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SBI’s Top 5 USMNT goals of 2014

John Brooks USMNT 21 AP

There might not have been an abundance of goals scored by the U.S. Men’s National Team in 2014, but that does not mean that there were no top-notch finishes.

In fact, there were several.

The U.S. managed to score just 20 goals through their 15 matches this year, but a handful of those tallies were highlight-reel material. There were jaw-dropping strikes and heart-stopping tallies. Moments of individual brilliance and incredible combination play. Clutch World Cup finishes and impressive winners.

The SBI staff looked back at the Americans’ goals this year and voted on a top-five list that is based on significance, aesthetics, degree of difficulty, and other factors.

So before we turn the page on the year that was, here are SBI’s Top Five USMNT goals of 2014:

5. Jozy Altidore vs. Nigeria, June 7

From Michael Bradley’s perfectly lofted pass to Jozy Altidore’s composure and strong finish, there was not much wrong with the winner in the U.S.’s 2-1 win over Nigeria in June. Sure, it was a friendly game, but the way Altidore brought the ball down, cut inside of his defender, and netted his second of the game was impressive and reason to believe that the forward was in store for a big World Cup in Brazil.


4. Julian Green vs. Belgium, July 1

Julian Green might not have gotten all of it, but there was still enough in his World Cup volley to beat Thibaut Courtois and give the U.S. brief hope. Green came off the bench at the start of the second half of extra time with Belgium leading by two goals in their Round of 16 clash, and delivered an incredible moment by racing into the penalty area and firing home Michael Bradley’s sublime pass with the poise of a veteran. In the end, it was not enough to prevent the Americans from being eliminated, 2-1, but the skillful finish gave Green and his team a chance when things looked so bleak.

3. Fabian Johnson vs. Turkey, June 1

From the technically-perfect department came Fabian Johnson’s first strike in a U.S. jersey. The versatile veteran pushed up from his right back in the summer friendly against Turkey, and found Michael Bradley before darting into the 18-yard box. Bradley then astutely picked out his teammate with a great aerial ball, and the unmarked Johnson took a left-footed shot that opened the scoring the U.S.’s 2-1 victory.


2. Jermaine Jones vs. Portugal, June 22

As far as looks go, there was no strike this year better than Jermaine Jones’ World Cup equalizer vs. Portugal. The Americans were trailing, 1-0, in their second group game when a second-half corner kick was cleared into the path of Jones. The veteran midfielder proceeded to trap the ball, take a slight touch to his right and blast a shot that might have initially been deemed hopeful at best. But the ball was hit perfectly, and it soared at mid-range before sweetly nestling into the corner of the goal. The game would end in a 2-2 tie, but Jones’ first World Cup goal was a thing of beauty.

1. John Brooks vs. Ghana, June 16

Dramatic, pulsating and a dream come true. That was John Brooks’ 86th-minute winner against Ghana. The U.S. were against the ropes in their World Cup opener, having conceded a late equalizer and looking like a team ready to succumb to Ghana’s waves of pressure. But Brooks changed all that in thrilling fashion, as he tracked a Graham Zusi corner kick and nodded home the winner in the 2-1 affair. The goal itself wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, but the magnitude of the moment, what it meant for the Americans, the instant reaction from commentators Ian Darke and Taylor Twellman, and Brooks’ genuine disbelief during his emotional celebration made it a special tally that will not soon be forgotten.


What do you think of SBI’s Top 5 USMNT goals of 2014? Agree that Brooks’ strike was the year’s best? Should another goal have cracked the top five?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Hey, AJ, let the man bask in it a little bit. Everyone else left already, bro, and you’re still trying to whisper to this cat? Then you start tugging and pulling at him? No bueno, hombre, not cool.

  2. The soft thwack of JJ’s bomb vs. Portugal nestling in the back of the net — might be the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.

  3. franco,

    jozy’s goal was well-taken, but there’s no way it should be on here before dempsey’s goal against ghana. maybe you forgot about it? 🙂

    • At first I thought, maybe a little bit of controversy gets more hits, comments, you know? But, everybody thinks Dempsey v Ghana should be on here, right? The fourth fastest goal in WC history? Against a team we’d built so much tension with, given our recent tournament history, plus the fact that many viewed that game as a must win, I can’t see how they didn’t at least mention that dopeness. So, maybe that’s why this wording struck me as odd: “The SBI staff looked back at the Americans’ goals this year…”
      Woah woah woah, my friend, don’t you mean to say that the SBI staff looked back at ALL the Americans’ goals this year? Hmm, kind of fishy, am I right?

  4. Ditto on Deuce’s goal vs Ghana. After all the buildup to the WC, the waiting, in 30 seconds Deuce showed that the US had come to play. The usmnt supporters went nuts. And technically it was a fantastic goal.

    I would put it under Brooks goal (#1 hands down, delirium in Natal, people were losing it) and JJ’s thunderbolt vs. Portugal.

  5. LOL, Dempsey scores a minute into the group of death, an individual effort of dribbling and finishing Jozy can only dream of, but Jozy’s friendly goal is top 5 in a WC year.

    • of course you’d say that, Del. while I agree that Dempsey’s goal should have made this list (over Brooks’ or even Green’s), you’re not really giving Jozy’s goal due credit. it wasn’t just a tap in. He chested a 25 yard pass well, took one touch to stop the bounce nicely, a second touch outside to set up shot and then beat the GK near post. The GK was on that post “covering” it. just give that play its credit, not saying you have to all of a sudden subscribe to the fan club haha. but his goal was a good goal, with the added importance of being a ST’s second goal in the last game before a WC– instant confidence. again, the goal wasn’t a Goal of the Year world wide candidate but it deserved #5 this year for the US.

      • yes, beat the goalie. the GK was in position to stop it and didn’t. thus he beat the goalie near post…. was this really that hard to understand? sure the goal guessed wrong (thought low, not high) but either way in a battle of ST vs GK, the GK picks near post to block with his body and gives the ST the far post to try to bend it around. STs with hard shots can beat a GK near post. why am i still explaining basics to you………kjsodfjaosdkfja jfdosafjdaosgjas odfgjasdkog jaoskg

    • Did you really have to bring that up? Ouch! Consider this,….after running himself absolutely raged against, Ghana, Portugal, Germany and Belgium,…it was Jermaine Jones who out jumped the Belgium defender to head the ball to Wondolowski,…

      JJ,…thanks for the supreme effort. Pity Wondolowski didn’t seize the moment. 🙁

      • good point Brink. and further, Wondo’s better choice should have been to pass to Dempsey with a lead pass for a certain tap in. Dempsey was onside and you can even see him put his hand out after the miss like “why didn’t u just tap it right here???”.

  6. With all due respect to the goals on this list, all great, none was better than Dempsey’s individual effort against Ghana. It was not only a spectacular effort seconds into the World Cup against a dangerous nemesis, and the type of quality goal that the US rarely scores, it breathed life into the entire tournament for the US.

    • +1

      to add, if the order of goals were reversed for the Ghana game, would this list still be the same? Imagine if we had won a corner within the first minute and Brooks (had he started) scored that header. then Ghana ties late like they did and Dempsey scored the same goal he did just near the end of the match to win…… Dempsey’s goal was a better goal, Brooks’ was a better story. Demspey’s was a more skillful goal, utilized the team to set it up and was almost equally as important due to being the first of the game to “set a tone” so-to-speak.

      basically, take away the situation and then a header, even a players first goal, isn’t better than a skillful showing capped off by a nice goal.


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