“You know it when you see it.”
That was Walker Zimmerman’s response when I asked him what made a truly great goal. With the 2018 MLS All-Star Game hitting pause on the MLS season this week, our digital crew got together to reflect on some of the best moments of the season so far. So naturally, we had to put out a Top 10 Best Goals highlight reel.
You can see our choices in the video below. I think we did the 44 goals LAFC scored so far this season justice with our list. But since we didn’t consult any of the players before compiling the list, I wanted to get some of their thoughts.
“That’s tough. It’s a hard list,” Zimmerman said after looking over the Top 10.
One of the things the players had to settle on before judging the list was the standard of what makes a goal Top 10 worthy.
“It all depends on who you ask, it’s all based on opinion,” Lee Nguyen said when asked how he’d pick.
“Obviously, the eye test. It’s got to look beautiful to the eye.”
Steven Beitashour agreed, the goal has to be aesthetically pleasing. And he added, it can’t be easy.
“The impressiveness, you know when it’s a banger. You go ‘Wow, that was nice.’ A good individual effort, like Carlos dribbling people and then bending one upper corner. Or like a volley or a bicycle, something like that usually gets the vote.”
So, a Top 10 worthy goal has to look good and have a high degree of difficulty. Check. But what about if the goal is important, like Laurent Ciman’s game-winner in the home opener?
“I think you do have to take into account the situation,” Zimmerman said of his Top 10 criteria.
“Like João’s goal [against San Jose], the way that game was, that’s got to be up there.”
Luckily, we had the game-winner in the 4-3 comeback over San Jose at No. 4 on our list. We’re all good there.
Looks good, high degree of difficulty, and seizing the big moment, we’ve got the criteria down. But what do they think of our list? Well… the guys really liked our Top 3 choices.
“Cut the bottom five,” Beitashour said. “There you go. Those are the top goals.”
“To be honest, you could pick any of those [Vela goals] as the top three, and then Ciman’s free kick in Montreal and the first goal in Club history, and there’s your top five.”
“I’d have this one at 10,” Zimmerman said pointing to Ciman’s free kick against Columbus at No. 5.
“I don’t think the Columbus one was that good. Kind of touched the wall, it was low, It didn’t feel like a good one. I think he would admit that, too. I think Lee’s [against the Galaxy] was a better free kick.”
Of course, Nguyen wasn’t going to argue. But he did want to add a goal we seemed to have forgotten in the list.
“For me, I like the top three. Just take No. 6 and move it a little closer,” Nguyen said of his free kick against the Galaxy. “But the donut goal should be No. 1.”
We probably should have stipulated only goals on the pitch counted, not ones through historic LA landmarks.
Maybe next time.