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Riley’s amazing own goal


San Jose  Earthquakes defender James Riley spent three seasons with the New England Revolution and during that time he played 77 total matches. How many goals did he score during that time? Exactly one, back in 2005.

You can make that total two now after what is the front-runner for MLS Own Goal of the Year. If you haven’t seen it yet, enjoy the comedy:


  1. @ smokeminside:

    Not exactly! It’s comparable to the outfielder

    Jumping to rob a homer at the track, only to tip it over from his own glove.

    Hey I’m coining a new term for baseball. “Own Glove”

    Never mind!

    Also it’s still not as bad an Arne’s goal in the Champions League! What a nightmare! Yikes!

  2. smoke – something this bad happens once every year or so. If this happened more regular it wouldnt be funny. Own goals are a fact of life, but ones like this dont come along everyday

  3. I’m not trying to pass judgement, but am I the only one who doesn’t think it’s funny?

    I don’t even know who the guy is, or anything about San Jose, either.

    Stuff like this depresses me. It doesn’t make me laugh. I guess I have a lot more soccer to experience before I reach that point.

    Maybe if I find a parallel situation in baseball, a sport I have a lot more experience with, I’ll be able to get it.

    Is it like a flyball bouncing off the top of an outfielder’s head and into the stands for a homerun? I’ve seen that, and I DID think it was funny.

    But in soccer this kind of thing just seems sad.

  4. there was more laughter then cheering in the section of the stands i was near…. and all i could think was this is winning player of the weak

  5. People are being a little harsh on Riley. He has been a decent player during his time in the league. He made a big mistake here, but it was a difficult spot. If the surface had been grass rather than FieldTurf, the ball wouldn’t have bounced so high and Riley would have had time to control it. The goal isn’t Cannon’s fault, but he should have been yelling at Riley so Riley knew he wasn’t on the line and Cannon should have instructed Riley to play the ball away or back to him. Keepers need to talk. A previous poster is right that Riley should not be playing a ball back on net.

    Dube deserves credit for his hustle to sprint a long distance to pressure the play. If you look at the replay, note how much ground he covered. Kudos to him. He’s a rookie, late round draft pick, first start of the season, and he’s hustling to try to show his coach he deserves regular playing time. He scored New England’s first goal as well in this game.

  6. Wasn’t Riley on the field for Mendes’ awful own goal last year? Seems like any defender who witnessed that would have taken it to heart. Of course, Riley’s is so poor as to look intentional: worst own goal in MLS history.

    Of course, the prize has to go to Ben “Cripple” Olsen, who while playing for Nottingham Forest blasted a rocket forty-five yards from near the right touch line into the far upper corner. Only problem was it was past his own keeper. Hands down winner for Worst Own Goal of the Last Decade.

  7. Cannon was standing right in front of him. How did he NOT SEE the keeper? Does he close his eyes when heading the ball?

  8. He had to do so many things wrong, all at once, for that to happen. Cannon gets zero blame. He headed it high when his goalkeeper was running out, headed it on goal, when he should have angled it away. Even if that were excusable, then why the heck did he head it with such mediocre power. If you are going to make the first few mistakes, at least blast that sucker so you know it’s going out of bounds and not softly into the back of the net.

    So awesome.

  9. Matt:

    Yes. But it happens all the time. You seldom see a game when it doesn’t happen to some degree or other.


    Regardless of what he has been in the past, he has been very good most game for the Quakes, particularly going forward.

  10. @Tony in Quakeland:

    Defending 101: You NEVER pass the ball back to the goalkeeper on frame. NEVER. He should have headed the ball back to the side of the goal. If he had overhit it, the worst would result would have been a corner kick.

    There’s simply no way you can put any blame for that goal on Cannon. Riley letting the ball bounce was his first mistake. That allowed the attacker to pressure him. heading the ball back at the goal was his second, and fatal, mistake.

    Riley has been a pathetic defender in the league. Perhaps the only one worse was Stewart at RSL. Lousy positioning, bad, lunging tackles, poor reading of situations. It’s a wonder the guy is employed.

  11. This guy should not be starting. Saw it the 1st game of the season. Can’t keep the ball. Blasts it out, similar to my U-10 team.

    I gues when your expansion team with a paltry salary cap, this is what you get.

  12. I think that Cannon deserves as much of the blame as Riley. Riley headed the ball back as if Cannon was on his line. He needs to do a better job communicating with his defenders.

    Riley, by the way, has probably been San Jose’s best starter (aside from O’Brien) this season.

  13. I don’t know, Davino would have a say for player of the weak. He was pretty much responsible for Galaxy goals 2, 3 and 4. He was worse than terrible.


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