Nagbe wins MLS Goal of the Year

Nagbe (Getty Images)

The people have spoken, and they've chosen Darlington Nagbe.

The Portland Timbers rookie won MLS Goal of the Year honors on Wednesday, beating out Vancouver Whitecaps striker Eric Hassli for the award. Both players, suiting up for expansion teams, delivered goals that were among the best MLS has ever seen in their first years in the league.

Nagbe volleyed a punched-away clearance to himself before lofting a blast into the upper left-hand corner of the net against Sporting Kansas City on July 2. Hassli also delivered a goal off a bad clearance attempt, turning his body at the right edge of the box before unleashing a volley inside the far post against the Seattle Sounders on June 11.

The winner was determined by an online fan vote on the MLS website, with Nagbe earning 42 percent of the vote and Hassli garnering 31 percent. They both outdistanced Fredy Montero (23 percent) and Davide Chiumiento (4 percent), the other finalists for the honor.

For comparison sake (and as another excuse to watch them both, because, let's be honest, they're ridiculous goals), highlights of Nagbe's and Hassli's goals are after the jump:




What do you think of the final verdict? Was Nagbe's goal better than Hassli's? 

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in MLS- Portland Timbers, MLS- Vancouver Whitecaps. Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Nagbe wins MLS Goal of the Year

  1. jonk says:

    I know some people think Hassli should have been the runaway winner, but I thought both goals were equally deserving.
    Anyway, Montero got 23%? If Hassli fans think he was wronged, you know where to look.

  2. K-Town says:

    Nagbe’s goal was sick and in any other year would win, but Hassli got robbed. Probably because Portland was able to stuff the ballot more.

  3. tbkh says:

    Nagbe’s goal was overrated. Hassli’s goal was much more difficult to score.

  4. bottlcaps says:

    I still think Beckham’s goal from the corner kick SHOULD be the goal of the year. Nobody bends it like Beckham.

  5. prizby says:

    is it any wonder why euros call the MLS a Mickey Mouse League…the fans today have proven why

  6. K-Town says:

    Yeah, you are probably right. It wasn’t that Portland sutffed the ballot more than Vancouver. It was that Seattle fans gonna hate and got the whole city of Seattle to either vote for Nagbe or Montero.

    And if Seattle fans wanna take that comment negatively, they shouldn’t. That level of massive hate is pretty impressive. I just wish their fans weren’t so obnoxious and elitist for a team only three years old in the league. As a Galaxy fan, I actually like the team and org, just can’t stand the fans.

  7. Ric says:

    They were both great goals, but this is a case of the Timbers’ ultra-supportive fans getting their guy the win. Props to them for backing their players.

    Hassli’s goal was world class, easily the best. Not even close in my mind.

  8. Justin says:

    Hassli had one of the best goals I have ever seen. Plus he beat arguably the best keeper on mls with the shot. Should have been the run away winner. Sure, Nagbe’s was great skill, but a goal like that happens around the world fairly often.

  9. Poo says:

    and also seemed to have more of an element of luck to it. Nagbe’s seemed a bit more pre-meditated. Hassili just let it rip.

    both were great through.

  10. Brian says:

    Hassli by a mile.

  11. Carlos says:

    im sorry darlington i’ma let you finish but hassli’s goal is one of a kind.

    can someone reasonably explain why that was a better goal than hassli’s?

  12. casualfan says:

    Nagbe’s goal is better.


  13. Gnarls says:

    Nagbe’s demonstrated a high level of precision while Hassli’s demonstrated less precision and more luck.

  14. Gnarls says:

    I voted for Nagbe’s goal, but Hassli’s “King Kong ain’t go sh!t on me” goal celebration was better.

  15. Marcus says:

    I think in most people’s minds (seemingly the majority of the commenters), Goal of the Year means the most impressive goal of the year, not the one that was most premeditated…

    I think it’s hard to argue that Nagbe’s was more impressive, more jaw-dropping than Hassli’s. And while yes, Hassli’s did involve a bit more luck than Nagbe’s, but stop acting like Hassli’s didn’t take any skill to pull off.

  16. ChrisH says:

    Nagbe rightfully won. Hassli’s goal was awesome, but let’s face it, he wasn’t trying to score a goal.

  17. RB says:

    I voted for Hassli’s, but it was a bit of a coin toss between his and Nagbe’s.

    Sure, the voting system is screwy, but the most best thing is that Montero’s didn’t win and rob either of those more deserving recipients. (Well and that Chiumiento’s didn’t, either, but then there never seemed much chance of that.)

  18. Marcus says:

    You’re right, he was trying to cross it to his non-existent teammate! Of course he was trying to score…christ.

  19. Poo says:

    Head of hammer meets nail.

  20. JJ says:

    This Seattle fan voted for Hassli.

  21. Khan says:

    Mickey Mouse league letting fan bases vote.

    Hassli’s goal was not only the best MLS goal of this year, but ever. That was the greatest strike in MLS history.

  22. tron says:

    The degree of difficultly is far greater on Hassli’s goal. I mean, scoring from that angle on Keller is unheard of. Nagbe’s got an easier angle.

  23. Khan says:


    MLS opens themselves up for this type of embarrassment when they let fan voting dictate selections.

    It’s like when Yao Ming made it into the NBA All-Star game despite not having played in the NBA that season.

  24. Khan says:

    After going back and watching both again, it’s not even close. This is embarrassing for MLS and a huge slap in the face to Hassli.

  25. Adam M. says:

    Hassli’s goal was more unexpected given his position on the field and the audacity of trying it, but Nagbe’s was the better goal. Plucking the ball out of the air, controlling it with two touches in the air before lauching a top corner rocket from distance with the third consecutive touch in the air? I challenge anyone to find a similar goal scored recently, but what I like most about it is that it was actually a good soccer play, whereas Hassli’s goal was a very low risk attempt from a spot where he could have controlled the ball. I thought Aguledo’s goal with tight marking was better than Hassli’s

  26. dcpohl says:

    I am utterly shocked Hassli did not win.

  27. NCsoccer says:

    reminds me of John Wolyniecs goal not winning in 2003

  28. gfox says:

    Who cares what they think

  29. gfox says:

    What a stupid saying

  30. Eric says:

    Hassli’s goal reminds me of one Ronaldinho hit at the World Cup, in 2006 maybe? One that people argued about whether or not he meant it to be a cross or a shot. The point is that that one, while impressive, I don’t think was ever mentioned for goal of the tournament, precisely because it was deemed to be lucky. “Impressive” is about meaning to do something hard and then doing it. It’s not about throwing a hail mary.

    If that match in which Hassli scored were a game of pool, I would have called bs on that shot and made him pull the ball out of the pocket.

  31. Khan says:

    He clearly meant to rip that shot to that area of the net. He turned his body and hit the strike angled directly at that side.

  32. Olly says:

    Any half decent footballer should be able to juggle that ball on Nagbe’s. If it had come off the initial cross, it would have been much more impressive, but a looping clearance from the goalkeeper isn’t difficult to control that way. It’s a nice shot, but Hassli’s goal was more impressive. He got robbed.

  33. Golazo says:

    Lame as usual. Award is stricktly for “the fans”.

  34. OC says:

    The more and more I watch them, the more and more I tend to agree with the decision.

    I mean, they are apart by about .01% in terms of quality, but what sets it apart for me is that for some reason Nagbe’s looks just a LITTLE more ….. calculated, if that makes any sense. Like, he knew what he wanted to do from the second it was punched away. I am not AS convinced that this was the case for Hassli’s.

    Either way, both SPECTACULAR strikes, and great adverts for the quality that this league has to offer!

  35. OC says:

    Agreed, Nagbe’s just seems more planned to me, which is why I think it wins.

  36. Green76 says:

    My 11 year old son pratied his “Nagbe” all year. He has not practiced a “Hassli.”. Congratulations Nagbe!

  37. Andrew says:

    and the fact that your 11 year old can practice the shot shows why hassli definitely should have won

  38. Mike in Missouri says:

    Nagbe’s was a ridiculous strike due to skill.
    Hassli’s was a riculous strike due to luck.

    Advantage: skill.

    The people chose wisely.

    (and, on another note, what is wrong with the fans getting to choose GOY?)

  39. Carl says:

    Hassli hit a ball coming down at a much more difficult angle, redirecting it one time.

    Nagbe’s goal is sensational, but striking the ball that way is not as difficult as the Hassli hit it.

    This impartial fan votes:


  40. Kejsare says:

    Evidence? One or two wont suffice.

  41. Kejsare says:

    I heard GOTY from many quarters and thought likewise when watching Hassli’s. But when Nagbe’s strike came most observers asked if it could top Hassli’s. Both were deserving. No one got robbed.

  42. Kejsare says:

    One yard closer and Hassli’s goal is over the crossbar. Nagbe’s placement and precision was an incredible display for someone getting their first professional goal. Measure of luck on one, placement for the other. Both have WOW factors. Both were brilliant and came suddenly. Take your pick and let your judgment decide which is more persuasive. Thus, GOTY could go either way and I wouldn’t be displeased.

  43. This Guy says:

    There was no ballot stuffing. Simply put: Hassli’s goal required much more luck than Nagbe’s. Hassli sent out a prayer that was answered while Nagbe showed control, confidence, and skill

    Easy vote for Nagbe.

  44. Green76 says:

    It’s clear you don’t have soccer age kids. Theres a big difference between practicing a shot and pulling it off. Nagbe’s shot inspired him as a feet of skill. Hassli’s shot was a novelty of luck that he watched and dismissed.

  45. Josh says:

    Well, of course Nagbe’s goal was more calculated. He had all day to juggle the ball because no defender closed him down.

    Don’t get me wrong; Nagbe’s goal is a gorgeous strike, but IMHO Hassli was robbed. He should’ve won based on degree of difficulty alone.

  46. Watchmen says:

    Hassli’s goal was being talked about world wide and has over 5 million hits on youtube. Nagbe’s goal is impressive, but didn’t hit those levels. Bit of an embarrassment for MLS really.

  47. Travis says:

    Why do people care if the goal by Hassli was luck? So what? It doesn’t really take away from the awe factor of that strike, he was clearly trying to strike it on goal. Granted im sure he didnt think itd go that well but it was a sublime hit. Nagbe’s goal was good but common is this for real? Hassli’s was clearly better.

  48. Udo says:

    “I just wish their fans weren’t so obnoxious”


  49. Max says:

    Hassli got robbed

  50. Ray says:

    No, Hassli’s is goal of the century so far

  51. soccernst says:

    Hassli is not a winning personality. That hurts him here, but the goal is otherworldly. It has a luck element like dempseys Europa magic, but with more power. Id rather see a celebration filled with joy than f bombs and chest inflation. Side note: surprised agudelos flick and shot was not on the list.

  52. Will says:

    That’s just about the dumbest thing I’ve read on this website

  53. MattfromMemphis says:

    I’m voting for your post for “Post of the Thread.”

  54. alex says:

    Any strike that’s up for goal of the year is going to require some luck. It’s about executing something that’s rare and special.

    Nagbe had the luxury of having his feet planted and several touches on the ball. Hassli is on the move and required to do something much more difficult.

    I think its ridiculous to call one “skill” and the other “luck” especially when the “skilled goal” was scored by a guy who barely finds the back of the net. He wasn’t in any way lucky? right…