Dwayne De Rosario's wicked strike against D.C. United that seemed to defy gravity and never gave United 'keeper Troy Perkins a chance has been voted the Sierra Mist Goal of the Year by MLS fans on the league's official website, MLSnet.com.
More than 25,000 votes were cast in the process which narrowed down all 30 Sierra Mist Goal of the Week winners, plus specially selected goals by team and league officials, to De Rosario's strike on Aug. 7 in San Jose.
De Rosario, a member of the San Jose Earthquakes and the Canadian national team, took a flier on a shot in the 82nd minute of a match that the Quakes led 1-0. De Rosario's teammate, Brian Mullan, had just finished a run down the right side when the midfielder sent a cross in to De Rosario who had camped out at the top of the 18-yard box. With no real room or time to trap the ball and work for a clean shot, De Rosario whipped his right leg around and hit quite possibly the hardest ball of the year straight onto the woodwork.
Although the ball by all accounts should have ended up somewhere up the stands, De Rosario's stunner made it just under the crossbar, off the back of the net and back into the field of play before anyone, including the announcers or any of United's players, had any idea what had happened. In fact, Perkins never moved his feet as the ball was struck with such ferocity to negate the purpose of the United netminder putting his hands up.
"Goals like that, they just come in the moment," De Rosario said. "I can't even remember putting much thought into it. I just saw the ball coming and I go, 'I'm going to hit this first time.' I've done it before. For some reason I tend to hit a lot of shots like that. Fortunately, that went in."
|Past Award Winners|
|2003||Damani Ralph (CHI)|
|2002||Carlos Ruiz (L.A.)|
|2001||Clint Mathis (MET)|
|2000||Marcelo Balboa (COL)|
|1999||Marco Etcheverry (D.C.)|
|1998||Brian McBride (CLB)|
|1997||Marco Etcheverry (D.C.)|
|1996||Eric Wynalda (S.J.)|
The team with the best record in the league had two representatives among the finalists for Sierra Mist Goal of the Year, finishing third and fourth, respectively. Ross Paule added to Perkins's unlucky appearances on the wrong end of highlight-reel goals with a free kick blast (56k | 384k) from just outside the box, over the D.C. United wall and into the top right corner of a net that Perkins had all but walled off. Paule's teammate, Edson Buddle, continued Ring's unfortunate string of appearances on this list by striking a rocket of a shot from 25 yards out (56k | 384k) that bent backwards away from Ring's outstretched fingers and into the upper right corner.
Jovan Kirovski's (56k | 384k) midfield chip was dubbed 'goal of the year' by announcers covering that match but finished fifth in fan voting. Kirovski took a well-intentioned but poorly-executed clearance from the aforementioned Ring, who had come out of his penalty area to clear a dangerous ball and on his first touch struck perfectly a 45-yard beauty that left Ring wondering how he continued to end up on the wrong end of such amazing strikes. The goal was the only tally in a 1-0 win for the Galaxy on June 27.
Voting for Sierra Mist Goal of the Week and Goal of the Year was conducted entirely online at the official website of Major League Soccer, MLSnet.com.
Danny Polinsky is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.