Top 10: Best US goals in the World Cup

American strikes from Geatjens in 1950 to McBride in 2002

1. Joe Gaetjens vs. England, 1950

Joe Gaetjens famously headed home the winner to shock the world's best, 1-0. Though there's no photographic or video evidence it ever happened, the legend is burned deep into the fiber of American—and English—soccer lore. 

2. Brian McBride vs. Mexico, 2002

The United States took an early lead via McBride to set the tone against their fiercest rivals. The 15-yard strike was ultimately the winning goal as the Yanks booked their ticket to the quarterfinals. 

3. John O’Brien vs. Portugal, 2002

Another early goal that shocked not only Portugal, but the entire world. In the 4th minute of the tournament opener against the group favorites, O'Brien turned in a rebound off a corner en route to a 3-2 victory. 

4. Earnie Stewart vs. Columbia, 1994

Better known as the goal that didn't lead to the murder of Colombia defender Pablo Escobar. Stewart tallied the insurance goal in the Yanks' only win of group play—and that was enough to earn a spot in the knockout round. 

5. Eric Wynalda vs. Switzerland, 1994

Wynalda's sweetly hit free kick was the Yanks' first goal of the tournament, and it leveled the game after the Swiss had threatened to spoil the host side's World Cup opener in front of 73,425 fans in Michigan. 

6. Clint Mathis vs. South Korea, 2002

Sporting a flashy Mohawk, Mathis fired home a go-ahead goal against the host nation. Perhaps more famous, though, was the accompanying call from commentator Jack Edwards, who rightly declared, "That's why he's here!" 

7. Clint Dempsey vs. England, 2010

Ugly always counts, especially when it's against group favorites—and world foes—England. Sure, Dempsey may have got help from the England 'keeper, but those turns on Steven Gerrard to create the space were sublime. 

8. Bert Patenaude vs. Paraguay, 1930

Though often disputed, Pateneaude is credited with scoring the first-ever hat-trick in a World Cup. The Americans actually made the semifinals of the inaugural tournament, only to be dropped 6-1 by Argentina. 

9. Clint Dempsey vs. Ghana, 2006

Dempsey ran onto DaMarcus Beasley's weighted pass to slot home what was the Yanks' only real goal in Germany. Better still, it gave fans brief hope that the Yanks could salvage something from the tournament.

10. Landon Donovan vs. Mexico, 2002

It wasn't really needed, but it was certainly appreciated. Donovan nodded home the insurance goal to rub salt firmly in Mexico's wounds—and knock them well out of the World Cup.

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