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The best NYCFC goals of all time

The votes are in: Here are the greatest goals in New York City FC history as selected by the readers of Hudson River Blue.

He shoots, he scores | Photograph by Katie Cahalin, courtesy

This is what democracy looks like: Last month, we asked you to nominate the best goals in the history of New York City FC, then vote on those nominees in a free and fair election that would make the Carter Center proud. Now that the ballots have been counted and certified, here are the best NYCFC goals of all time as chosen by you. 

Side note: The #1 selection won in a landslide — it wasn’t close. We will reveal that goal tomorrow.

#5 David Villa solo run vs New Jersey Red Bulls, August 6, 2017

Bagging a hat-trick is always cause for celebration, but bagging a hat-trick against your biggest rivals? That’s something that will write you into cub history. After receiving the ball around midfield, David Villa put his head down and never looked back. Hapless US international Aaron Long never stood a chance as Villa cut inside and out before roping the ball in off the near post of Luis Robles. What. A. Goal.

#3 Thiago solo run vs DC United, June 26, 2021

Solo goals are always exciting, but this one stands out — yes, Thiago displays blistering pace, impressive endurance, an abundance of confidence, and a cool head in front of goal, but the circumstances are what make this goal truly ridiculous. First, it’s a 75-yard run starting in your own half. Second, it splits two defenders, crosses up the keeper, and turns a third defender into a spectator. Third, it’s in the 95th minute for the win.

#2 David Villa half-field shot vs Philadelphia Union, April 14, 2017

To say that Villa had no support around him is an understatement: There is not one blue shirt in the frame when the Spaniard gets on the ball. So, with a handful of Philadelphia defenders closing him down just inside the halfway line, Villa decided the easiest solution would be a 50-yard bomb over the head of Andre Blake, one of the best goalkeepers ever to play in MLS. No biggie.

True, he could’ve just tried to keep the ball, kill some clock, and try to protect a lead on the road, but where’s the fun in that? Villa called game instead.

#1 Alexander Callens MLS Cup-clinching penalty vs Portland, December 11, 2021

Is a penalty in a shootout a real goal? Maybe, or maybe not, but let’s not get caught up with technicalities right now: This was the most important shot taken in NYCFC history, and it was entrusted to Alexander Callens.

The adrenaline coursing through the veins of the Peruvian international may have been enough to kill a lesser man, but Callens channeled all of that into the most powerful penalty strike taken in the history of the sport: Straight down the middle, a shot so unstoppable that it’s still soaring through the air to this day. Callens cemented his place in NYCFC mythology right then, and we are all forever grateful for his incredible composure on that rainy December night in Portland. We love everything about this TK-second clip, even that chicken-flap celly of pure emotion that marked the moment NYCFC became champions.

Here’s the fan’s-eye-view: