The 18th MLS season is just a fortnight away -- as good a time as any for reflection. So I've compiled both the best and brightest goals from each club's history. And as MLS's 19 clubs finish their preseason preparations and get the 2013 season underway, I'll share them with you.
The best is the strike that I find the most physically awe-inspiring and the brightest is well, subjective, but know that winning trophies is the truest measure of success in my book.
There's no particular order to these proceedings. I'll just be sharing a couple videos at a time. We can all sit back, remember, laugh, cringe, gape, whatever. I only ask that if and when you tell me I've missed something, as I know and hope you will, that you send a link for everyone's viewing pleasure.
We'll start at the beginning.
Best: Marco Etcheverry vs. New England c. 1996
Etcheverry was in his prime, playing at a level far ahead of his opponents. Few goals demonstrate such a severe control of one's opponents as this does. He is playing a game, and the Revolution defenders don't seem to know the rules.
Note: I'm not sure when exactly this match was played. But I do believe those are New England's old away kits and that's Alexi Lalas sliding in vain, so it has to be 1996 or 1997. And I'd recognize that beautiful field in the glorious yet crumbling edifice that is RFK Stadium any day.
Brightest: Eddie Pope vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, Oct. 20, 1996
Thudding home an Etcheverry corner, Eddie Pope gave birth to the league's first intercoastal rivalry and crowned its first champion all at once in the 94th minute of MLS Cup in Foxboro Stadium.
Pope and his teammates' celebration also reportedly confused Etcheverry, who'd never played in a sudden-death game before. It wasn't until after he saw no one was lining up for another kickoff that he realized he'd assisted on the first MLS Cup-winning goal.
- Jacob Klinger