Update: November 18, 2011: After seven days of fan voting, your 2011 Revolution goal of the year winner is Rajko Lekic. Congrats to Rajko!
As we begin to look toward 2012 and put the frustration of 2011 in the rearview mirror, we wanted to take one last look at some of the more memorable moments from this past season. The moments which made you jump out of your seat and scream at the top of your lungs, whether you were sitting in the stands at Gillette Stadium or watching from the comfort of your own couch.
We’ve made it easy to relive those moments by compiling a video featuring what we believe to be five of the best goals the Revolution scored this season. Now it’s up to you to decide which of these goals should be crowned the Revolution’s Goal of the Year for 2011.
It’s simple. Just watch the video and vote for your favorite goal in the poll to the right. Voting closes at midnight on Thursday, Nov. 17.
Marko Perovic vs. Sporting Kansas City (April 23)
It took Benny Feilhaber just 12 minutes to make an impact in his Revolution debut, teeing up Marko Perovic for a spectacular goal to open the scoring in what proved to be a thrilling 3-2 win over Sporting Kansas City. Feilhaber collected a half clearance near the top of the box and laid a short pass into the path of Perovic, who unleashed a curling drive from 25 yards out around a defender and inside the left post.
It was the first of Feilhaber’s team-leading seven assists in 2011 and provided an immediate glimpse into what was to come from the U.S. National Team midfielder, while the finish from Perovic reminded fans why they voted him the club’s Most Valuable Player in 2010.
Rajko Lekic vs. Sporting Kansas City (April 23)
If Perovic’s early goal set the stage against Sporting Kansas City, then Rajko Lekic’s dramatic game winner was the perfect final act. It was the simplest of buildups from the Revolution as Shalrie Joseph sprayed the ball wide to Zak Boggs, who whipped a vicious cross into the box from the right wing. Lekic briefly escaped his marker and buried a clinical header from 12 yards out to clinch a come-from-behind, 3-2 victory.
The goal opened Lekic’s account in New England – the Dane went on to finish second on the team with six goals – and provided a storybook finish on a night when the Revs debuted UnitedHealthcare as their first-ever jersey sponsor.
Diego Fagundez vs. Chivas USA (August 6)
For sheer historical relevance, perhaps no goal was more memorable than Diego Fagundez’s first career strike in an early August meeting with Chivas USA.
Fagundez (16 years, 173 days) became the youngest player in Revolution history when he stepped onto the Gillette Stadium field in the 66th minute and wasted little time getting himself involved, drawing a penalty kick just two minutes into his MLS debut. Shalrie Joseph buried the resulting spot kick to cut the deficit to 2-1, but there was more to come from New England’s first-ever Home Grown Player.
After Chivas USA extended its lead to 3-1, Fagundez pulled the Revs back within a goal in the 86th minute as he became the second-youngest goal scorer in MLS history, trailing only then-14-year-old Freddy Adu. With a touch of veteran guile, Fagundez fought off the challenge of Chivas USA defender Zarek Valentin before latching onto Kevin Alston’s long pass and finishing calmly past goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
Fagundez ultimately made six appearances (three starts) in 2011 and notched an impressive two goals and one assist in limited action, giving Revolution fans reason to be optimistic about the future.
Milton Caraglio vs. New York Red Bulls (August 20)
Although Diego Fagundez stole the spotlight when Milton Caraglio debuted as the Revolution’s first-ever Designated Player on Aug. 6 against Chivas USA, Caraglio wrote the headlines two weeks later in a 2-2 draw with the New York Red Bulls.
The 22-year-old Argentine forward scored both goals against the Red Bulls – his first since arriving in New England – but it was Caraglio’s first strike in the 15th minute which made the highlight reels. After fighting through a trio of defenders, Caraglio saw his first effort denied by New York goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul. Undeterred, the former Rosario Central striker corralled his own rebound, used a clever pullback to create space and blistered a shot inside the left post.
Caraglio went on to score a second goal in the 37th minute and eventually finished the season with three goals and two assists in 12 appearances.
Benny Feilhaber at Philadelphia Union (September 7)
The only goal in our top five not to be scored at Gillette Stadium, Benny Feilhaber’s long-range rocket in a 4-4 draw with the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park was likely the purest strike of the Revolution’s season. After receiving a short pass from Rajko Lekic, Feilhaber let loose from 20 yards out and rifled a low drive into the left corner, giving Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath no chance.
Touted more for his playmaking abilities, Feilhaber scored four goals in his first season with the Revs, including an acrobatic side volley against the San Jose Earthquakes (Oct. 8) which also garnered serious consideration for this Goal of the Year poll.