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The year is coming to a close, which means it’s time to look back and reminisce. There were some incredible goals throughout 2021 in the RLCS and beyond, some of them even contenders of best Rocket League goals of all time, let alone just the year. That made it all the more difficult to pick a select few to make the cut.
We only picked professional goals and did not include any of the freestyle tournaments, as they play with permanent boost and no real opponent. All the following goals were scored during a tournament or qualification for a tournament with money on the line. Also, because picking just 10 was too hard, we went overboard and picked 15.
15. Alpha54’s cross-field ceiling pinch
There is little more satisfying than a good pinch and, spoiler alert, it won’t be the only one in this list. Still, ceiling pinches are fairly rare and ones as clean as Yanis “Alpha54” Champenois’s are extra hard to come by. They always catch opponents and the audience by surprise and this goal by Alpha54 of Team Vitality is a feast for the eyes.
14. ApparentlyJack’s quintuple touch
Double touches have become the norm these days, but triple touches still turn some eyes. So, when Jack “ApparentlyJack” Benton of Dignitas pulled off a quintuple touch, the casters went ballistic. These kinds of touches are generally only seen in freestyle montages, so to pull one off in a professional match is impressive to say the least.
13. Rise fakes two players and then bumps the third for a Tadpole goal vs Team Queso
Finlay “rise.” Ferguson of Illusion took residence in Team Queso’s heads and did not come out. After taking part in a nice passing play with teammate Riccardo “Rizex45” Mazzotta, he proceeded to fake two Team Queso players, followed by a bump on the remaining one to provide an open net for Euan “Tadpole” Ingram. Funnily enough, rise. now plays for Team Queso, albeit on a completely different roster.
12. Joreuz’ outrageous kick-off recovery goal
Joris “Joreuz” Robben of Dignitas is considered one of the best players in the world at the moment. With unholy mechanics, the Dutch star proved his mettle within the first year of competing at the highest level. With this goal, Joreuz showed how fast the wonderkid’s brain works when his car does not do what he initially intended. His recovery from the kick-off to beat his opponents in a tournament comprised of the best players in the world is nothing short of unique.
11. Comm’s full-field air dribble into flip reset musty vs. G2 Esports
Version1 signed Robert “Comm” Kyser in November of 2020 after impressive performances in the 1v1 scene. Just two months later, he pulls off this ridiculous solo goal in RLCS Season X against one of the top teams, G2 Esports. The goal speaks for itself.
10. M0nkey M00n pops up the ball from standstill to flip reset double touch
Evan “M0nkey M00n” Rogez is one of the star players of Team BDS. As mentioned before, double touches have become commonplace, but ones preceded by self-set flip resets from a standstill are a lot more mechanically impressive and unique.
9. GarrettG midair passing play to jstn’s ceiling reset connection vs. G2 Esports
Passing plays are nice. Mid-air passing plays are nicer. Mid-air passing plays to a ceiling reset pre-flip goal are absolutely incredible. This goal by NRG players Garrett “GarrettG” Gordon and Justin “jstn” Morales was scored in a smaller tournament, but could not be omitted. As GarrettG passes the ball back to jstn, jstn gets his flip back by landing on the ceiling, which he then uses to flip in advance in order to make it to the ball in time.
8. GarrettG’s 146 kph/91 mph redirect vs. Team BDS and Ahmad’s buzzer-beater redirect vs. G2 Esports
It was difficult to pick which redirect would make the cut. NRG’s GarrettG’s amazing goal versus Team BDS or Sandrock Gaming’s Ahmad “Ahmad” Abdullah’s zero-second winner to solidify the sweep over G2 Esports. The latter’s storyline is definitely better as Sandrock Gaming took down one of North America’s titans at the first RLCS LAN for the Middle East. But GarrettG’s deftest of touches to make it an absolutely unsavable shot in a major grand final is slightly more unique of a shot. So, they’ll have to share the spot.
7. Alpha54’s cross-field flight to ceiling reset to tight angle pre-flip
Alpha54 has a habit of pulling off amazing goals in the RLCS, but his cross-field flight, landing on the ceiling to reset his flip in order to pre-flip the ball at a tight angle, is one to write home about. To do it in game five of a best-of-five just sends a message.
6. Tox survives a 3v1 to set up eekso for a sublime Kuxir Pinch
When a counter happens and it’s two attackers versus one defender, it’s often too much to ask of the defender. Not so for Damian “Tox” Schäfer. He faced three attackers on his own but managed to ward off the attack and set up teammate Dylan “eekso” Pickering for an absolutely perfect wall pinch, also known as a Kuxir Pinch, as it was popularized by Italian player Francesco “Kuxir97” Cinquemani.
5. Spacestation Gaming passing play vs. NRG
We said it before, passing plays are nice. Three-player passing plays are even nicer. But several passes between all players on the team showcase an immense level of awareness and playfulness. No crazy mechanics, just pure control against the best team in NA, NRG.
4. Ashllxyy’s triple flip reset
Flip resets are more common these days, true, but double or even triple resets remain a rarity. However, this triple reset comes with an extra layer, as Ashllxyy is not your run-of-the-mill 1v1 god. This Englishman is a 1v1 god who was born with one arm. So, not only does he pull off the most mechanical plays and straight-up clips on his opponents, he does so playing with one hand and his chin. Yes, you read that right.
3. AztraL’s flip reset angle vs. Alpha
Maëllo “AztraL” Ernst is one of the few players in the RLCS who seems to be able to score any goals he wants, no matter the laws of physics. This goal is similar to Alpha54’s tight angle from before, but AztraL does it with a flip reset and much less time to react. This is pure instinct and it led to one of the greatest goals of the year, if not of all time. The reset, the timing, the angle, the placement. Simply extraordinary.
2. Burn and Shaolon’s 169 kph/105 mph midair team pinch
Mid-air team pinches are rare because of the timing and the angle required. Everything needs to be perfect, but the Japanese Shoki “Burn” Minamigawa and Takuma “shaolon” Kawajiri decided to pull off one of the greatest team pinches of all time with a banger that seemed to float horizontally without dropping. We may see team pinches occasionally and even saw one from Version1 recently as well, but the speed of this goal is what sets it apart. This speed can only be achieved with pinches, so to do it mid-air, perfectly on-target is almost unheard of. That makes this save by ApparentlyJack all the more impressive, by the way.
1. MaRc_By_8.’s ceiling corner pinch
We’re not done with the pinches yet. Marc “MaRc_By_8.” Domingo’s ceiling corner pinch may look incredible from the first impression, but on a second watch, it becomes even better. As the ball pinches off M0nkey M00n and Solary’s Thibault “Chausette45” Grzesiak, watch MaRc_By_8. in the background. He pre-jumps very early and perfectly anticipates where to meet the ball to accurately pinch it back into the net at 125 kph / 78 mph.
The timing, immediate reaction, instinctive calculation, and slight air roll to position his car before the hit, as well as the absolute audacity to even consider a move like this, is what makes this one of the greatest RLCS goals of all time and easily the best of 2021.
There were a few RLCS goals that made the top 20 shortlist, but were beaten out for one reason or another. So, here’s a few honorable mentions. There were many more incredible goals and it feels criminal not to include them, but the line has to be drawn somewhere. Now, bring on 2022.
ApparentlyJack’s sublime pass to Joreuz after flipping downward in RLCS X EU Spring Regional 3
Alpha54’s tight ceiling reset
Team Queso outplay Team Vitality with a Spanish Kick-off (missing the ball intentionally to gain possession) in a series-winning overtime after having been scored on with a buzzer-beater. This is a super high-risk play in such a high-pressure situation. Context is everything.
Michael Kloos is a Dutch esports journalist and enthusiast with a particular like of Rocket League and VALORANT. He is also an avid fantasy/sci-fi reader and writer. He spends most of his time trying not to be in the real world.