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Anyone else believe the bicycle kick goal is slightly overrated?

Sep 4, 2013, 3:08 PM EDT

A spectacular bicycle kick goal is absolutely a wonder, not just for technical merit, athleticism and novelty, but for the sheer audacity of trying such a thing.

But there are “bikes” that lean closer to the ordinary than the “spectacular.” I sometimes think we get a little carried away with these.

Last week in Major League Soccer, two goals came via the bicycle kick. And they were both nice goals. Look first at Erick Torres’ swell effort for Chivas USA.



Again, nice goal by young Senor Cubo. But I sometimes think that when any professional soccer player turns his back and leaves his feet, we are all go wake the kids and automatically tag the effort under “Potential goal of the year.” Frankly, not all of them are.

Here, Torres’ shot is a good one. But look at the abysmal defending, which reduces his uncontested effort to something of a training ground exercise. And while I applaud the desire to get something on goal, it would take some convincing to persuade me Torres meant to drop this ball, just so, over the goalkeeper’s right shoulder.

It was a nice goal – I’m just not sure it was even the weekend’s best or even second-best strike.

Watch Javier Morales’ overhead kick in Real Salt Lake’s big win over Portland. Like Torres, he’s unmarked. And in this case, it’s really just a falling down shot out of necessity, as the first ball comes in too hot to manage a more polished first touch.

It’s athletic, sure. The awareness and quick wit around this one deserves applause. Besides, a goal is a goal is a goal. But was it really a Goal of the Year candidate? Hmmm. You tell me:



Again, nice goal. But it wasn’t exactly Wayne Rooney rising majestically and striking a sidewinder with wicked authority, as he did in the Premier League goal of the year from a few months back, now was it? Watch how he picks a centering ball cleanly out of the air. Now that is a spectacular bicycle kick goal.

Back to MLS and the top goals last week: For me, Eddie Johnson wonderfully placed header (the game-winner against Columbus) was as good or better in MLS Round 27 as the two overhead shots. But give me Benny Feilhaber’s marvelously crafted, bending ball against Colorado as the weekend’s top goal.

It wasn’t an overhead kick, a bicycle kick, a scissors kick or anything else you might call one of those. But it was a peach of a shot, eh?


  1. dfstell - Sep 4, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    I agree. Bicycles are usually some mix of poor defending and luck. I mean, it’s basically a thing to try for lack of better options and SOMETIMES it works out.

    But, I feel the same way about those blasts that people hit from 40 yards out. I mean, that’s just a guy getting good contact and letting it rip and their aim isn’t any more specific than “left side of the goal”. Sometimes those go over, sometimes they are wide, sometimes they are blocked, sometimes they are caught by the keeper and once in a blue moon, they go in the corner and everyone gushes about “goal of the week”.

    Both of these are the soccer equivalent of those basketball shots where the guy heaves it at the goal from 3/4 court as time expires. It isn’t really a skill…..just fortune.

    • dfstell - Sep 4, 2013 at 5:06 PM

      I should also add that my reaction to a bike has something to do with the player who hits it. I mean, when Rooney hits that bike versus City a few years ago, I didn’t feel like he was taking a “What the hell, might as well…” stab at the ball. I already know that he’s a world class player and that he’s just attempting a very difficult shot….but one that he’ll probably put on frame ~10% of the time. I don’t get that same feeling when a Chivas player does the same thing. I just feel like that is a guy taking a lucky stab at a ball.

      I know that is unfair as hell, but it’s how I feel….

  2. bobinkc - Sep 4, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    I’m not a real big fan of the bicycle kick (other than Rooney’s shot) for several reasons:
    1) it’s dangerous to the kicker
    2) it’s potentially dangerous to anyone within 3 yards of the kicker
    3) landing on the pitch back down is a really good way to screw up your back for the rest of your life
    4) it’s a difficult shot at best that could be played off to another player for a better shot
    5) at worst it’s a very, very lucky shot with a low percentage of completions
    6) if raising your studs too high in a tackle is dangerous, what about having your cleats over the defender’s head.

    In considering Benny’s shot, not only did he make the super long shot, he did it with the OUTSIDE of his foot.
    Lucky? Shoot yes!
    Nice shot? Darned straight!
    Could there have been a better shot? Not with the availability of other players in that end of the pitch.

    Just all the way around, a shot to be considered for goal of the year.

  3. msmith954 - Sep 5, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    Ibrahimovic scored the ultimate bike kick against England a few months ago. Best ever.

    • scrummymustard - Sep 5, 2013 at 10:39 AM

      Get out of here, that was such an overrated goal. It was a meaningless friendly and it wasn’t that amazing to me. Best ever goal? No chance. His goal when playing for Ajax when he cut up like 6 guys was infinitely better.

      Rooney’s was 5x better when you put in the context of what the game meant (game winner in a HUGE derby with those noisy neighbors)
      Rooney’s ridiculous volley vs Newcastle years ago was also a better goal.
      Ronaldo’s free kicks that knuckle and move all over the place are better IMO (the ones vs Portsmouth, Fulham and that friendly world all stars game come to mind)

      Just a few. I could go on for hours.

  4. schmutzdeck - Sep 6, 2013 at 1:22 AM

    On Rooney’s bike he hit the ball with his shin so it was not as technically perfect as one might wish.

    It’s hard to evaluate goals on the player’s intent since is impossible for others to ever determine that . And by intent I mean knowing for certain that the player really meant for the ball to go in exactly the way it did.

    If they are being honest most players will tell you that they just try to keep the shot more or less on target either high or low.

    In the 2002 World Cup Ronaldinho lobbed England’s David Seaman with a ball that seemed to drop from outer space and fell exactly between Seaman and the crossbar.
    Ronaldinho said he meant to do it but I’ll bet you if you repeated the exact same sequence of events leading up to it say ten times the chances of him scoring the same way again would be pretty poor.

    The art is not in the scorer actually scoring these “lucky” goals. It is more in the fact that they are in the position to try at all and even more in that they actually attempt them.

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