and with a ticket to the Premier League.