I’m a little late with this post (finally shopping for a replacement vehicle), but better late than never… The MLS Goal of the Decade was announced today and the winner is Carlos Ruiz’s bicycle kick from FC Dallas’s May 28, 2005, match vs. DC United. It wasn’t even close:
All told, more than 150,000 votes were cast during the month-long competition, with nearly a quarter of them going to Ruiz’s winning goal. After factoring in Ruiz’s other two nominated efforts, the third of which was knocked out in the cutdown after round three, the Guatemalan marksman garnered just less than 42 percent of all of the votes cast.
That’s pretty impressive since this goal wasn’t a strong contender in the early rounds:
Up until the final round of voting, the battle for the title appeared to be a two-horse race, and Ruiz wasn’t part of it. With the vote totals resetting to zero after each round of voting, Ruiz’s 2005 strike came in third place in the first round, second place in the second and third place in the third. In the final round, though, Ruiz far outpaced his remaining four opponents to win with 36 percent of the final round vote.
You had to know when this started that a bicycle kick goal was going to be a popular choice. They were amazing goals for sure. While John Wolyniec’s goal in 2003 is quite impressive, connecting with the ball from a long arcing chip pass, Dwayne De Rosario’s direct kick on October 15, 2005 that bends around the wall player’s head is still absolutely amazing to me and got my votes. But MLS Fangirl makes a good point:
I earlier voted for Dewayne De Rosario’s bending free kick, but I regretted the vote the second I hit the button. Yeah, it was pretty, but it doesn’t say "great soccer" to me, it just said, "great kick." The difference is subtle — well, no it’s not. So sue me, I got blinded by the pretty.
OK – fair enough. A bicycle kick is definitely something that screams ‘great soccer’ No doubt about it – Ruiz made an awesome goal. Mike H also sums it up nicely:
This is a wonderful goal and one that deserves this award. The setup is perfect. The look of pure puzzlement on the defense just adds to its flare. I’m happy to know that such a shot will represent the MLS.
They did look shocked and the keeper too. 3rd Degree has the the final tally:
Carlos Ruiz – 2005: 36.1%
Carlos Ruiz – 2003: 24.4%
John Wolyniec – 2003: 17.1%
Dwayne De Rosario – 2005: 15.4%
Brian McBride – 1996: 6.9%
Can’t argue with those numbers! OK sure this was a marketing effort, but it was still a lot of fun. Plus you have to love that Ruiz was in a coffee shop in Spain with his teammates when he found out he had won. How cool is that?
"It’s incredible, I’m very happy. Since I came to MLS I always wanted to do something good and work hard for the teams where I played," he said. "It helps my career a lot, coming back to MLS, being with Dallas, and first of all to be nominated with three goals among all the original nominees for Goal of the Decade; to be the winner makes me very happy."
"Many people from my country [Guatemala] voted and I have to thank the people who voted for me because they made my goal the Goal of the Decade."
Ruiz and his teammates were in a coffee shop in Spain — where they are currently training — awaiting the television broadcast of Tuesday’s Barcelona-Chelsea UEFA Champions League match when he found out he was the winner. After the club’s staff informed him of the honor, Ruiz celebrated with his teammates.