SBI’s Top 5 USMNT Goals of 2011

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Photo by Bill Barrett/


Scoring was not the easiest of things for the U.S. men's national team in 2011. It found the back of the net just 16 times in 17 games for its lowest goal-scoring total in a decade.

That does not mean there weren't any nice goals, though.

In a year that included a coaching change midway through, the United States managed to score a handful of nice goals. From finishes that came at the end of well-worked passing sequences, to impressive individual efforts, there were several goals that bear watching again before the year ends.

So before we turn the page on the year that was, here are SBI's Top Five USMNT Goals of 2011:

5. Clint Dempsey vs. Jamaica, June 19

Holding a slim lead over 10-man Jamaica in the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup, the United States sealed its passage to the semifinals when Dempsey finished off a nice passing sequence that involved Juan Agudelo and Landon Donovan. Hitting back on a counter, Donovan hit a pair of one-timed passes to Agudelo, who fought off a challenge before finding Dempsey with a low cross in front of goal. Dempsey demonstrated his composure in front of goal by cooly avoiding Donovan Ricketts and giving the Americans the insurance goal in the 2-0 affair.


4. Dempsey vs. Panama, June 22

Three days after scoring against Jamaica, Dempsey struck again. This time it was a game-winner and this time it was in the Gold Cup semifinals against Panama, the team which had handed the United States its first ever defeat in the group stage of the tournament days earlier. Dempsey scored the game's lone goal from close range following a counterattack that saw Freddy Adu play a beautiful ball to Donovan, who then hit a driven cross to the far post that Dempsey needed to only direct on frame for his third goal of the tournament.


3. Edson Buddle vs. Slovenia, Nov. 15

Scoring just the third goal in Jurgen Klinsmann's reign as head coach of the United States, Buddle began arguably the Americans' finest offensive outing under the former German striker when he blasted one in from range against Slovenia in a foggy friendly in November. Buddle netted the opener in the 3-2 win for the Americans when he controlled the ball with his thigh and volleyed it off the near post following a turnover deep in Slovenia's half that was forced by Dempsey.


2. Donovan vs. Mexico, June 25

He may not have had his greatest year in a U.S. jersey, but Donovan managed to score one of the better goals of 2011 for the United States in the thrilling Gold Cup final encounter against Mexico. Donovan helped initiate the play, which gave the U.S. team a 2-0 lead, but it was Dempsey and Adu who allowed it to develop further, as their quick combination took the attention off a streaking Donovan, who finished with authority before the Americans lost the game, 4-2. Perhaps just as nice as the goal was Donovan's celebration, which included a tainted chicken dance and the stanky leg (to commemorate Charlie Davies on his birthday).


1. Jozy Altidore vs. Guadeloupe, June 14

Scoring his second goal in the group stage of the Gold Cup, Jozy Altidore unleashed a venomous shot from distance that soared into the top corner of the net. The goal, which was the winner in the United States' 1-0 win over Guadeloupe, came in just the 9th minute of the game played at Livestrong Sporting Park when Altidore received a pass and cannoned a shot on frame from about 25 yards out.



What do you think of SBI's Top 5 USMNT Goals of 2011? Do you agree? Think another goal should have made the list?

Share your thoughts below.

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65 Responses to SBI’s Top 5 USMNT Goals of 2011

  1. Shane says:

    Who is # 17 in the picture?

  2. Huey says:

    Some great choices.

    For me, I was just a few rows up from Dempsey’s goal against Panama when Adu placed that phenomenal pass. Watching that happen before my eyes at my first USMNT game is my greatest soccer moment.

  3. Brian says:

    I would have put Clint’s goal against Honduras in the top 5

  4. Jack Napier says:

    Who is the bald white guy on the sidelines?

  5. SoccerInATL says:

    Maybe this year should of been top five goals against . That dos Santos goal in the gc final still haunts my dreams

  6. Siberian says:

    I agree with the goals, but 2011 wasn’t the best year for the USMNT. Here’s to a better 2012!

  7. MC Pharaoh says:

    God I miss Patrick Stewart..

  8. Soft Erections says:

    Jozy’s rip is still amazing to watch. Hate watching that Donovan goal, what could’ve been… F Mexico

  9. Tyler says:

    I actually preferred Bradley’s goal vs. Mexico (link to in the Gold Cup final to Donovan’s. Maybe it’s because the Donovan goal lead to our AO bar doing a premature Dues-a-cero chant with the 2-0 lead, and allowed the small Mexican contingent to mock us later with venom.

  10. EJ says:

    My number 1 was your number 4. Obviously the actual goal was just a tap in, so maybe that hurt it and put it down your list. But for one moment, having the potential of what Adu-Donovan-Dempsey could mean to the team as a creating, attacking trio, come to reality. It was a joy to watch.

  11. Andy in Atlanta says:

    The best USMNT coach we have ever had…

  12. jon says:

    the moral of the story is that we are better when lando and clint are on the field together.

  13. Andy says:

    I was there for the Adu set up goal in Houston vs. Panama. What a great atmosphere! Who’d of thought that there were soccer fans in Texas? Not the USSF based off of friendlies/qualifiers. You’d almost think L.A. is the only city in the U.S.

  14. Steve C says:

    Did anyone else watch the vids with the snowflakes falling? =D

  15. Villain-from-Texas says:

    I’m surprised that there were actually 5 goals to choose from.

  16. Kevin_Amold says:

    As always, the definition of “top” or “best” goal varies. To me, the top goal taking into account the competition and the importance, etc is Donovan’s Mexico goal.

    The best pure goal for me in terms of difficulty of the goal is Edson Buddle’s.

  17. It is Juan Agudelo last January against Chile.

  18. kwhatever says:

    Some great goals, I just wish there were more US goals to choose from!

  19. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    Try actually being at the game… that was brutal.

  20. Ski Fast! says:

    We scored 5 goals?

  21. EvertonBrian says:

    The goal against Mexico (#2 on the list) is stunning. I mean, sheer class goal. Watch it from about 3 feet from your monitor with the audio down- tough to believe it’s the U.S.

    The one-touch passing, the movement off the ball, the creativity…

    Should be #1.

  22. Ski Fast! says:

    What makes that Donovan goal pretty to watch was the international-level build up play. A string of quick, one-two touch passing and off-the-ball movement opened up the Mexican defense. We can play that in bits and spurts, we just need to be more confident and play that way more consistently.

  23. Ski Fast! says:

    I didn’t even read your reply before I posted mine below. Looks like we’re thinking the same exact thing.

  24. Grant says:


  25. Grant says:

    Have to agree fellas! Great build up play and the passing and movement is beautiful. Goals 1 vs 2 will be debatable but I always prefer the team goal over the wonder strike.

  26. Dylan says:

    Great goals indeed, watching Donovan score that goal and go up 2-0 was one of the best feelings ever. It was my first Nats game seeing live and by far the best sporting experience of my life regardless of the loss.

  27. EvertonBrian says:

    Haha, that’s awesome! We’re on the same page, for sure…

  28. Todd says:

    wow. this is the most pathetic looking set of top 5 goals i’ve ever seen. all 4 but jozy’s are pedestrian finishes that demonstrate how much time and space we americans need in order to score goals.


    (SBI-Todd, the quality in the other goals is in the passing build-ups. Quality of goals isn’t based solely on the actual shot on goal.)

  29. Francois says:

    Yeah, I was on the verge of tears. Has to be in my top 5 of angriest/sadest moments in my life.

  30. Dakota Sillyman says:

    Actually it’s Jozy.

  31. KEV says:

    I second John. Time and space? Listen, I realize we do not have any Messi’s on the team that just need an inch of space.

    Creating time and space in soccer = goals!

    Ok with critics that pop up here but not haters.

    Ugh, first of all, re-watching the Donovan goal vs. Mexico makes me ill. Watching that lead slip was dreadful.

    Secondly, Adu: what a ball to Donovan. great combination there. I hope he continues to do well and become a more consistent weapon for us -keeping his confidence up and being there for all CONCACAF qualifying – olympics and WC. Would be awesome coming off the bench for the “A” team. Jury’s out on whether he can be dangerous vs. anyone beyond minnows. (although had a great showing vs. Mex)

  32. Amru says:

    It’s obvious you can’t appreciate the subtle nuances of soccer. That Donovan goal against mexico was pure class, the quick ball movement, the runs off the ball. Hard to believe it was the US to be honest lol

  33. Four Cents says:

    Landycakes is still and forever will be the thorn in Mexico’s side.. Lets see what 2012 brings- besides the end of the world?

  34. john says:

    US vs. Mexico is the best rivalry in the world outside of Barcelona vs. Real Madrid. Sometimes in games like Man U vs. Man City it seems like alot of the players are there just to pick up a pay check. Let the hating begin i dont care.

  35. john says:

    Feel free to name rivalries you think are better

  36. It is Juan Agudelo. Watch the video from the game on January 22, 2011. Juan draws the penalty that Teal Bunbury converts.

    link to

  37. Dillon says:

    Should be be number 2 in my estimation.

  38. KEV says:

    Biased but I absolutely agree with you.

    Two other rivalries that have to be up there is Brazil vs. Argentina?

    Celtic vs. Rangers? (religion plays into this – goes beyond sports!)

  39. No that picture is of Jozy after he scored against Guadeloupe, if you clearly watch your video and look at the picture it two completey different players. Plus Agudelo isn’t black….

  40. I wanna know where is Robbie Rodgers goal against Mexico? I think the build-up to that is better than most of these goals

  41. Dinho says:

    River v Boca, Brazil v Argentina, Liverpool v Everton, Roma v Lazio…

  42. Dinho says:

    Celtic v Rangers

  43. Dinho says:

    See above.

  44. It is most definitely NOT from the game against Guadeloupe. That game was at Livestrong Park in Kansas City and NOT the Home Depot Center where this picture is obviously from. Trust me when I tell you that it is Juan Agudelo from January 22, 2011.

  45. RoryD says:

    That is absolutely not Juan Agudelo. It is 100% Jozy. Have you seen a US match in the last year?

  46. Chris says:

    If you are talking about this picture then it is definitely Jozy:

    link to

  47. Thomas says:

    Elie…I sincerely hope you’re not talking about the picture at the top of this post. If you think that is Agudelo you have started your NYE celebration a day early my friend…

  48. Thomas says:

    Agreed, I’d be okay with this at #2…definately could have knocked out Dempsey’s other goals on the list.

    Depends if this list is best, pure goals. If it is this is better than most.

  49. Thomas says:

    That was a pretty sick header. Kind of nice that none of the goals were on set pieces tho…when’s the last time that happened?!?!

  50. jlm says:

    just because there is a home depot sign doesn’t mean it was at the hdc

  51. hogatroge says:

    Unless this picture––is photoshopped, which it’s not, that’s definitely not Agudelo.

  52. nic d the "tx 2 stepper" says:

    “best pure goal for me … is Edson Buddle’s.”

    A G R E E D

  53. hogatroge says:

    I was so far up in the balcony at Reliant that the players looked like ants and the ball looked like a neutrino.

    That said, it was a great goal.

  54. hogatroge says:

    They can sell tickets for a higher price in LA and Mexico fans will make sure the games sell out.

  55. Kasey says:

    To me it’s either Buddle or Jozys 20 yard bomb.. we need more instinct like that.. Have One!!!!

  56. Yea I’m pretty sure that I can spot the home depot add in the video right before Jozy scores. FYI Home Depot is a major sponsor of MLS, hence why there is an add for it at Live Strong Park. Plus as a New York Fan I can tell the difference between Jozy and Juan

  57. Fred says:

    Ummmm, racist much? That’s definitely Josmere. “They” don’t all look the same.

  58. Powderhorn Pops says:

    Yup… +1

  59. TADevil says:

    My favorite moment in those goals is #4 when Dempsey keeps pointing to Donovan to make sure his pass was recognized.