A surprising U.S. player is among the nominees -- joining megastars Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney -- for FIFA's coveted Puskas Award, which is given annually to the most stunning goal. Prolific American scorers (an oxymoron, lately) Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan are not in the mix. Nor is striker Jozy Altidore (although he did have a beauty in the Gold Cup).
It's Heather O'Reilly.
The American winger joins nine other male nominees for the award for her long-range blast against Colombia at the 2011 Women's World Cup. In the tournament's group stage, O'Reilly capitalized on a defensive error and sprinted after a loose ball in Colombia's defensive third. Without taking a dribble, she uncorked a stunner into the top, left corner from 33 yards away. Check out the (shoddy) clip below.
Some quick hits on the other nominees:
Benjamin De Ceulaer - A clever goal and an assist.
Giovanni Dos Santos - Goal of the Gold Cup. It also reminded me of the woeful defensive effort by Jermaine Jones. Sigh.
Julio Gomez - A nod to the teenagers and extra credit for drama. Gomez's bike in the U-17 World Cup semifinals actually came after suffering a bloody head injury earlier in the match.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic - Old fella's reaction is priceless. Goal is neat, too.
Lisandro Lopez - Better than Gomez's bike ... just without the bloody head bandage.
Lionel Messi - C'mon, man. That's mean.
Neymar - Not the best goal -- but definitely my favorite move. Filthy.
Wayne Rooney - OK, we've finally found the best bike.
Dejan Stankovic - Certainly the longest ... love it.