There were definitely a lot of positives for Sporting Kansas City this year, on the field and off. But by far the most underrated was Peter Vermes' side bulging the old onion bag 50 times during the regular season.
It's only the fourth time KC has reached that height -- and the first time since 2005. (The other two instances were the first and second year of existence, both times topping 60 goals on the season.)
We here at The Full 90 underwent the arduous process of watchingeach and every
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goal scored this year -- some more than twice.
The following list are my 10 favorite goals. I judged not only on aesthetic quality, but also importance and degree of difficulty. I am not shackled to the ESPN ethos (all slam dunks and three pointers) when it comes to goals either.
But first, a few goals you won't be seeing on this list: Luke Sassano's chip against Dallas, Graham Zusi capping a lightning-quick fast break in a draw with Colorado, Kei Kamara nodding home a Matt Besler long throw against Seattle and Julio Cesar's "technically perfect" goal against Los Angeles.
On with the Top 10.**Which, I realize, is actually really sort of a Top 15. That's too bad. You're going to have to watch more than 10 Sporting KC goals. Such a shame. 10. Bravo slips behind the defense, or "The Jeferson Highlight" (July 23 vs. Toronto)
This right here is why Jeferson was brought to KC. The fact that he couldn't do this very often -- and the Toronto game was easily his most effective game -- is why he probably won't be back.9. CJ's knack for scoring important goals
The 2011 MLS Rookie of the Year scored the first goal in a Sporting Kansas City jersey in the first minute of the first game of the season (March 19 vs. Chivas)
the first MLS goal in Livestrong Sporting Park (June 17 vs. San Jose)
and the last goal of the 2011 season (Nov. 2 vs. Colorado).8. Julio Cesar finds a streaking Teal Bunbury (September 10 vs. Houston)
Who woulda thunk that Julio Cesar would have a few of the most important assists of the year? This is just beautiful.7. Besler does it like a striker (Oct. 22 vs. D.C. United)
If Besler was a striker by trade, this would be a nice goal. Since he is a defender not known for his scoring prowess -- and this goal assured KC it would host the Eastern Conference Final -- it gets on this list.6. Bunbury equalizes late (July 30 vs. New England)
The goal is nice. The run by Omar Bravo is special. The bobblehead celebration is the icing on the cake.5. Two one-man shows
C.J. Sapong puts a clown-suit on Portland during his one-man run (July 2 vs. Portland)
and Roger Espinoza's does it all himself against Real Salt Lake (Aug. 3).4. Bunbury is so quick, even cameras can't catch him!
Twice this year, Bunbury has scored when the cameras were lagging behind the action. First, he did it from distance (April 2 vs. Vancouver)
then on a counter-attack less than a minute after the Earthquakes scored (Oct. 1 vs. San Jose).3. BRAAAAAAAAAAAAVOOOOOOOOOOOO! (July 9 vs. Chivas)
KC left a lot of games late. A lot of games. This one is remarkable for the timing (stoppage time), the importance (started KC's run of scoring important late goals) and its quality (everything about this goal is great). Give a big hand to Omar Bravo, who was so influential this season. If he'd have been 100 percent healthy, who knows how the Eastern Conference Final might've turned out.2. Graham Zusi's midfield rocket (July 12 vs. Dallas)
Just an utter thing of beauty. It's a crime that the MLS Goals of the Year awards were automatically swallowed up by the Pacific Northwest fan-base. This deserved more attention. (Portland's Darlington Nagbe won MLS Goal of the Year for his juggling volley against Kansas City. Nagbe beat out two Vancouver goals and a Seattle goal. Of course.)
Of course, that wasn't Zusi's only long bomb. He did it later at Livestrong (Aug. 17 vs. Portland). He had a good year.1. Kei being Kei (July 23 vs. Toronto)
Kei Kamara, making easy goals look hard and impossible goals seem like a piece of cake since 2008. The degree of difficulty on this attempt alone makes it the top goal of the year. Even had he missed it, I'd have put it on this list somewhere. (Worth noting, Kamara tries something like this every 6-7 shots in practice. It seems random but he knows what he's doing.)
Agree? Disagree? Did I somehow miss one of your favorite goals of the year? Let me know in the comments.