Monday, May 8, 2017

Lucky Strikers

There's scoring goals, and then there's scoring the goals that matter most. Today, we tackle a few categories that specifically honor big strikes. As always, the tallies include all European topflights, select second flights (England, Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal), domestic cups and continental cup action. And as always, players still active in the Old World sport an asterisk.


He's endured a rather lost season, but that didn't keep Aron Jóhannsson from rising to the top of this category before an injury cost him a starting role at Bremen. Combined with his skill at bagging openers (see below), he's got quite the knack for putting his team in the lead. Bobby Wood has quickly climbed into the top 15, and could soar a lot higher if he could simply join a team that wins more. And FYI: Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu and Mix Diskerud are the only four Americans who've fired the decisive goal in a UEFA tourney tie.

19 Aron Jóhannsson*
17 Earnie Stewart
14 Clint Dempsey
14 Andrew Wooten*
12 Brian McBride
11 Alejandro Bedoya
11 Jermaine Jones
9 Jozy Altidore
9 Thomas Dooley
8 Roy Wegerle
8 Oguchi Onyewu
7 Carlos Bocanegra
7 Terrence Boyd*
7 Maurice Edu
7 Joe-Max Moore
7 Claudio Reyna
7 Bobby Wood*
7 Eric Wynalda


It's pretty amazing that nearly half of Dempsey's European goals broke the ice. Jóhannsson and Terrence Boyd have a similar proclivity for openers, but could really use his line-up regularity.

33 Clint Dempsey
29 Aron Jóhannsson*
28 Earnie Stewart
24 Brian McBride
22 Jozy Altidore
17 Terrence Boyd*
17 Joe-Max Moore
16 Charles Kazlauskas* 
15 Alejandro Bedoya
15 Sacha Kljestan
14 Thomas Dooley
13 Roy Wegerle
12 Eddie Lewis
11 Bobby Wood*
10 Conor Casey
10 Andrew Wooten*


Fabian Johnson certainly tends to save his goals for the rescue jobs. Just about a quarter of his tallies have either turned a draw into a win or a loss into a draw during the final 15 minutes of a game or in extra time. The only person on this list with a better late hero rate from his European strikes is Gregg Berhalter (6 of 20).

10 Clint Dempsey
8 Earnie Stewart
7 Roy Wegerle
6 Fabian Johnson*
5 Gregg Berhalter
5 Alejandro Bedoya
5 Terrence Boyd*
4 Carlos Bocanegra
4 Charlie Davies
4 Mikkel Diskerud*
4 Andrew Wooten*
3 DaMarcus Beasley
3 Aron Jóhannsson*
3 Eddie Lewis
3 Oguchi Onyewu
3 Eric Wynalda


Tomorrow, we'll give the defenders some statistical love.

- Greg Seltzer

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