The smoke from the pregame fireworks had barely cleared away before the San Jose Earthquakes had scored the first goal of the match. Coming off a corner kick in the fifth minute, Fatai Alashe's redirected shot on target -- a brilliant flick that resulted in the first-ever goal at Avaya Stadium -- set the stage for a big 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire.
Mirroring the multiple steps that were required to bring Avaya Stadium to fruition, the build up to Alashe's goal required no less than four other teammates getting involved before the rookie midfielder headed the ball into the back of the net. First off was dead-ball specialist Matias Perez Garcia, who delivered a perfect outswinger that lured Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson off his line and into the melee at the top of the six-yard box. The sometimes U.S. national team 'keeper missed the ball completely, setting up the goal scoring sequence.
JJ Koval was first to get his head on the ball, redirecting it off Ty Harden, who at the time was getting a full taste of Johnson's glove, and back across the box. Clarence Goodson was next to contribute, rising high to head the ball back through the mixer and toward goal. Alashe, who stood between the incoming shot and a Fire defender on his back, wisely flicked the ball to his left and away from a possible clearance. Seconds later, the U-23 U.S. international was sprinting to the corner flag to celebrate.
And now, the rookie's goal is among five that has been nominated for MLS Goal of the Week. Alashe will have to overcome some stiff competition if he wants to join teammate Innocent Emeghara as a winner this season. The Swiss international ran away from the pack in last week's vote, easily winning the award for his moment of excellence against the Seattle Sounders.
Vote early and vote often, Earthquakes supporters. It may not be a screamer from 30 yards out, but Alashe's goal was as emblematic of the club as could possibly be.