CPL Debate: Best goal of the 2020 season

There’s something about a sweetly-struck volley, an audacious Panenka, a piledriver from distance, or a cheeky chip shot over the goalkeeper that makes spectators go crazy with joy and shake their heads in complete disbelief.

Goals are the lifeblood of the game, but they are also rare, so when a goal is scored that makes you go “OH MY GOD!” they tend to remain in the memory for a long time.

The Canadian Premier League had plenty of those “OMG” moments during The Island Games.

Whether it was from Golden Boot winner Akeem Garica of HFX Wanderers FC or a set-piece beauty from former\ Manny Aparico, CPL fans saw plenty of sensational strikes that bulged the back of the net in 2020.’s Marty Thompson, Charlie O’Connor-Clarke and John Molinaro have looked back on the CPL’s second year, and offered their picks for the top goal of the 2020 season.

RELATED READING: 2020: CPL year in review

Malcolm Shaw, Atlético Ottawa – vs. Cavalry FC, August 28

Overlooked in the the El Jimador Shot of the Year competition, Malcolm Shaw’s mesmerizing volley against Cavalry FC stands as one of the most aesthetically-pleasing goals in Canadian Premier League history.

Moments after taking the lead, Ottawa cleared the ball out from the penalty area before it land at Shaw’s feet. The only Ottawa player in the attacking half, Shaw fought to earn a bit of space, turned, and took a whack – the gusting wind did the rest.

The towering striker watched as his shot sailed into the upper reaches of the right corner, almost knuckling past 2019 Golden Glove winner Marco Carducci.

What’s more, this Shaw screamer solidified Atlético Ottawa’s first win in club history, and a major upset, on an emotional day for both clubs.

— By Marty Thompson

Mo Farsi, Cavalry FC — vs. Pacific FC, September 9

A lot of exceptional goals were scored this year, but this one was just nuts. Farsi was one of the brightest young talents in the league this year, but his group stage goal against Pacific might have been his best moment.

For such a young player, Farsi showed impressive vision to pounce immediately, noticing that Jordan Haynes was a little sleepy in receiving a pass from his goalkeeper. Farsi’s pace to jump on his own pass was fantastic, and the strike off the far post is just absurd.

This goal was (rightly, in my opinion) voted the CPL’s El Jimador Shot of the Year for 2020 by the fans. It was Farsi’s crowning moment that probably solidified his eventual U-21 Canadian Player of the Year honour, as well.

The sky’s the limit for Farsi, whose pace and vision were on full display in this moment of magic.

— By Charlie O’Connor-Clarke

Manny Aparicio, York9 FC — vs. HFX Wanderers FC, August 29

Teams facing York9 FC at The Island Games learned just how dangerous it was to concede just outside its 18-year box. If they did make that mistake, they faced the wrath of Manny Aparicio.

The former Y9 captain found the back of the net on two occasions in PEI, with both goals coming via set pieces, and he came close to scoring off free kicks on several other occasions. Among his victims in PEI were HFX Wanderers FC, who foolishly committed a foul just outside their box midway through the opening half of this first-round match.

Ryan Telfer was standing over the ball, but it was Aparicio who took a short run up and then delivered a gorgeous, right-footed free kick from 22 yards out that sailed over HFX’s defensive wall and into the top corner at the near post. Christian Oxner tried to swat it away, but his efforts were in complete vain as he had no chance of stopping Aparicio’s rocket of a shot.

“What a ridiculous strike!” enthused OneSoccer play-by-play man Adam Jenkins.

Indeed, it was ridiculous.

— By John Molinaro