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Top Five USMNT Goals of 2009

Landon Donovan 1 (Getty mages)


U.S. national team head coach Bob Bradley released the 30-man roster that will participate in the first camp of 2010 on Tuesday, but before we turn the page on the year that was, SBI is taking a look back at the top five goals of the year.

With the U.S. team having had one of its busiest schedules in its history in 2009, there were plenty of goals to chose from. Although a case can be made for many of them, we took into careful consideration which ones we thought were the top goals, and some splendid strikes were left off the list. It says a lot about the past year when Sacha Kljestan's free kick vs. Sweden, Jozy Altidore's strike vs. Spain and Jonathan Bornstein's header vs. Costa Rica all narrowly missed the cut.

With that said, here are SBI's Top Five USMNT goals of 2009:

5. Ricardo Clark vs. Trinidad and Tobago 9/9

Ricardo Clark's blast against Trinidad and Tobago was not only special due to its incredible bend from distance, but also because it gave the U.S. team a much-needed win during a crowded period in CONCACAF qualifying. Nice build-up play from Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan paved the way for Clark's clutch rip from 25 yards out just before he was set to be subbed out in the U.S. teams 1-0 victory in Port of Spain. To make matters sweeter for Clark, his father, who was born in Trinidad, was in the stands to see the goal firsthand.

4. Landon Donovan vs. Honduras 10/10

While Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares could have done a bit better, Landon Donovan's free kick goal that clinched the U.S. team's World Cup qualifcation was a thing of beauty. The goal (at the 1:41 mark in the video below) was a gutsy gamble by Donovan, who correctly guessed that Valladares would anticipate the shot to the near post. But Donovan still had to manage to perfectly place the ball, which he did, curling it into the back of the net from 22 yards out, giving the U.S. team a thrilling 3-2 win in hostile and politically unsettled Honduras.

3. Stuart Holden vs. Haiti 7/11

Haiti may not be the most testing opponent, but Stuart Holden's stunning strike against the Haitians was as clutch as can be. With stoppage time almost complete, and with the U.S. team's streak over CONCACAF foes on home soil looking to be broken, Holden leveled the score, unleashing a right-footed shot that soared into the upper ninety from 24 yards out. Holden's goal – his second international goal – helped end a relatively frustrating day on a positive foot, as the U.S. team would temporarily extend its streak with the 2-2 draw.

2. Charlie Davies vs. Mexico 8/12

Scoring in Azteca is a rarity for the U.S. team, but Charlie Davies' goal against Mexico was even more special, coming in the 9th minute, and giving the U.S. team a 1-0 lead in its house of horrors. Quick combination passes from Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley and Landon Donovan led up to the play, and Donovan's accurate through ball released Davies behind the Mexican defense. Davies displayed his lightning-speed and clinical finishing, as he curled his shot around goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, silencing the hundreds of thousands of Mexicans in the stadium, and sending U.S. fans everywhere in a frenzy.

1. Landon Donovan vs. Brazil 6/28

Five touches and three players is all it took for the U.S. team to run from one side of the field to the other and score against a superiorly-talented Brazil in the Confederations Cup final. An outlet pass from Ricardo Clark reached Landon Donovan, who released Charlie Davies down the left flank before he returned the favor with a pin-point pass that Donovan took a touch on and then struck perfectly with his left foot past Julio Cesar. The impressive counter-attack goal gave the U.S. team an unprecedented 2-0 lead over the Selecao, and although the Americans could not hold onto their lead, the goal will still be remembered as one of the greatest of all time for the USMNT due to its precision, quickness and the magnitude of the game in which it came in.


What do you think of SBI's Top Five USMNT Goals of 2009? Get goosebumps re-watching some of those goals? Agree or disagree with the order? Feel there are any snubs?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Then you have to put in a vote for Casey’s first goal against Honduras at Honduras. It started the US on it’s way to securing qualification.

    I was watching the game in a bar in Baltimore full of US fans and it was enough of a shock to see Casey play let alone start and then for him to score. A few seconds before he scored most US fans would have gladly sent Casey to Gitmo in leg irons just for offending their sensibilities. And I thought Orioel fans were fickle.

  2. The best thing about that goal was it was a pure striker’s goal; Charlie made something out of nothing ( in this case, nothing being the keeper’s face)and it ignited the team. For me it was when Charlie arrived as a goalscorer.

  3. jozy’s goal against spain was a fluke… he did well to shield the ball from capdevilla but spain’s keeper gave him too much respect diving before jozy even shot, just look at the shot from the other angle.

  4. Agreed that Jozy’s goal vs. Spain needs to be there. And Holden’s goal, well struck and timely as it was, can probably go–the Gold Cup just wasn’t important this year.

  5. i agree with that. Besides he set up the the whole thing, Charlies speed and great pass made it work but LD opened the door and closed it behind him.

    It was a “What’s my name!!” moment
    Ballers do that all the time

  6. I concur…

    You look at the goals on this list and realize what an integral part Landon plays. He scored the free kick, set up Rico and Chuck D, and then created and finished the Brazil goal.

    If he were playing in the Gold Cup game alongside Holden, you can bet he would have set up Stu as well..

  7. great goal by donovan!

    i will be heading to nyc next week and i am looking for a good soccer store. anyone have a suggestion for me to go?

  8. Have YOU ever celebrated scoring a brilliant goal against arguably the best team on the planet on a major world stage? No? Oh, well then let me invite you to STFU.

  9. I loved it in the Holden goal how everyone was celebrating and Charlie was pushing them back to get the game restarted, he wanted 3 points not one! We miss that fire so much now, here’s to Charlie and that he makes a 100% recovery.

  10. Watching this goal still gives me goosebumps. I will always remember the pure joy I felt as my friends and I jumped out our seats screaming as we saw this attack take place.

  11. My vote to be in the top 5 is Bocanegra’s diving header in the Honduras game.

    A game that we had to wrestle the momentum away from our opponent, your captain puts life and limb on the line (if you don’t think so… ask John Terry) to throw his face to the ground to get a goal for his country, in the city that put him on the soccer map, and got us crucial qualifying points.

    That’s storybook!

    Of course, I may be biased because I was there.

  12. Am I the only one here that thinks Dempsey’s goal against Egypt should be on there? We wouldn’t have had another shot at Brazil for that #1 goal if it wasn’t for the perfect looping cross and Dempsey’s perfectly exectuted header. I just feel like the quality of goal, and finishing the improbable move to 2nd in the group should be on here. Check it … it gives me the chills

  13. Ricardo Clark is involved in 2 of these.He may not be a great player,but he works hard every game. He just needs to keep his cool. Good player though.

  14. So true…I was thinking this would be on the list as well. I had heard the radio announcers you list below, and remember cracking up when they freak out.

  15. How about Altidore’s first goal of three against T&T? A flick on by Ching, an expertly delivered ball by Donovan, and a cool finish by the kid. I would have had that somewhere in the list.

    Donovan’s against Brazil was easily the best goal I’ve ever seen the USMNT score.

  16. Alex are you Bryan Arguez? 🙂

    No way any of those goals top these.

    but count me in the group that would drop Holden’s goal. Add in Borstein’s game tying goal just for sheer emotional value.

    Also Jozy’s turn against Spain I found lovely from a sheer power aspect. I would probably drop Donovan’s Free Kick to make way for it.

    The sad part about these 5 listed are that only 2 were in a U.S. win.

  17. There is a twinge of sadness in seeing Davies involved in some of these goals, knowing what transpires shortly after. Come back strong CD9.

  18. I would have replaced Donovan’s FK against Honduras with Altidore’s goal vs. Spain. Game-winner against the #1 team in the world and pretty much sending shock waves throughout the soccer world and the US sports scene? Yeah, that should be on the list. Donovan’s PK was good, but the magnitude of Jozy’s goal was 1000 times higher. I’d probably have put it at #2 behind Donovan’s AMAZING goal v. Brazil.

    Ives, I think you should do a Top Five Stunned/Disappointed Looks of 2009, with Sergio Ramos’ face after Dempsey stole the ball and scored being #1.

  19. I think it was the best celebration I’ve seen from a US player. He is the reason for our recent success, and he plays alot of quarterback setting up other players, this one was set up by him and finished by him. He was finally taking some well deserved credit for himself.

  20. The best goal from this year, last year and every year was Benny Feilhaber’s goal to win the 2007 Gold Cup against Mexico. Now THAT never gets old.


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