Major League Soccer

The best goals of MLS Week 29 - ranked

Chris Smith
Joao Paulo has three goals and eight assists to his name in MLS this season.
Joao Paulo has three goals and eight assists to his name in MLS this season. / Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

MLS Week 29 is in the books and the playoffs are quickly coming up, kicking off on November 19.

We're now at the business end of the regular season, but the pressure doesn't seem to be getting to the players, who continue to produce golazos and wonder strikes at a remarkable rate.

This week was no different, so let's rank five of the best.

5. Jake Mulraney (vs CF Montreal)

It didn't take long for Jake Mulraney and Luiz Araujo to make a difference from the bench on Saturday, combining to put Atlanta United 1-0 up against CF Montreal just three minutes after their introduction.

Receiving the ball deep in his own half, Araujo did brilliantly to beat a couple of Montreal defenders before receiving it back from compatriot Matheus Rossetto. The Brazilian then slipped a perfectly weighted through-ball to Mulraney, whose clever movement had ghosted the Montreal defence.

It's just a shame that within eight minutes, Atlanta United found themselves 2-1 down.

4. Julian Gressel (DC United)

You can criticise Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese all you want for not covering his near post, but this was smart from Julian Gressel. We've become so accustomed to the German whipping deadly crosses in that it's easy to forget he's more than capable of unleashing shots himself.

Most inside Exploria Stadium on Saturday - including Gallese - were expecting Gressel to play in Ola Kamara. Instead, he lashed an effort inside the near post with supreme accuracy.

Like Mulraney's goal for Atlanta, Gressel's strike turned out to be the opener in a 2-1 defeat for DC United - but it was a clever strike, nonetheless.

3. Jack Elliott (vs Columbus Crew)

Jakob Glesnes is the Philadelphia Union centre-back who usually scores bangers, so when Jack Elliott stepped up for a free-kick against Columbus Crew on Sunday, we were all left shrugging our shoulders.

Not for long, though, as the London-born defender fired a precise, low effort just inside the post.

Evan Bush should do better, sure, but the strike was so accurate and audacious, that he probably just didn't see it coming.

2. Johnny Russell (vs Houston Dynamo)

It's been a good week for Johnny Russell, who signed a contract extension with Sporting Kansas City and opened the scoring in a 4-2 win over the Houston Dynamo from the penalty spot on Saturday. His fifth consecutive MLS game on the scoresheet, tying the club record.

It was his second goal that really caught the eye, with the Scotland international moving through the gears and beating a pair of Dynamo defenders before slotting home. Clock how Maynor Figueroa pulled out of his challenge - he was absolutely terrified of bringing Russell down in the box.

1. Joao Paulo (vs Colorado Rapids)

Let's be real; there was only going to be one winner this week.

With the Colorado Rapids already 2-0 down and on the ropes, Seattle Sounders midfielder Joao Paulo decided to turn the screw shortly before half-time by channelling his inner Lionel Messi.

Bringing the ball down in midfield, the Brazilian beat not one, not two, not three, but four Rapids defenders before slipping it beyond Clint Irwin and the scrambling Lalas Abubakar. Absolute poetry.

“Maybe because the other players know me, that I’m the type of player that passes,” Joao Paulo said after the match (via the Seattle Times). “They probably felt that it was unlikely for me to go that way. But I kept going, kept progressing and got near the box and completed the play. If it wasn’t my most beautiful goal, it was certainly one of the most beautiful ones.”

A stunning goal by the best midfielder in MLS this season.