New York City FC's David Villa illuminated Week 7 of MLS 2017 with a cracking goal against Philadelphia Union: a quite improbable lob from more or less the half-way line, leaving the reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year forlornly scrabbling at the air around him as the ball dipped under the bar and into the net.
David Villa just did this nonsense. pic.twitter.com/5vCM20imsx— Rob Usry (@RobUsry) April 15, 2017
That is a great goal. Goal of the Week, surely. In the Goal of the Year conversation, inevitably. And it will take something like the near-certain 2017 USL Goal of the Year to stop Villa's strike from winning the title of MLS' best goal of this season.
David Villa scored a wonderful goal, but the fact there was a better one scored in a lower division of the US Soccer pyramid in the same week should perhaps help to keep hyperbole at bay. Or not.
That David Villa goal gets better with every replay. That legitimately might be the best goal in #MLS history.— Thomas Floyd (@thomasfloyd10) April 15, 2017
It's arguably not the most impressive goal Villa has scored in his career, let alone the best one ever scored in an entire league over more than two decades.
Throwback to the best 1 on 1 finish ever by David villa from r/soccer pic.twitter.com/5oDFzhs0Aa— Vikram (@thereversefIash) March 29, 2017
"Best" is, of course, a futile argument. "Best' is in the eye of the beholder. Villa's goal against Philly was great. That one-touched curler against Getafe is better for me, but all goals count the same - and it's the fact Villa can conjure goals from unlikely situations that makes him a special player.
I defy you to find a better goal in MLS history https://t.co/u7E7rDwKFK— Matthew Klimberg (@KlimbergCalcio) April 15, 2017
Fine. If you are going to insist. Here's a contender.
And here's another.
And those are just highlights from Vancouver Whitecaps - a team that has only been playing in MLS since 2011. Any team in the league with a history that stretches past the last six seasons surely has produced several goals of similar caliber to Villa's monumental lob.
Once A Metro will not seek to prove that particular point, but here are three goals from the history of just one team in the league that are waiting for Villa's latest effort in the MLS Goals Hall of Fame. The New York Red Bulls, aka MetroStars, have been in MLS since it started and, while slow to accumulate trophies, the club has scored its share of goals.
In fact, we don't even have to consider the full history of goals scored by the team in the league since 1996 to find a few that in the same tier as Villa's magic punt against Philly. The history of RBNY games against Columbus Crew will suffice.
Is it the distance that makes Villa's effort so special? Here's one scored from further out. By a goalkeeper.
Not feeling that one? Perhaps it's not the distance on Villa's shot that makes it so impressive, but rather the fact he checked his stride and one-touched it on its way to the net. OK - consider this extraordinary volley from current NYRB II head coach John Wolyniec.
Villa was chasing a bouncing ball. Wolyniec never let Amado Guevara's pass touch the ground.
Still not impressed? Maybe what you need to see is a wonder-goal scored by a similarly famous player? Sure, RBNY has a few of those too.
This exercise is not about diminishing David Villa's goal - it was great. But enough of the "best-ever in MLS" talk. There have been plenty scored in the league over the years that exceed Villa's effort for distance, technique, or audacity. Scored by players both famous and (comparatively) unknown.
And three of them can be summoned simply by visiting the history of New York Red Bulls games against Columbus Crew. Villa didn't score the best goal MLS has ever seen, just one of the best - and the most recent.