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Don't apologize for Clint Dempsey's Goal of the Week

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It was gorgeous, so there.

Jane Gershovich/JaneG. Photography

Clint Dempsey won Major League Soccer's Goal of the Week on Friday. Well, it's probably more accurate to say the Seattle Sounders won. It was, after all, more of a team goal. We know that. The roughly 39 percent of the people who voted for it, understand that. Those people, the smart ones, they appreciate beautiful soccer. They understand that this was, as Alexi Lalas put it, "a dance."

There are, of course, those that have a different opinion. They see Dempsey's tap-in and want to argue semantics. "The goal is nothing, but this should be 'play of the week'" is a common refrain, as is the general complaint that "of course this won, because Sounders." And while there's some truth in both criticisms (this is the 10th time in the past 35 contests that the Sounders have won), they should absolutely be ignored, at least this week (but probably always).

To simplify the "Goal of the Week" as "strike of the week" is silly. What makes a goal gorgeous is usually the buildup, not just the final touch. There's no shame in celebrating that, in fact just the opposite. If soccer is really about appreciating the finer points of the game, recognizing the buildup to a goal should be simple.

Plus, we're talking about a simple popularity contest, one in which MLS openly welcomes "ballot stuffing." That the Sounders happen to score a lot of really pretty goals AND have a lot of fans is not something you should feel compelled to apologize for. Instead, respond with something like this whenever you get one of these complaints:

pratt