Baby Horse to Boss: The 10 greatest goals we've ever seen from Alex Morgan

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

She's been hitting the net on big stages for nearly a decade. Here's a few of her very best. 

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10. USA vs. Italy, November 20, 2010

This is far from Morgan's most beautiful work, but it stands out as her first important international goal.

After finishing third in CONCACAF qualifying, thanks to a shocking loss to Mexico, the United States had to get through Italy to make it to the 2011 World Cup. Things could have been very different if the then-21-year-old Morgan, still enrolled at Berkeley, hadn't put this one away.

In the dying seconds of the match, Carli Lloyd hit a long ball to Abby Wambach, who headed it between two defenders. From there, it was all about Morgan's superior strength and speed, as she brushed off one defender and got her shot off before the second could arrive.

9. Olympique Lyonnais vs. Rodez AF, March 12, 2017

In late 2016, Morgan announced she'd signed with legendary French side Olympique Lyonnais, hoping that training with the most talented women's squad in the world would help take her own game to another level.

Morgan scored 12 times at Lyon, most of them against minnows like Rodez. In more ways than one, this goal is emphatically not what Morgan went to France to do. It was one of six unanswered goals OL notched in this Coupe de France match, and in substance, it's a goal she's scored countless times in her professional career.

Yet in a sense, that's exactly why it merits inclusion here. It approaches the Platonic ideal of an Alex Morgan goal: Lurk near the backline, run onto a pass from the midfield, sprint around a hapless defender, finish with a nasty left-footed strike from the edge of the penalty area.

Regardless of how often she's done it and what team she's doing it against, it remains a goal that's very good to look at.

8. Orlando Pride vs. Washington Spirit, August 8, 2017

To mortals, few things in soccer are more impressive than an emphatic midair strike. Most of us couldn't nail a ball to the top of the net like this if it was on a tee, let alone on a flat sprint as the ball bounced into the general area in front of us.

That Morgan should have been marked tighter here doesn't make this strike any less spectacular to watch — and this was with her non-dominant right foot, no less.

7. Portland Thorns vs. Seattle Reign, August 17, 2014

Most Portland fans maintain a certain stoic indifference when it comes to Alex Morgan. She didn't fit in there, they say. She never played as well in Portland as she did for the national team (an especially unfair criticism, if the yardstick is her 2012 form).

What's too often forgotten is that Morgan once scored a lot of goals for the Thorns. She got eight in the NWSL's inaugural season, when Portland won the championship.

In the last regular-season match of 2014, the Thorns' playoff hopes on the line, she scored the game winner against archrival Seattle, a well-placed header to the near post off an Allie Long corner kick.

Was this, in part, a result of negligent marking by the Reign? Yes. Should Elli Reed, standing inside the post, have blocked the shot? Probably. But it remains Morgan's most tangible contribution to the club she left for Orlando.

6. Western New York Flash vs. Boston Breakers, July 24, 2011

Morgan made six starts for the short-lived WPS Flash. Of her four goals for the team, this is the most memorable, an eye-popping backwards roundhouse-kick half-volley she caroms in off the crossbar with the outside of her left foot.

This is not only a great goal, but a great tableau: Morgan, Christine Sinclair, Caroline Seger, and Marta all playing for the same team; the Harvard endzone decorating the penalty area; the violently pink Breast Cancer Awareness jerseys the Breakers are wearing. It's all so very WPS.

NEXT: Counting down the top 5