Highlights Reel: All About the Bike

Wayne Rooney’s fantastic (three-quarter) bicycle kick against Man City on Saturday may end up as goal of the year in the Premier League this season, not only for the quality of the strike, but also for its importance—it proved to be the game-winner in a Manchester derby with title implications.

(The EPL has successfully scrubbed it from most of the interwebs, but you can still see it here.)

As great as it was, though, it’s probably not even in the Top 10 for overhead-kick goals in the past two decades. A quick search by the Backpost I-Team turned up several bikes more impressive than Rooney’s self-described “best goal” of his career—including a couple from the unsung ranks of MLS.

Let’s take a look, in ascending order of brilliance:

5. Taylor Twellman, New England Revolution, 2007

Sandwiched between two defenders, Twellman would have received a high-kick call (and possible booking) from the ref if he hadn’t punched the ball into the back of the net.

4. Ronaldinho, Barcelona, 2008

With a defender to his left and one directly on his back, he loops it over the latter and—golazo!

3. Marcelo Balboa, Colorado Rapids, 2000

MLS goal of the year that season, naturally, and a strong contender for top goal in league history.

2. Trevor Sinclair, Queens Park Rangers, 1997

Pfffft. What?! Top of the box, man tight on his back, this one would top our list if not for …

1. Rivaldo, Barcelona, 2001

Forget bicycle kicks, this might get our vote for greatest goal of any kind, period. You heard the announcer: “…completes the hat-trick, a minute from time” to give Barca a 3-2 win over Valencia, send them to the Champions League, and claim the La Liga scoring title with his 23rd goal of the season.

Add that importance to the off-the-charts skill, and this one is tough to beat.

*Amusing footnote to Rivaldo goal: He’s currently 38, and played the past two seasons in Uzbekistan (really) after signing what he termed an “extremely tempting contract offer.”

Bonus clips!

Marcelo Balboa, United States, 1994 World Cup [“Missed it by that much!” says Tony Meola]:

Dwayne De Rosario, San Jose Earthquakes, 2004

Two words: De. Ro.

That’s our list (nothing against Rooney’s great goal of course). Care to dispute it? Know of any better ones? Let us know in the comments.

Taylor Twellman Calls It A Career

Citing concussions that kept him off the field for much of the past two MLS seasons, New England Revolution striker Taylor Twellman announced his retirement this afternoon.

He leaves the league in sixth place on the alltime scoring list, and first in the strike-rate category, with an exceptional 101 goals in 174 MLS appearances.

Here’s one of his best:

Landon Donovan called Twellman “the best American goal-scorer this league has ever produced” yet the 30-year-old from St. Louis—for a variety of reasons, not all of them his fault—was never able to completely establish himself on the U.S. national team.

He scored six goals in 29 appearances for the U.S., but never played in a World Cup, narrowly losing out to Brian Ching for a spot on the 2006 team—despite scoring a hat trick in an international friendly against Norway earlier that year.

Twellman played in four MLS Cup finals with the Revs (all losses), and helped the team hoist the 2007 U.S. Open Cup trophy.

Regarding today’s decision, and the seven concussions he’s suffered in his career, he said, “When you’re told if you want to live your life and be healthy, then soccer needs to stop, then the decision is made for you.”