Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller called it as good a strike as you’re ever going to see.
However, the man who struck it said he didn’t see it.
Those who did might remember it for a long time, as Vancouver forward Eric Hassli capped a wild final sequence Saturday with a goal-of-the-year candidate that gave the Whitecaps a 2-2 draw with rival Seattle before a sellout crowd at Qwest Field.
“I closed my eyes and shot,” Hassli said. “I had a lot of luck there. It works, so that is why I do it.”
That turn-and-shoot goal that went from the top right corner of the penalty area to the top left corner of the goal, dominated the postgame discussion tonight from both sides.
Here is some more of what was said:
Sounders coach SIGI SCHMIDOn final goal) "The quality of goal was magnificent but it should have never got to that position on the field. We had the ball. The ball came off our guys. There was no assist on the goal, I would assume unless they're giving our guy an assist. When you have the ball there late in the game and you're winning 2-1 you have to get the ball out."
On emotions in the final minutes) "It's a rollercoaster. You go up and down a little bit."
On game representing the state of the team) "I thought the soccer we played was good. I thought we were attacking and going forward. In the second half we switched Mauro [Rosales] out to the right side because he's had a lot of success there. I thought the soccer we played at times was very good. We were patient. We knocked the ball around in the back when we had to really open the game up. The service could have been better. We could have been sharper in the box. Jaqua could have had a bigger impact for us coming in. Outside of that, I thought it was OK."
On penalty kick call) "I can't talk to the referee when he runs off the field and is afraid to talk to me. He waited and made detours to shake their players' hands, but twice both at halftime and at the end of the game he knew I wanted to talk to him and he just walked away, so obviously he must have felt bad."
On Fredy Montero) "We thought he deserved another opportunity. Thought he played with a lot of energy, thought he played well. Thought he had some very good looks, especially in the first half that he needed to finish. He's been a little bit unfortunate, but hopefully they'll go in soon."
On Mauro Rosales) "I thought he was good. Thought he was sharp. He was a handful for them. I thought he was very effective on the right. He continues to get in, that's one of the reasons we came with [Nate] Jaqua, thinking that we're getting so many opportunities to cross the ball and eventually Jaqua got a flick that helped us on our first goal. We thought we could have taken advantage of that a bit more."
On Osvaldo Alonso's goal) "He gets a lot of shots from that place and it was good to see the ball go in. It was a lucky situation because we were two-v-one at the other end of the field, so if the shot gets blocked we're scrambling a little bit but it didn't get blocked and it went in. Hopefully that will give him confidence. Alonso works extremely hard and does great things all the time. Sometimes simplicity helps you get out of a certain situation but certainly the goal was well taken."
On Montero and Fucito as starting forwards) "It's a matter of guys being active and guys putting the defense on their heels. [Mike] Fucito was in there in the first half and got pushed from behind as he was about to shoot but it was not a PK, so he had a good look. Fredy Montero had some good looks. Rosales was getting there as well. [Lamar] Neagle played well in the first half. I thought the front four in that regard was pretty good."
Sounders goalkeeper KASEY KELLEROn Eric Hassli's equalizing goal in the 85th minute) "That's as nice a goal as you're ever going to see. He's obviously been one of the top guys in the league this season. He's a great player for them and he scored a great goal for them at a great time in a big game."
On the penalty kick that was awarded to Vancouver) "There was a lot of bodies in my way. It looked like a penalty. But in the same right, if that's a penalty then Mike [Fucito's] is a penalty as well at the other end. So sometimes you get them, sometimes you don't. But in the end we came back, we fought, we didn't quit, we made some subs. Nate [Jaqua] came on and made a difference. Mauro [Rosales] got his first goal. Great. Ozzie [Alonso] makes up for the penalty with a good goal and then unfortunately their goal happens and then everyone goes away a little disappointed. Let's not forget that 80 minutes into the game we're down one-nil and then somehow we come back and have a chance to win it. And that's just frustrating that you do battle like hell to get in the lead and we concede so quickly after. But I guess if you have to concede a goal, you concede something like that."
On conceding the goal so soon after scoring one of their own) "I think statistically throughout world football, it happens. You're celebrating a goal you just scored and mentally, I mean you talk all you want about, 'You have to do this, you have to do that,' but there's so much jubilation in a goal that sometimes it's just hard to get back refocused. It happens more often than we'd all like to admit, especially when it happens to you. At the same time, it took something special, something extremely special, but unfortunately something that was very preventable. And hopefully we learn it."
Sounders midfielder MAURO ROSALESOn how it changed his game when Nate Jaqua subbed in and added some height to the field) "We can play more from the outside and we can give crosses to him because he's tall. With Mike [Fucito] and Fredy [Montero], they are not so tall and the crosses have to be a little more down than for Nate Jaqua. So it was a little bit better to play more outside in the game and we get the spacing [better]."
On what the emotions were like at the end of the game to get the lead then concede the goal) "Yeah, it was a little bit of frustration at the end because we worked very hard. We were waiting for the goals and when the goals came we did the difficult part to change a game and then unlucky what a play with Jhon [Kennedy Hurtado] and Ozzie [Alonso] and we give the chance for them to score. But what a goal, unbelievable."
On scoring his first MLS goal) "I am very happy because it was the first one and in Qwest Field. I was not waiting for the goal because I am too far when I am making the cross and making the free kicks, I'm too far from the post. But then I get a chance and it was very good for the team to make a step to win the game. It was unlucky in the last five minutes."
Sounders defender OSVALDO ALONSOOn the goal he scored) "It was a beautiful goal. It gave us the lead for a little while but unfortunately, I'm unhappy that it did not end up being the victory goal."
On taking shots from that spot often) "I always try from outside and in the first half I also had an opportunity like that and it always motivates me to keep shooting from outside so I'll keep doing it."
Sounders defender JAMES RILEYOn the match) "We did well to battle. We said at halftime that if we got one we were going to get the second and we did. We battled and we fought. We didn't quit. It comes off as our mistake. Two goals and we're sitting in the locker room like it's a loss instead of celebrating a derby victory."
On the emotions of being behind, then tied, then up, then tied again on an unlikely goal) "Yeah, definitely. It's been an unbelievable time. I mean I've lost the MLS Cup on something exactly like that. I mean, where we scored a goal and went up one-zero and then they equalize right away right off the kickoff. So it's definitely a dagger ... Obviously we have to take it with a grain of salt and get back to work but definitely it stings for sure to be up two-one and work that hard and press for the equalizer and then to go ahead. We'll learn from it."
Vancouver coach TOM SOEHNOverall thoughts on the match) "Anytime you come to Seattle there is difficult circumstance to deal with. This is a fantastic crowd and I thought we did a good job staying compact and organized. We got a goal in the first half and came in pretty pleased. I figured Sigi would have them all ready to come out and play the second half. To their credit they did a good job of keeping the ball in the second half. Going down [2-1] I credit our guys for coming back and getting the second one. We had players step up and Eric [Hassli] had a great goal."
On his team's second goal) "Some people might not be sure if he [Hassli] meant to shoot it from there, but we see him everyday and he pulls off shots like that all the time. He has one thing on his mind and that is scoring goals."
On the momentum swings) "I was here with D.C. United and it was 3-3. This place tends to have a lot of emotional swings. Our guys put a lot into it and we are a bit disappointed to not come away with more but we can take a lot of positives from this one."
On starting off the MLS rivalry between Vancouver and Seattle) "There is a lot of respect between the two teams. You can tell there is a build up of energy between the clubs and I think this will be a positive for the Northwest."
Whitecaps forward ERIC HASSLIOn the ranking of the goal in his career) "I think it is the best goal."
On assessing his play so far during the season) "We practice hard and that is were the results are coming from. We are starting to build more chemistry, playing together more and starting to connect. Hopefully we will start seeing the results."
On the support from the traveling fans) "Incredible to see them with the flags and the singing along with everything else. It really helps us."
On dedicating his first goal to the fans) "Yes. They came all this way; even though we didn't get the best result we really appreciate it."