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It’s time to admit that MLS’ Goal of the Week award is broken

Fans are bad sometimes.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Montreal Impact Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

This is going to be completely hypocritical from an Atlanta United blog who lobbied fans to vote for Josef Martinez in Week 3, but it’s time to admit that MLS’ Goal of the Week award is broken. Well, at least the way in which it is voted on is broken.

What’s the point of handing out a bonafide award that’s 100% decided on by the fans? Week 7’s results are the most damning that the process needs to be overhauled if the award is to mean anything. Montreal Impact’s Anthony Jackson-Hamel won it this week, beating out David Villa’s 50-yard goal against the Philadelphia Union.

You’ve likely seen Villa’s goal if you own a Twitter account. If not, here it is:

As soon as it went in, experts were dubbing it the “Goal of the Year” already in mid-April. Except, it didn’t even win Goal of the Week thanks to Montreal Impact fans going super hard in the voting and getting Jackson-Hamel’s lucky flick voted in over it. Before you comment something snarky, yes this goal did come against Atlanta United and cause them a loss in stoppage time. But, putting that aside for a minute, the goal itself was a fluke. A product of luck and misdirection resulting in the ball bouncing into an empty net.

Did he mean to flick the ball? Sure. Did he mean for it to go right in the corner while the goalkeeper was expecting it to go the opposite direction? Absolutely not. 99% of the time that ball is either easily saved by a more patient goalkeeper or it flies out for a goal kick. A mix of Alec Kann being overzealous to stop a shot late in the game and Jackson-Hamel’s flick somehow being on target leads to it beating a 50-yard goal that was undoubtedly intentional.

I’m all for fans having some say in awards. And if Goal of the Week is just for fun, then sure keep the same format. But, if you’re going to treat it as an actual award, maybe adjust the weight of which fans influence the outcome. Let players and/or managers vote too. Something to avoid this tragic miscarriage of justice.

tl;dr Alan Kelly screwed us