After garnering millions of views on YouTube, it seemed only a monumental play could stop Vancouver Whitecaps FC striker Eric Hassli’s spectacular goal against Seattle Sounders FC from taking home an ESPY for Best Play.
In the end, that’s exactly what happened. Hassli's extraordinary late equalizer against Vancouver's Cascadia rivals on June 11 – the big Frenchman received a pass near the right edge of the box, flicked it up, and guided an 18-yard shot over Kasey Keller and into the net – was topped by USA women’s national team forward Abby Wambach and her dramatic stoppage-time equalizer against Brazil in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup from this past weekend. Wambach's goal was not initially included in the bracket for Best Play, but was added today as an extra last-minute fifth finalist.
The American women would go on to beat 'As Canarinhas' in penalty kicks to kick-start a run to the Women's World Cup final, where they will play Japan for the title this coming Sunday.
"Congratulations to Abby Wambach and her teammates for winning the Best Play award at this year's ESPYS," said Bob Lenarduzzi, president of Vancouver Whitecaps FC. "Eric's goal was nominated amongst some other incredible plays. All finalists should be proud of their accomplishments."
Hassli’s goal was voted by fans through two rounds and into the final five nominations, where it went up against a game-winning touchdown return, an incredible touchdown run, Wayne Rooney’s bicycle kick goal, and Wambach’s tally.
WATCH: Hassli's specatular volley
Whitecaps FC host Real Salt Lake in Major League Soccer this Saturday, July 16, at 1 p.m. PT and English Premier League giants Manchester City FC, as part of the Herbalife World Football Challenge 2011, on Monday, July 18, at 7 p.m. PT. Tickets for both matches are available at all Ticketmaster Ticket Centres, online at ticketmaster.ca, or Charge-by-Phone at 1.855.6.GO-CAPS (1.866.646.2277).