PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe has scored some pretty spectacular goals during his time in MLS, the likes of which have earned numerous MLS Goal of the Year nominations–and a win in 2011. His game-winner on Wednesday in the team's 2-1 win against the Colorado Rapids was no different and may be on course for yet another nomination.
When asked about how the goal came about—Nagbe’s third of the year—the midfielder responded in his typical humble fashion.
“I just saw [Sebastian Blanco] play the ball down the line to Vytas,” he recalled. “I tried to make a run in the box and just pulled short a little bit. I took a peek at the goal first and just turned and hit it.
“Luckily, it went in.”
The seemingly-effortless goal came in the 23rd minute, just two minutes after Diego Valeri had put the Timbers up 1-0 over the Rapids, doubling Portland’s lead.
After a quick touch down the left side, Vytas directed a short pass into the box which Nagbe controlled with his left foot. The midfielder opened up his stance before making a phenomenal right-footed strike with the inside of his boot. The ball floated up, curled and sailed over Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard before dipping under the crossbar and into the far corner of the net.
Defender Zarek Valentin was so astounded by the nature and path of the ball that he jokingly asserted after the game that Nagbe’s shot was “definitely a cross.”
“Oh, Z knows it all man! Z’s always right, Z’s always right,” Nagbe laughed. “No, it was a shot, but I was lucky it went in though.”
The 27-year-old admitted postgame that he didn’t fully know where the ball was going when he took the initial strike.
“I just tried to take a picture before, try and know where the goal was and then once I hit it, it felt good,” he said.