Slow motion replay was created for moments such as the bicycle-kick goal scored by Minnesota United FC forward Christian Ramirez.
Playing a ball off his chest and into the air, Ramirez fell backward while swinging his right leg skyward for the most stunning goal scored in Minnesota’s 5-1 victory on Saturday against Indy Eleven at the National Sports Center.
Minnesota ran its unbeaten streak in North American Soccer League games to 10 and moved into first place in the fall season standings.
Loons teammate Jamie Watson said he reacted to Ramirez’s goal with language not suitable for network television.
“It was a lot of, ‘Are you serious?’ with a word or two in there,” Watson said. “In 10 years of playing professional soccer I’ve never been in a game where a teammate or an opponent scored a bicycle kick. If that doesn’t win goal of the year it’s going to take something unbelievable to beat that.”
An announced crowd of 5,420 had much to celebrate. Minnesota grabbed a 1-0 lead on Aaron Pitchkolan’s goal in the 25th minute. Watson fired a shot off an Indy Eleven defender and players on both sides stopped moving in anticipation of a hand-ball call.
Pitchkolan, however, stayed in pursuit and booted the loose ball into the net. United FC’s ensuing two goals were owed to the dynamic abilities of Ramirez, the team’s leader with 12 goals.
The bicycle kick goal, he said, “was my first one. Backyards don’t count. I knew I had good contact but I didn’t know where it went until I looked up and everybody was yelling.”
On the team’s third goal of the first half, Ramirez headed a ball past two defenders to a waiting Daniel Mendes. With a flick of his right foot, Mendes sent the ball over goalkeeper Kristian Nicht and into the net in stoppage time.
Minnesota padded its lead in the second half on Watson’s goal in the 53rd minute. Ramirez struck again, corralling a deflected pass from teammate Miguel Ibarra and scoring in the 58th minute.
“Christian had a couple goals that were world class,” United FC coach Manny Lagos said. “That gets a little contagious in a fun way.”
Minnesota recorded its highest-scoring output since a 6-3 victory at Tampa last season. United (5-0-1) moved one point ahead of San Antonio, which plays host to winless Ottawa FC on Sunday.
A goal from Jose Kleberson in the 71st minute was the first in three matches for Indy Eleven (2-3-1).