Patrick Ianni is not known as a goal-scorer and that isn’t about to change anytime soon.
However, the Sounders FC defender’s incredible leaping side-volley against Sporting Kansas City on June 20 at CenturyLink Field puts him in the class of some of the top goal-scorers in the league’s history as it was named the AT&T MLS Goal of the Year after surviving a 64-goal online playoff-style voting process.
“It makes me laugh every time I see it because I don’t think of myself as someone that would try something so audacious,” Ianni said when learning that he won Goal of the Year for his only goal of the season and third for the Sounders FC.
The goal came in the 15th minute of the weeknight match against Kansas City, who took an early 1-0 lead in the eighth minute. Mauro Rosales sent a free kick into the box and Ianni got free of his mark, but only had time to elevate and spin his right foot toward the ball. Any more time, he said, might have changed the outcome of the play.
“The great thing about sports is that sometimes you don’t have the time to think about it. If I was thinking of the fact that there was a stadium full of people that respect me because I wear a Sounders jersey and if I was to try something like that and miss it, I probably wouldn’t have tried it. Chances are, 9 out of 10 of those you probably miss and look like a total goat and I don’t know what made me try to do it,” said Ianni, 27. “I guess it just boils down to being competitive and trying to win the game.”
Previous winners of the Goal of the Year award include the likes of Eric Wynalda, Marco Etcheverry, Brian McBride, Dwayne DeRosario, Carlos Ruiz, Cuauthemoc Blanco and Landon Donovan. He is the just the second defender to ever win the honor, joining Marcelo Balboa of the Colorado Rapids, who won in 2000.
A veteran of seven MLS seasons and four with the Sounders FC, Ianni can be a threat on set pieces, scoring all three of his career goals for Seattle off of corner kicks and free kicks. And while he hopes to be able to contribute on the offensive side of the ball when called upon on set pieces, he’s not about to start practicing trick shots or to try things outside of his means to do so.
“I think that’s something that I would like to add to my game, but I don’t think you’ll see many more highlights like that,” he said. “My goal is just to help the team win.”