By FRANCO PANIZO
The year is nearing its end, and while most United States national teams are eagerly awaiting to see what the future holds, SBI is looking back at the memorable year that was for the Americans.
From a pair of drama-filled, late goals in the World Cup to a couple of finishes off of assists from players making their U.S. national team debuts, 2010 had plenty of goals worth watching again.
With 19 total goals scored during the year, there were some nice finishes, including Edson Buddle's first against Australia, which barely missed the cut. With that said, here are SBI's Top Five USMNT Goals of 2010:
5. Jozy Altidore vs. Poland 10/9
The finish was easy. The pass was sublime. Jozy Altidore scored his second goal of 2010 for the U.S. national team and the opener in a 2-2 draw with Poland when he made a nice run behind the defense and got on the end of a perfect pass from Jermaine Jones. Facing questions about whether or not he'd fit in with his new teammates, Jones delivered the sweet assist in his U.S. national team debut.
4. Juan Agudelo vs. South Africa 11/17
In a game that looked to end in a scoreless draw, then-17-year-old Juan Agudelo scored a late winner for the United States in his international debut. Having come off the bench in the second half, Agudelo received a cheeky pass from fellow debutant Mikkel Diskerud before smashing home a finish from close range in the 85th minute. The goal made Agudelo the youngest American to score for the senior national team in the modern era and gave the United States its second Nelson Mandela Challenge victory (both 1-0 wins).
3. Landon Donovan vs. Slovenia 6/18
Having suffered as bad a first half as one could have imagined, the United States' memorable comeback to tie Slovenia in the World Cup was sparked by Landon Donovan, who scored in emphatic fashion almost immediately after halftime. Steve Cherundolo played a ball down the right flank, and after some questionable defending, Donovan was able to find space, dribble into the penalty area and rifle home a shot into the roof of the goal. Slovenian goalkeeper Samir Handanovic was essentially just another spectator at Ellis Park on Donovan's crucial Group C goal.
2. Michael Bradley vs. Slovenia 6/18
With time winding down and with World Cup hopes fading, the United States managed to pull off its comeback against Slovenia when Donovan hit a long ball towards Altidore, who then headed it down into the path of Michael Bradley. With Herculez Gomez pulling a defender away, Bradley had a clear path to the ball and was able to capitalize on his late run by getting under the ball and flicking it over Handanovic to pull the Americans even at 2-2.
1. Landon Donovan vs. Algeria 6/23
If the late-game heroics against Slovenia weren't enough, the United States sent American fans everywhere into a frenzy when Donovan broke a scoreless draw in the 91st minute of the team's Group C finale against Algeria. Having missed chance after chance, the Americans saw their near elimination turn into a group-leading finish when Tim Howard heaved the ball to Donovan, who then dribbled upfield before passing to Altidore. Altidore passed the ball across the penalty area, but Clint Dempsey's shot was denied, only for the ball to lay in front of goal with Donovan there to knock it in. The goal may not have been a difficult one, but the moment in which it came combined with the fact that it came on the sport's grandest stage with so much on the line (not to mention Ian Darke's exquisite delivery in the broadcast booth) makes this the top U.S. men's national team goal of 2010.
What did you think of SBI's top five goals? Agree with the order? Is there another goal that you think should have made the cut?
Share your thoughts below.