ExtraTime Radio Podcast
LISTEN: A timeless goal and result for Michael Bradley and the US national team has the guys in a good mood. Come for the analysis and banter and stay for a must-listen interview with Tyler Adams, fresh off his senior prom and looking forward to the NYC Derby (and maybe even a first-team call-up sooner rather than later). Subscribe so you never miss a show!
I screamed, a guttural exclamation born of shock and disbelief. Then my legs kicked into gear, sending me in involuntary circles around my living room. Had my eyes just deceived me? Had Michael Bradley actually chipped Guillermo Ochoa from all of 40 yards at Estadio Azteca?
He had, of course, a world-class combination of anticipation, composure and technical quality resulting in one of the best goals in US national team history. Back in Brooklyn, my brain and fingers combined to produce something slightly less awe inspiring.
It’s the sort of goal and occasion that cements your place in history. Decades from now, when people talk about Michael Bradley, they’ll talk about Azteca and the chip. It’s the sort of moment that inspires "Oh yeah, I was there" white lies, that’s looped endlessly in the lead up to every game between CONCACAF’s two great rivals and sitting powers, that doesn’t fade from memory. It’s timeless.
But is it the best of all-time? That’s the question with I grappled with all day Monday, a steady stream of your tweets and YouTube rabbit holes helping me narrow down dozens of USMNT goals into my own personal top 10. There was but one rule: friendlies didn’t count. To be eligible for my list, a goal had to be scored in a competitive match.
That meant saying goodbye to Mix Diskerud’s jumping scissor after 30-passes against Germany, Landon Donovan’s rockets against Ecuador and Jozy Altidore’s master class against Bosnia & Herzegovina, among dozens of others. They’re good goals, but they didn’t make my list. Same for Stuart Holden’s blast against Haiti, Preki’s rocket against Brazil and Tab Ramos’ pile driver in Portland. The list goes on and on.
I took into consideration technical quality and the weight of the occasion. I’ll admit, I’m probably biased by my age and the fact that soccer obsession didn’t truly take hold of me until 2006. But this is my list – it’s personal. Feel free to agree, disagree or leave your own list in the comment section below.
Oh, and before you go raising a stink about Donovan’s goal against Algeria not making the cut, just know it cut me to the core as well. The thought of watching that moment with thousands of other people in Kansas City still gives me goosebumps. It’s a fantastic, dramatic goal – that throw, that run, that opportunistic finish – but I had 11 finalists and a top 10 list to fill.
10) McBride heads US past Portugal’s Golden Generation (skip to 1:08)
9) Altidore goes beast mode on Spain to end 35-game unbeaten streak
8) Dempsey scores 29 seconds into 2014 World Cup
7) Wynalda free kick finds the top corner at 1994 World Cup
6) Jones’ missile gives US lead against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal
5) Mohawked Mathis stuns South Korea: “That’s why he’s here”
4) Feilhaber volleys US past Mexico in Gold Cup final (skip to 4:57)
3) Bradley chips the ‘keeper from 40 yards at Estadio Azteca