Top Stories

The Top 30 USMNT goals of the 2010s

The past decade for the U.S. Men’s National Team was a great one for memorable goals and moments, though many of the best moments came in the early part of the decade.

The painful low points in recent years could make it easy to forget some of those magical moments USMNT fans were treated to in the past decade, but with the 2010-2019 era drawing to a close, it is time to look back at the best goals scored over the past decade.

The criteria for selecting the best goals comes down a variety of factors, including the importance of the match, and quality of the opponent, as well as the degree of difficulty of the finish and the passing leading up to the goal. Dramatic finishes in elimination matches and finals are tough to top, as are big goals against arch-rivals like Mexico (and World Cup nemesis Ghana).

In other words, scoring in important goal a World Cup beats a golazo in a friendly, and scoring on the road against a world power will trump scoring a goal against a Concacaf minnow (though the truly jaw-dropping goals still made their way up the list, regardless of opponent).

Take all those elements into account and you come up with a very strong list of top USMNT goals, one dominated by goals scored on the biggest stages. A whopping seven of the top nine goals on the list were scored in World Cup matches, with the only two in that top nine being goals scored against Mexico in official competition (with the Top 10 being rounded out by a free kick beauty scored in a tournament final).

The Top 30 (and we pushed it to 30 after initially shooting for 25 and realizing we still had some good goals to commemorate) is filled with the names you would expect, led by none other than Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey, with five goals apiece. Jozy Altidore and Bobby Wood notched four entries in the Top 30. Landon Donovan only managed three, but no USMNT player had a bigger trio of goals this decade.

As much as the number of goals scored by the aforementioned stars matter, it is worth noting just how many goals were set up by the likes of Bradley, Donovan, Dempsey and Altidore, which helps put some serious perspective on just what those player meant to the USMNT program over the past decade.

If you have a tough time remembering all the great USMNT goals scored in the past decade, we have provided links to each SBI Goals of the Year post in the past 10 years, and one thing you’ll realize quickly based on those annual rankings is that rating goals is a very subjective exercise and opinions will always vary.

Ultimately, there is no such thing is a perfect list ranking top goals. The main purpose of putting together this list is to give USMNT fans a chance to reminisce over the good times of the past decade, and remember those moments they may have forgotten amid the recent disappointments.

Here are the Top 30 USMNT Goals of the Decade:

30. Michael Orozco Fiscal vs. Mexico, 2012

29. Edson Buddle vs. Slovenia, 2011

28. Christian Pulisic vs. Chile, 2019

27. Bobby Wood vs. Colombia, 2018

26. Brek Shea vs. Switzerland, 2015

25. Clint Dempsey vs. Panama, 2011

24. Clint Dempsey vs. Honduras, 2017

23. Jozy Altidore vs. Guadeloupe, 2011

22. Fabian Johnson vs. Turkey, 2014

21. Jozy Altidore vs. Germany, 2013

20. Danny Williams vs. Brazil, 2015

19. Michael Bradley vs. Panama, 2015

18. Clint Dempsey vs. Costa Rica, 2017

17. Michael Bradley vs. Scotland, 2012

16. Bobby Wood vs. Mexico, 2015

15. Michael Bradley vs. Russia, 2012

14. Jozy Altidore vs. Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2013

13. Bobby Wood vs. Germany, 2015

12. Clint Dempsey vs. Germany, 2013

11. Bobby Wood vs. the Netherlands, 2015

10. Jozy Altidore vs. Jamaica, 2017

9. Landon Donovan vs. Slovenia, 2010

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvWOdloiJVw?start=110

8. Landon Donovan vs. Mexico, 2011

7. Clint Dempsey vs. Ghana, 2014

6. Michael Bradley vs. Slovenia, 2010

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvWOdloiJVw?start=141

5. Julian Green vs. Belgium, 2014

4. Michael Bradley vs. Mexico, 2017

3. Jermaine Jones vs. Portugal, 2014

2. John Brooks vs. Ghana, 2014

1. Landon Donovan vs. Algeria, 2010

——————

The Top USMNT Goals of the Decade, Year-by-Year

Best goals of 2019.
Best goals of 2018.
Best goals of 2017.
Best goals of 2016.
Best goals of 2015.
Best goals of 2014.
Best goals of 2013.
Best goals of 2012.
Best goals of 2011.
Best goals of 2010.

 

Comments

  1. I know everyone likes to hate on Joey now, but can we appreciate the insane power behind his goal versus Guadaloupe? He took a nice touch to create space and smashed one of the hardest shots I can ever remember seeing. I remember watching it live and being dumbfounded. I’ve always wondered just how fast that was and been disappointed he only produced one more like that.

    Reply
  2. Donovan’s Slovenia goal should be rated higher than Bradley’s. Yes, his was the game-tying goal but having watched the match, Donovan’s confident owning of the keeper with the tight, narrow opportunity near post where we roofed it into the upper netting was the thing that changed the game.

    Having watched it live, that was the moment everything shifted and became possible. Without that goal, delivered as confidently and brashly was it was, the US maybe doesn’t recover that 2 goal deficit.

    Reply
  3. Since so many of these aren’t available, I’m going on memory for a lot of these. I would just say that Dempsey’s goal against Ghana should be rated higher than Brooks’ goal in the same game because Dempsey’s required a lot more skill.

    Reply
    • Brooks goal was the game winner after Ghana had tied it late that’s why it is there. Any WC goal should probably make the list though right?

      Reply
      • I’m well aware it was the game winner. It was because Dempsey scored the fastest goal in US World Cup history and it was almost all due to his individual skill as he shredded the Ghana back line with his dribbling run. I stand by my original comment.

      • It’s really splitting hairs between 2 and 9. Goal! Goal! USA! The obvious number 1 of course. I wouldn’t have put Bradley’s Azteca Golazo above Dempsey’s just because it ended up not mattering for qualification. Ives mentions dramatic finishes in his article that clearly pushed it ahead for Ives. I’d move Green’s down to 7 or 8 just because it just cut the lead to one. I’d probably agree with you on Dempsey’s being higher because it was so skilled, but it’s easy to understand either.

    • Dempsey’s goal was also a huge cathartic moment after Ghana had eliminated the U.S. in the two previous cups. It made a huge statement.

      Reply
  4. Wow, it’s highlight reels like this that make you realize how important players like Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan and Tim Howard were to the USMNT.

    #RESPECT

    Reply
  5. Eddie Johnson’s goal at Antigua & Barbuda 2012 during qualifying should be on this list. as should Brad Evan’s winner at Jamaica in 2013. underrated away goals that were huge in their moments. EJ’s goal cup goal in Baltimore seconds after entering the match was great too.

    speaking of away goals the Orozco-Fiscal goal to win (who cares if it was a friendly!) at Azteca is only #30???

    honorable mention for Mo Edu.

    great list, great memories.

    Reply
  6. The Diskerud goal vs. Germany with the 30-pass bulidup always gets forgotten and is overshadowed by Wood’s game-winner, but it was one of the best goals of the decade by far.

    Reply
  7. Bradley scored 10 goals during the decade 5 made this list. A reminder of how important he was. From 2015-2017 he made 50 appearances and went 90 minutes in all but three over 75 minutes in 49 of them. Want to know why he doesn’t have much left in the tank I’d start there. It’s time for him to step away from the national team

    Reply
    • Very few USMNT fans dispute Bradley’s importance to the program. The disagreement is strictly about *when* coaches should have stopped starting/playing him. Some say that point was as early as 2013 when he rolled his ankle during warmups in Costa Rica. I would argue that he still had something to offer as recently as Copa 2016 (although his contribution was widely inconsistent from WC 2014 to then).

      That long range goal at Azteca extended his shelf life. The problem is that McKennie and Adams had not yet arrived after Copa 2016, and Jermaine Jones was on his way out. So

      What is clear in 2019 is that continuing to give Bradley minutes robs upcoming players of the opportunity to get game experience. I don’t blame Bradley for accepting call ups; this is entirely only Arena and Berhalter now.

      Reply
      • “The disagreement is strictly about *when* coaches should have stopped starting/playing him”……FINALLY, someone that understands. Thank you TheFrenchOne

  8. And here I was told Altidore doesn’t score yet he’s on this list several times and appears on the best of 2019 list as well. Hmmm?

    Reply
      • He has a slightly better goals per match than Donovan at 1 goal per 2.73 to LDs 1 goal per 2.75. Far better than his contemporaries Zardes, Wood, Morris, E. Johnson, Agudelo, and Wondo. Arguing that those guys would have had the same success is like saying Brian Ching would have scored as much as Donovan if he would have just had a chance.

      • “Far better than his contemporaries Zardes, Wood, Morris, E. Johnson, Agudelo, and Wondo”…..hahahah, sometimes I wonder how you think

        Zardes – 55 appearances
        Wood – 45 appearances
        Morris – 39 appearances
        E. Johnson – 63 appearances
        Agudelo – 28 appearances
        Wondo – 35 appearances

        GOALS stems from ambiguous use of term chance and probability. Probability increases as sample size (IN THIS CASE APPEARANCES) increases?
        JOZY ALTIDORE 115 APPEARANCES

        And by the way Landon Donovan was not a striker and even though he scored goals he had a high “assist” rate.

      • “Brian Ching would have scored as much as Donovan if he would have just had a chance”

        hmm, lets see….Brian Ching has never outscore Landon Donovan IN ANY COMPETITION they were both in. If that was the case then maybe that logic would make sense. Zardes and Wondolowski have outscored Jozy Altidore on average per season WHEN PLAYING STRIKER (because Zardes was not the main center forward with the Galaxy) and have both lead in goals a season among US Strikers (Jozy has NEVER been able to do that).

      • Except he did in 2004, and over four years in MLS he scored 37 MLS goals to LDs 38. What about Jeff Cunningham that outscored Donovan three different times should he have been given a chance. How about Alecko Eskandarian? With the exception of 2008 LD never put up top goal numbers yes he played wide but he was on the pitch to score.

        2004: LD 14th American goal scorer in MLS (including midfielders Steve Ralston, Eddie Gaven, and Ross Paule?)
        2005: LD T-2nd with Cunningham
        2006: LD 3rd
        2007: LD 5th behind some 19 year old name Josimer Altidore
        2008: LD Golden Boot by 2 goals over Kenny Cooper
        2009: LD T-3rd with Robbie Findlay behind C.Casey and Jeff Cunningham
        2010: LD 6th behind Justin Braun?
        2011: LD 2nd
        2012: LD 8th behind the grossly overlooked Steven Lenhert
        2013: LD 4th behind Magee and Jack Mack
        2014: LD 7th behind Ethan Finlay and Lee Nguyen
        Do you know who else was never at the top of the list? Clint Dempsey, Brian McBride, and Eric Wynalda the top 5 US scorers of all-time.

      • Johnnyrazor,
        Thanks for the history lesson but it doesn’t back up your argument. LD was mostly a winger who was just gifted to score goals, and even though he could play as a lone forward / striker up top that wasn’t his job. Still he provided both goals and assists for club and country. Name a winger that has out scored him or should have been in his place but wasn’t selected?

        The players you list are forwards / strikers only
        JeffCunningham – Striker /Forward

        2001 to 2013 Brian Ching – Striker/Forward – “The poacher”
        264 appearances in MLS – 101 goals in 12 years (Galaxy, Sounders, Earthquakes, Dynamo)

        2005 – 2014 Landon Donovan – Winger, Forward
        247 appearances – 112 goals in 9 years (for galaxy only)

        Alecko Eskandarian – Forward

        An attacking winger (or wide forward) is an offensive player who usually receives the ball close to the side line, dribbles, cuts inside or crosses the ball. They are usually very fast and have great ball skills. Usually they play in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation in attack, but often the formation changes to 4-5-1 or 4-4-2 when defending and the wingers become right and/or left defensive midfielders……that’s what made LD so special because even though it wasn’t his job he competed with strikers for goal tally.

        …..so with that being said, LD would never take the positions of Cunningham or Ching on the field if they were all available or playing at the same time (even though he out score both of them in a shorter period of time) …..unlike Altidore who can’t even out score Wondo who is playing in the EXACT same position…. the central forward position. Donovan was versatile, known for his pace and stamina as well as intelligence and technical skill, allowing him to play at various forward and midfield positions at different points of his career…….unlike the players you mentioned. His task was not solely to score goals (like the job of the striker) but he just made it happen. So your scenario does not fit the narrative. Jozy is point man (not a winger or midfielder or used in any other position…..point only!!!!) but not the best US Striker even in MLS nor should he be the top choice for the USMNT if pure strikers like Wondolowski (36), who should be retired by now, have dominated him in the same league at the same position during the same timeline.

      • Yes Johnnyrazor,
        Jozy Altidore has 24 goals in all competition but had more chances to do it than any other striker. So since nobody else has had the kind of opportunities he has (therefore the playing field on the National team is not even), lets find an area where all the strikers you listed have had an even chance of evaluation and showcasing their scoring abilities……hmmmm lets say goals scored ina common ground like MLS over the last 5 years? maybe 6?

        Oops, I guess we all know the answer to that one lol

    • No Worries, Johnnyrazor,
      “…..there are several midfielders who beat out LD in different years……”
      YES kind Sir you are correct……but you are talking one midfielder here and another there; one midfielder this year, a different midfielder that year…..not the same player, year after year, for a 3+ year period. I guarantee you that there isn’t a US winger /forward, in the history of MLS, who CONSISTENTLY put up better numbers than LD in 3+ consecutive years. EVER!!!!

      “MLS scoring is not a sole indicator of NT ability”……we can agree there also, but if you are not scoring goals you better be assisting or creating opportunities. But if you are a striker, in an average league like MLS, and your sole job is to put the ball in the back of the net, and you are not versatile enough to play ANY OTHER POSITION on the field…..then you better be DOMINATING and the absolute best at your craft, over a long period of time, to be titled the BEST.

      At the end of the day the objective is simple….put the ball in the back of the net. If the variables are different then its hard to compare: like MLS and Bundesliga II or MLS and EFL etc, but when the variable are the same: same position, same league, going up against same teams and same defensive players, then its harder to argue the facts. If a player scores more goals than Jozy one year and a different player scores more goals than him the following year: Example

      2017………………2018…………………2019…………..2019
      Wondo…………..Jozy…………………Zardes………….Jozy
      Jozy………………Sapong…………….Jozy…………….Morris
      Zardes…………..Wondo……………..Morris………….Sapong

      …..then you have an argument. But if he is consistently outsocred by the same player and NEVER, EVER, held the title of best US STRIKER in MLS in a single season (or even consistently second lol)…..how, on Gods green earth, is he deemed the TOP US striker for the USMNT???

      Reply
  9. Most of the top 10 goals could not be viewed… Thanks FIFA. but if you’re a USMNT fan, you’ve seen them a hundred times. I’d forgotten about Shea’s free kick against Switzerland, which reminded me how highly touted of a prospect he once was (to me, his career arc wa a lot like Mix). And bobby wood was so good for us during that middle part of the decade, sucks to see him struggle now

    Reply
    • Bizzy there are several midfielders who beat out LD in different years that I listed and others that weren’t named because the post was long enough. MLS scoring is not a sole indicator of NT ability hence why our other top goal scorers never were at the top of the league and some top scorers never panned out for the national team.
      ——————————
      If you use the other players average goal per game and multiple it by the number of games Altidore has played they are all short. Even if you assume Morris and Zardes would continue to score at the rates they did this season for the next 60-70 matches they don’t reach Altidore’s goal total. Wondo would pass all US scorers if he scored at his 2013 rate but since he scored 6 goals in 8 days but only scored four more goals the rest of his career that doesn’t seem likely.

      Reply

Leave a Comment