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Six Degrees: Six Golazos

MLS: Portland Timbers at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, over at the Oregonian, the always-excellent Jamie Goldberg published an article ranking her Top 10 Timbers goals.

After reading her article, and then the comments at the bottom, I thought I’d dust off a very similar article I wrote last year, back when I was at Slide Rule Pass. I thought it would be fun to see how many goals Jamie and I have in common.

So here you are: In reverse order, from sixth to first, my all-time favorite Timbers goals. Here we go!

6) July 13, 2013 – Diego Valeri to Darlington Nagbe to Ryan Johnson

Wait, what? How in the hell could this make my list? It’s a tap in, for crying out loud!

Well, for starters, I love team goals. I am on record as saying that Goal of the Week and Goal of the Year nominees should include all relevant players, not just the last guy to touch it. Because, let’s be honest, in this goal, if you’re only looking at Ryan Johnson, it’s not that impressive a goal. But throw in Valeri and Nags? It’s suddenly a wonder goal. Such a wonder goal, in fact, that MLS Digital put together a really cool video breaking it down moment by moment, which I recommend highly.

5) March 12, 2017 – Sebastian Blanco to Diego Chara to Diego Valeri to Diego Chara

Speaking of team goals, DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN THIS IS BEAUTIFUL. How is this not my number one goal? I am now questioning this entire list.

Seriously, though, how great is this? Blanco’s pass covers half the damn field and hits Chara in stride. In stride! And then Chara’s header? Are you kidding me? At a full sprint, he hits a cushioned header that precise? Insane.

To be honest, Valeri’s pass and Chara’s tap-in are the least impressive parts of this goal, which supports my earlier statement that Goal of the Week and Goal of the Year nominees should include all relevant players. If they did, this would have won 2017’s GOTY. As it is, the glorious, perfect, heaven-sent thing didn’t even get nominated for GOTW. And when I’m Emperor, you can be sure this is the first thing I’ll change.

4) June 26, 2013 – Darlington Nagbe

Finally, a solo goal! And a US Open goal, at that. The gif above only shows the final product, but it helps to know the lead-up.

Nagbe was getting hammered in this game. You know the typical Nagbe foul, right? Beats someone on the dribble, gets fouled from behind? Well, double that. Actually, triple it. That’s what Dallas was doing to Nagbe on this day. The ref, of course, was doing nothing about it, (As I recall, he was on the sideline doing bong hits.) and Nagbe – who may be the gentlest soul to ever grace our fair city – was getting angrier and angrier.

I never thought I would see it, but this was the game Nags finally had his Incredible Hulk moment. When Bruce Banner gets angry, he turns green and breaks shit. When Darlington Nagbe gets angry, he soccer murders people. And let’s be clear, this is a soccer murder. Nags killed, like, four or five guys. Then kicked a towel. Then went over and punched the ref in his stupid ref face. (Not really.) It was a great moment. I’ll never forget it.

3) July 2, 2011 – Darlington Nagbe

Two straight for Nags! And an MLS Goal of the Year winner, no less.

Okay, I want to start by talking about bicycle kicks. Everyone’s losing their mind this week because Cristiano Ronaldo had a bicycle kick over in Europe. But here’s the thing: as gorgeous as Ronaldo’s goal was... I’ve seen it before. And so have you. We’ve seen bicycle kicks. They’re awesome, they’re amazing, they make us jump out of our seats and scream. They also happen about once or twice a year. We’ve seen them before, we’ll see them again.

But this goal from Nagbe? This, we haven’t seen. This is a entirely new thing. The ball comes to him, he considers letting it fall to the ground, then decides, no, the world needs a miracle. He juggles it once, juggles it twice, then sends a bending missile into the top corner. Why juggle it twice? Why the fuck not? Because the world needed a miracle, that’s why. Maybe you should quit asking questions and just be grateful.

2) March 3, 2013 – Diego Valeri

If you ask me, this is the most underrated goal in Timbers history. You’re questioning it, right? You’re wondering how it belongs on my list? But for my money, the first goal Valeri ever scored as a Timber is also his greatest. Just look at it.

He’s surrounded by five defenders. He’s moving. From the moment he receives the pass, the ball never touches the ground. Left foot, right foot, chest, right foot, all while moving through five guys. And look at the finish. Outside of the right foot, just inside the post. Are you fucking kidding me? In traffic, moving forward, ball never touches the ground, outside of the right foot, just inside the post. Again, are you fucking kidding me?

This was Valeri’s very first goal, scored in his very first game. His opening statement to MLS was, “Hey, everybody. How’s it going? Just so you know, I’m really good at soccer.”

1) June 1, 2014 – Diego Valeri to Fanendo Adi to Will Johnson

Again, this is why GOTY nominees should include every player. Will Johnson’s final shot? Pretty good. But if you include Diego Valeri and Fanendo Adi? Suddenly it’s the greatest goal in the history of goals. The ball travels fifty yards and never touches the ground. IT TRAVELS FIFTY YARDS AND NEVER TOUCHES THE GROUND.

Valeri’s kick? Right on target. Adi chesting it, then tapping it, then passing it over his shoulder, all with a center back breathing on his neck? Absolutely insane. And Will Johnson seeing what Adi’s up to, racing to receive the ball before it’s even passed, then one-timing it with his left foot? A ridiculous ending to a ridiculous, wonderful, sublime, practically pornographic goal.

This should have won the 2014 Goal of the Year, and didn’t, so it’ll have to make due with being my all-time favorite Timbers goal.

Holy crap, what’s this? An addendum? A post script? An extra bit of awesome?

Yes. This is a separate list. It’s not C.I.’s All Time Favorite Goals. Instead, we’ll call it, The Three Goals That Caused C.I. To Lose His Goddamn Mind.

And we’re off!

0.3) Valeri’s opener in the 2015 MLS Cup.

Nobody saw this coming. The biggest game of our lives and it opens like this? I lost my goddamn mind.

0.2) Melano clinches our trip to the final.

This goal is all about tension and release. The clock was ticking down, ticking down. Dallas was desperately trying to score, we were desperately trying to hold on. The tension could not have been higher, and the release granted by Melano’s goal could not have been sweeter. I lost my goddamn mind. Actually, I may have cried a little. I can admit it.

0.1) Andrew Jean-Baptiste’s 2013 winner vs the Galaxy.

This gif has sound. You want to watch it with the sound on. Trust me on this.

I don’t care what anyone says, I have never heard a Timbers crowd this loud. It was like bombs going off. It was an artillery barrage. I would genuinely like to see seismographs from that night, because Portland was goddamn shaking and I was losing my goddamn mind.

And if that’s not enough for you, Jean-Baptiste’s goal gave us these two moments. It deserves inclusion for these alone.