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Marcelo Balboa: Great Goals Retold

It was, most agree, the greatest goal ever in Major League Soccer: a scorching bicycle kick scored by a defender in April 2000.

The scorer: USA national team stalwart Marcelo Balboa, en route to a 3-2 win for his hometown Colorado Rapids over Columbus Crew.

Served by Anders Limpar from the right, Balboa caught the ball on the volley and blasted it past keeper Mark Dougherty. It was an incredible piece of skill, and an attempt Balboa was known for: at USA 94, he came agonisingly close with a similar effort.

But the true story of that goal has never been shared – until now. “I don’t remember it at all,” says Balboa.

To this day, he has no memory of the game because he was deeply concussed after a first-half collision with Brian McBride. Over to you, Marcelo...

“Apparently, the trainer asked me four questions – all of which I got wrong. I had no idea what day it was, or what the score was. He told me I’d have to come off – and I threatened to kill him. I guess my words really got to him, because I stayed on.

“Normally when I scored I’d run toward the bench, but I apparently just ran down the field. I had no idea where I was. The first time I saw the goal was when we were back at the hotel, and I saw the highlights on TV. I said to my room-mate [Ross Paule] that it was a good goal. He stared at me and said, ‘That was you!’ It was the worst concussion I’ve ever had.

“It’s so disappointing not to remember that goal. It was a something I’d dreamed of doing since I was a little kid, because Pele had done it. I used to practise that on my parents’ bed!”

This interview originally featured in the May 2011 edition of FourFourTwo magazine. Subscribe!