Darlington Nagbe, Goal of the Year, 11.16.11

Nagbe wins 2011 AT&T Goal of the Year with strike against Sporting KC

PORTLAND, Ore. – Major League Soccer today named Portland Timbers midfielder/forward Darlington Nagbe the winner of the 2011 AT&T Goal of the Year for his juggle and volley into the top corner of the goal on July 2 against Sporting Kansas City at JELD-WEN Field. 

With the Timbers trailing Sporting Kansas City late in the first half, Nagbe scored his first professional goal in spectacular fashion. Controlling a clearance by juggling the ball twice in the air, the rookie then unleashed a volley from outside the penalty area that knifed into the upper left corner of the goal.  Click here to watch Nagbe’s goal.

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The goal was named one of the Top Plays on ESPN’s SportsCenter that evening and won ESPN SportsCenter’s ‘Best of the Best’ poll every day for a full week, earning more votes each day than another top play from around the sports world. Within days, the highlight surpassed one million views on YouTube and has been reviewed more than 1.5 million times. In addition to being named MLSsoccer.com’s Goal of the Week in Week 16, Nagbe’s incredible goal was also named the Timbers’ 2011 Play of the Year. 

The AT&T Goal of the Year was determined by an online fan vote; 64 initial nominees for the award were eventually narrowed to four finalists. The final poll results for the four finalists were:

Darlington Nagbe, Portland Timbers – 42 percent
Eric Hassli, Vancouver Whitecaps FC – 31 percent
Fredy Montero, Seattle Sounders FC – 23 percent
Davide Chiumiento, Vancouver Whitecaps FC – 4 percent

Nagbe, 21, joins Damani Ralph (Chicago Fire, 2003) as the only rookies to win MLS Goal of the Year. The No. 2 overall selection in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, Nagbe finished his first professional season with two goals and ranked among team leaders with three assists in 28 matches (21 starts) for Portland. He also finished fourth in the voting for 2011 MLS Rookie of the Year.

MLS Goal of the Year Winners
 Darlington Nagbe – Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City – July 2, 2011
2010: Marco Pappa – Chicago Fire vs. San Jose Earthquakes – April 10, 2010
2009: Landon Donovan – LA Galaxy vs. New England Revolution – August 8, 2009
2008: Will Johnson – Real Salt Lake vs. FC Dallas – October 18, 2008
2007: Cuauhtemoc Blanco – Chicago Fire vs. Real Salt Lake – August 18, 2007
2006: Brian Ching – Houston Dynamo vs. D.C. United – September 30, 2006 
Dwayne De Rosario – San Jose Earthquakes at LA Galaxy – October 15, 2005
2004: Dwayne De Rosario – San Jose Earthquakes vs. D.C. United – August 2, 2004
2003: Damani Ralph – Chicago Fire at Columbus Crew – August 13, 2003 
2002: Carlos Ruiz – LA Galaxy vs. Columbus Crew – July 27, 2002
2001: Clint Mathis – MetroStars vs. Dallas Burn – April 28, 2001
2000: Marcelo Balboa – Colorado Rapids at Columbus Crew – April 22, 2000
1999: Marco Etcheverry – D.C. United at Miami Fusion – May 22, 1999
1998: Brian McBride – Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire – July 9, 1998
1997: Marco Etcheverry – D.C. United vs. New England Revolution – August 27, 1997
1996: Eric Wynalda – San Jose Earthquakes vs. D.C. United – April 6, 1996