There are few things sweeter in soccer than a perfectly-hit free kick, one that bends up and over the wall and leaves a goalkeeper flat-footed or clutching at air. And what contributes to that mystique is just how difficult free kick golazos are to pull off, making their rare execution even more special.
But the odds are ever in the favor of some active MLS players, especially if you’re a No. 10 from Argentina. Just check out some of the stunners below from recent seasons.
When breaking down available data tracking back to 2010, D.C. United midfielder Federico Higuain and Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri both own elite status. They’ve scored six and five free kick goals, respectively, while Atlanta United midfielder Jeff Larentowicz also has five goals from direct kicks.
Aside from that trio, four players with some flair to their game have both scored three times off a free kick: Inter Miami CF midfielder Lee Nguyen, Vancouver Whitecaps forward Fredy Montero, Seattle Sounders midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro and New England Revolution midfielder Diego Fagundez.
There’s then a collection of 12 active MLSers who have scored twice off free kicks, including several from the same team. To name a pair, Jozy Altidore and Alejandro Pozuelo of Toronto FC have both proven to be effective, showing how multiple options can keep a goalkeeper guessing.
Now, several free-kick specialists have retired in recent seasons and would merit inclusion if still active. Longtime US men's national team midfielder Benny Feilhaber and longtime Revolution left back Chris Tierney both come to mind. There are also stars who have departed MLS, including former TFC forward Sebastian Giovinco.
But in terms of active MLSers, goalkeepers should be on watch when these standouts eye a dead-ball situation.