Erik Hurtado scored the winner for Sporting KC on Sunday with a sensational effort, but is it the best in franchise history?
Over the years Sporting KC has been a team built on a strong defense following a transformational rebrand, however, they have still managed to score some spectacular goals in the club’s 25-year history. The list added another in the 79th minute of Sporting KC’s 2-1 win over Nashville on Sunday after left-back Amadou Dia assisted Erik Hurtado‘s third goal of the season after coming on as a substitute in the 49th minute.
Hurtado’s stunner was predictably chosen by the fans as AT&T Goal of the Week for MLS Week 17 and received some great recognition from many, including manager Peter Vermes who said it was a world-class goal.
Vermes went on to compare the strike to one of the most famous goals of all time, the goal in the 1988 European Championship match between the Netherlands and Russia.
So, let’s break it down.
The attack started with goalkeeper Tim Melia getting playback underway quickly as he rolled the ball out to Ilie Sanchez, who dribbled the ball near the center of the pitch before spraying the ball wide for Amadou Dia. Seemingly without any dangerous options for the Nashville defense, Dia ended up playing a diagonal ball, perhaps a bit of a hopeful one, over the top for Hurtado, who was able to show incredible technique and beat a helpless Joe Lewis in goal.
There wasn’t much that the Nashville defense did wrong, as they transitioned quickly to defense and had nine of their 10 men behind the ball to defend, but a moment of magic from the former Santa Clara University player was all that was needed to break down the Nashville defense for the second time. Perhaps there could be an argument that Matt LaGrassa was too slow to get out and close down Amadou Dia, but that might be a bit harsh considering the circumstances.
What makes a goal stand out? The most compelling goals require a level of great difficulty with excellent technique. The meaning of the goal also adds to its prominence. Hurtado’s fits this definition because it was a goal of great difficulty that came in a crucial moment in the match.
Here is the list of the best goals linked with the video:
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- Davy Arnaud– Sept. 13, 2008 vs LA Galaxy
- Julio Cesar– June 16, 2012 vs Toronto FC
- Graham Zusi– June 12, 2011 vs FC Dallas
- Benny Feilhaber– Aug. 31, 2013 vs Colorado Rapids
- Benny Feilhaber- July 24, 2015 vs Real Salt Lake
- Kristzian Nemeth- Oct. 3, 2015 vs Portland Timbers
- Jimmy Medranda– April 22, 2018 vs Vancouver Whitecaps
- Yohan Croizet– June 16, 2018 vs FC Dallas
I would pick Nemeth’s 2015 MLS Goal of the Year along with Croizet’s goal in 2018 to join the recent goal from Hurtado for the top three in club history. Now for picking the best of the three, that is very difficult.
Nemeth’s effort was sensational because he sliced through the Portland defense that was among the best in MLS that season, yet he also had the composure to find the precise finish past the keeper. Croizet’s effort was special because of the level of difficulty it was to hit the ball out of the air as he did.
All three goals were sumptuous efforts, but I still think Nemeth’s goal is the best of the bunch. No disrespect to Hurtado and Croizet, but the control and precision to go solo and beat two of the top defenders in the league at the time required more skill and talent than the other two goals, which were two tremendous goals in their own right. And of course, a big goal on the road in Portland is always a pleasing moment.