Courtesy of Moon Golf Club

Sunday’s Best: Almost iconic

For a few years now, Rob Vincent's first half goal against D.C. United has been regarded as the biggest goal in Pittsburgh soccer history. At least in modern history. At least Riverhounds history.

It proved that a lower-division team from Pittsburgh could be bigger than a club that played matches at Bethel Park High School or wherever the turf was open.

Then, Ben Zemanski scored a header to get the Riverhounds on the board in front of 5,189 people — a sellout and a stadium record. That might have been the biggest if the Hounds had held on to win like that. But the score went to 1-1 and there was a chance for another biggest goal ever.

Then the above goal happened.

Mere minutes before it, Thomas Vancaeyezeele nearly scored, but he sent a header over the bar. From literally feet away. They don't even measure soccer fields in feet, but he was too close to call it yards.

I joked on our live file of the game that he Wondo'd the opportunity — a tribute to Chris Wondolowski, the would-be legend who sailed United States' chance at glory over the Belgium goal in the 2014 World Cup.

"Vankizi," as they call him, too could have had the goal to remember.

Luckily, Hugh Roberts was in an awfully similar position, even closer to the goal line than his defensive partner, to head down a rebound from a Joe Holland shot that turned the woodwork into a tuning fork — his own chance at a Riverhounds legacy.

That was it, the big moment. The one scored in extra time of the first playoff game in Highmark Stadium history. And I was right there to capture it. Time to talk about that photo.

You see, there's a problem with the photo. Not the goal, but the photo. It's not that the Riverhounds relinquished their lead a second time and rendered the moment less meaningful. It's that the right bar of the goal decided to cut through the photo and eliminate Roberts' face from view.

The other elements of the photo were great. Jake McGuire, Bethlehem Steel's keeper, looking up at the goal, the defender being held in his position and rather ... defenseless, and the ball about to send the crowd into a larger roar than the shot off the post did.

Just that dang bar. When shooting soccer, you put yourself in positions to have the biggest chance of success in these situations. You can't expect a goal to be scored from the closest possible position ... and for a few inches to ruin your image.

I tried pretty kicking hard to avoid it, too. I shot the initial shot, turned to the cage, saw Roberts, locked onto him and watched his face disappear into the background. Watch this replay of the goal:

Now, watch it again from the beginning. Look just to the right of the cage. That man dressed in grey with his hood up, on his knees, shooting the camera? Yeah, that's me. Watch just after the ball hits the bar and Roberts clinches it home. I nearly fall over trying to lean around the bar to shoot the finish and the celebration.

I was upset in the moment until Bethlehem Steel tied it again four minutes into the second half of extra time. The goal lost its iconic flair, and I didn't have to be upset about missing an iconic photo.

Next year ... next year.

As always, the rest of the game's best photos follow that one above. See you guys and gals in the comments.

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