Friday - Best Goal of the Year
Today, Dec. 23, marks the fifth day of our 2016 U.S. Soccer "Best of" Awards. UPDATE: Alex Morgan's goal vs. Germany in the final game of the SheBelieves Cup on March 9 wins U.S. Soccer's 2016 Best Goal of the Year!
MNT – Jermaine Jones vs. Costa Rica (6/7/16)
The U.S. broke out in a three-on-three rush with Clint Dempsey leading the charge flanked by Jermaine Jones on the left and Alejandro Bedoya on the right. Near the top of the Costa Rica penalty area, Dempsey drew the defense to him before laying the ball off to Jones who curled a low shot from right on the 18-yard line into the far, right-hand side netting to extend the U.S. lead.
MNT- Jozy Altidore vs. Iceland (1/29/16)
Jermaine Jones initiated a sharp move through the heart of the Iceland defense, ushering midfield partner Michael Bradley forward before picking out Gyasi Zardes on the right side of the visitors’ penalty area. Zardes played a one touch ball into the path of Bradley, who sent it on for Altidore to send a deft chip from eight yards out over onrushing ‘keeper Ogmundur Kristinsson and into the open goal.
MNT – Clint Dempsey vs. Guatemala (3/29/16)
After winning possession at midfield, Geoff Cameron sent a measured ball over the top which deflected off of Gyasi Zardes and fell perfectly for Clint Dempsey. The veteran MNT forward one-timed his effort, catching Paulo Motta wrong-footed as he smashed home at the top of the penalty area to open the scoring.
WNT – Carli Lloyd vs. Switzerland (10/23/16)
Carli Lloyd has scored 96 goals in her career including quite a few spectacular strikes from distance, but it’s safe to say this rocket against Switzerland should be among her best. Some swift interplay between Andi Sullivan, Lloyd and Kelley O’Hara resulted in Lloyd receiving a pass from O’Hara and advancing toward the Swiss goal. Lloyd crushed a lightning bolt strike from 27 yards out for a finish that spurred FOX’s play-by-play announcer Glenn Davis to describe as “hit with no regard for humanity.” It was the equalizing to make it 1-1 in what would be a 5-1 U.S. victory.
WNT – Alex Morgan vs. Germany (3/9/16)
Alex Morgan’s game-tying goal brought the USA back into the game after an early strike from Germany’s Anja Mittag had given the European Champions the lead in the de facto SheBelieves Cup Final. Meghan Klingenberg evaded a defender near midfield and lofted a ball over the top of the German defense down the left side into the path of the sprinting Morgan. She let the ball bounce twice, as she muscled out a first defender, before deftly lifting it over Saskia Bartusiak with her left foot and ripping a right-footed shot into the net in two fluid steps. It importance, the level of difficulty and the skill and style with which she finished makes it one of the best of the year.
WNT – Crystal Dunn vs. England (3/3/16)
Crystal Dunn scored 14 goals, including her five-goal performance against Puerto Rico, and her first Olympic goal in 2016. But it was her game-winning tally against England at the SheBelieves Cup that stood out. After a competitive first half between two of the top teams in the world, Dunn came in as a substitute in the second half. Meghan Klingenberg did some nice work on the ball to the left of the penalty area and then slipped a pass between two England defenders for Dunn, who took two touches into the left corner of the box and then ripped a shot into the top right corner for an incredible finish in the 1-0 U.S. victory.
U-19 MNT – Brandon Vazquez vs. Spain (7/29/16)
Deadlocked at 0-0 and 12 minutes into the second half against Spain in the 2016 COTIF Tournament at Estadio Municipal Els Arcs De L’Alcudia, the USA found a rare opportunity for a shot on goal with a free kick and looked at Brandon Vazquez to test the Spanish goalkeeper. Using his right foot, Vazquez speared the ball to the one place the goalkeeper wouldn’t be able to touch – the upper left corner. As marvelous of a finish as it was, the goal would prove to be incredibly vital as the lone goal and game winner of the match.
U-18 MNT – Jose Carranza vs. Hungary (8/17/16)
Eight minutes into the contest and with the U.S. looking for a spark, midfielder Jose Carranza collected a pass from center back Carson Vom Steeg, made a move to avoid two pressing Hungary players, and winded up from 35 yards out. The shot was quick and decisive, catching the unsuspecting goakeeper off his back line. It was the first of three goals in the U18’s 3-1 victory in the Václav Ježek Tournament.
U-17 MNT – Josh Sargent vs. Portugal (11/30/16)
After already bagging two goals in the match, Josh Sargent went out in search of a hat trick against Portugal. It came in the 82nd minute when Bryan Reynolds Jr. danced up the left end and crossed the ball in for the U.S. captain. The ball deflected off a Portuguese defender, but Sargent reacted well with a clever back heel to seal his hat trick.
U-20 WNT – Mallory Pugh vs. New Zealand (11/17/16)
An interception at midfield from Mallory Pugh got her moving at pace down the left flank. With one defender to beat, Pugh cut inside past her marker, gaining the necessary separation to unleash a dipping blast from the left side of the penalty box and past the diving New Zealand goalkeeper for the game-winning goal in the eventual 3-1 USA triumph.
Beach National Team – Nick Perera vs. Russia (11/3/16)
Facing a perennial beach powerhouse Russia in the 2016 Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup in Dubai, the U.S. looked to even the scoreboard. Down 2-1 with seconds remaining in the first period, Nick Perera waited to corral a floating pass at midfield. Perera then chested the ball back into mid-air to create his own volley opportunity. Feeling the defender giving him enough space, the U.S. captain blindly thrusted the ball towards the opposing net with a bicycle kick. Gloriously, the ball found its way past the ‘keeper, evening the score for the USA.