The 2021 MLS season has come to an end, with NYCFC raising the MLS Cup for the first time in club history.
With a full season in the books, it’s time to look back on the most impressive goals scored in the 2021 campaign across the league.
From clutch game-winners to deep strikes and bicycles, these are the top 10 MLS goals of 2021:
10. Rubio Rubin sets himself up for a stunning score
This goal was named 2021 AT&T Goal of the Year for a reason. Rubin knocked home a beautiful bicycle kick after a pass to himself off of his chest in the 43rd minute against the San Jose Earthquakes. The goal was one of eight Rubin scored in his first MLS season.
9. Damir Kreilach saves Real Salt Lake’s season
The stakes could not have been any higher for Damir Kreilach and Real Salt Lake. In the final minute of Decision Day, RSL needed to break a tie against rival Sporting KC and secure three points to advance to the postseason. Kreilach took a bicycle pass in front of the goal and buried it to get a clutch victory and spark a run to the Western Conference Final. A truly unforgettable moment.
8. Dairon Asprilla bicycle from outside the box
Dairon Asprilla scored an unbelievable bicycle goal for Portland Timbers against the San Jose Earthquakes. After the goalie fumbled the ball, Asprilla recovered and kicked the ball over his head from way beyond the box, scoring a nearly impossible goal. All the defense could do was watch as the ball went past the line, a truly stunning shot.
7. Miller finds Mukhtar vs Philadelphia in the playoffs
In the MLS Cup Playoffs, Nashville SC’s Eric Miller sent in a perfectly placed cross to renowned forward Hany Mukhtar, as the Sudanese star scored on a header. The long-range pass was just within range for Mukhtar, who dove forward as far as he could to score with his head. While NSC lost the game, this was an undeniably memorable moment.
6. Anderson Julio's one-man show wins it vs LA Galaxy
Real Salt Lake were no strangers to game-winning goals in 2021. In September against LA Galaxy, Anderson Julio set himself up in the last minute of extra time, passing the ball high into the night sky and burying a rocket of a shot from just beyond the box. A beautiful goal in a clutch moment.
5. Raul Ruidiaz from 40 yards out at Austin FC
Seattle’s Raul Ruidiaz was familiar with the back of the net once again this season, scoring 17 goals in 2021. His deep strike against Austin FC was his most impressive of the year, smashing a volley from 40 yards out from the goal and putting his team up 1-0 on the road against the MLS newcomers.
4. Glesnes’s long-range missile ties things up in Atlanta
Philadelphia Union’s Jakob Glesnes might as well have taken his shot from all the way out in Sandy Springs or Alpharetta instead of Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The Norwegian star knocked in this goal from way beyond the box with an unbelievable angle, silencing a packed house in Atlanta and tying the game.
3. Josef Martinez no-look at FC Cincinnati
One of MLS’s brightest stars, Martinez bounced back in 2021 after an injury-plagued 2020 campaign. Martinez rebounded the ball and scored on a 360-degree, no-look shot in front of the goal, giving his team the lead on the road and helping to secure a playoff spot for Atlanta United.
2. Jack McGlynn’s clutch playoff penalty for Philadephia Union
While not the most technical goal on this list, Philadelphia Union youngster Jack McGlynn’s postseason penalty kick against Nashville SC came on the biggest of stages. With a chance to advance his team in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, the 18-year-old lined up and scored with the season on the line, sending the Union to the next round after Nashville failed to score for the fourth time in PKs. An incredible moment for such a young player with "ice in his veins."
1. C.J. Sapong roulette goal vs Orlando City
Nashville SC’s C.J. Sapong scored a sliding goal from just inside the box after a 360-degree turn against Orlando City in August. The MLS veteran picked off a pass and took it the length of the pitch to put his team ahead 1-0. Sapong scored 12 goals in the 2021 campaign.