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Anatomy of a Goal: Ilsinho’s Goalazo

This week, we look at Ilsinho’s opening goal.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Philadelphia Union Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Anatomy of a Goal, where each week we dissect one goal from the previous week’s Columbus Crew SC match.

For match 22 on the 2017 MLS Season, we take a look at Ilsinho’s 20th minute goal that put the Philadelphia Union up 1-0 on Crew SC level as part of the 3-0 loss on Wednesday.

Here’s a look at the finish from the Philadelphia winger.

The Union approached Wednesday’s match with an offensive mindset, totally unlike its defense-first approach on Saturday. Columbus weathered the Philadelphia attacking storm during the first portion of the match, but still faced a significant amount of pressure from the Union attack.

Philly’s opener starts with a 50/50 ball won by the Union midfield. Left back Giliano Wijnaldum picked up the won ball as he is closed down by Justin Meram and Hector Jimenez.

Notice Artur, looking downfield. The Black & Gold center-midfielder decides to hold his position and let Meram and Jimenez defend Wijnaldum.

With Meram closing out his angle to Haris Medunjanin, Wijnaldum slots a pass along the sideline to Marcus Epps.

Though he would has room to turn and run, Epps elects to play a one-time pass back to Medunjanin. Throughout this entire sequence, Philadelphia plays very quick passes, slicing through the Crew SC defense.

With the ball at his feet and a soft cushion from Meram, Medunjanin has multiple options. He can either play a quick pass back to Wijnaldum, a pass up the field to CJ Sapong, dribble the ball forward or a field-switching pass to Roland Alberg.

Medunjanin takes quick touch forward and switches the ball to Alberg.

Alberg receives the ball and finds himself with tons of space along the right flank. Running down the flank, right back Raymon Gaddis spreads the field just to the right of Alberg.

Wil Trapp, just to the right of the referee, and Jukka Raitala shift toward Alberg in an attempt to close down the Union attacker.

With Alberg’s angle on goal closed out by Trapp and Raitala, the Philadelphia No. 10 slides the ball over to Gaddis, who continued his overlapping run with Alberg.

As Gaddis approaches the ball, he hits a one-touch cross into the box. It seems that Gaddis is looking for Sapong, but the striker is marked by both Alex Crognale and Jonathan Mensah. No matter, Gaddis’ cross won’t have enough power to make it to his striker.

As Gaddis’ weak cross trickles into the box, Crognale has a simple angle to the ball. If the ball doesn’t take a difficult bounce then Crognale should be able to clear the ball or at least send it out of bounds... neither of those things happen.

In the above video, you can see Crognale whiff on this clearance. It’s not clear if the ball takes a quick bounce before reaching the center back, but Crognale at worst should have side-footed this ball out of bounds.

Here, you can see the ball slicing up and above Crognale, back into the face of the goal.

As the ball reaches it’s apex, Jonathan marks Sapong while Jimenez puts himself between Epps and the goal.

All 4 players misplay the ball, and Epps gets an awkward touch into the path of Jonathan, who does a good job to shift in front of the open attacker.

I have included the above video to show Jonathan’s quick attempted clearance of the ball on this play. The defender quickly got in front of Epps and was able to clear the ball up and out of immediate danger without a full swing of his leg.

The beleaguered center back obviously had his issues later in the first half, but here he did nearly everything he could to bail out his teammates.

As Jonathan’s short clearance drops, Sapong begins to take aim at an overhead kick. There is not much that Jimenez can do aside from putting his face into the path of Sapong’s foot in hopes of drawing a free kick.

Now as Sapong’s prepares for his, excellent assist, notice how totally wide open Ilsinho is. The winger is in the vicinity of multiple Crew SC players, but is totally alone.

With no defenders near him, Ilsinho lines up his half volley. . .

. . . and smashes it home.

I’ve highlighted the four Columbus players who I think should have been responsible for marking Ilsinho in order of responsibility: Trapp, Raitala, Artur, and Lalas Abubakar.

Let’s look at this defensive slip up from another angle.

As Gaddis’ cross heads into the penalty box, you can see that Artur track Ilsinho. Raitala defends Gaddis while Abubakar covers the middle of the box. Trapp is just sort of hanging out in the general vicinity of a Union attacker.

From this angle, I think you can remove Abubakar’s responsibility for covering Ilsinho. he attempts to deny the ball into the box, cut off Ilsinho’s run were it to continue and then is forced to deal with Crognale’s mishit.

Now, with Ilsinho lining up his volley, you can see Artur, Raitala, and Trapp all around Ilsinho with no other Philadelphia attacking threats present. Raitala had to recover from the cross, but neither Artur nor Trapp have any excuse not to have picked up Ilsinho. The responsibility for covering Ilsinho falls directly on Columbus’ two center midfielders. Artur tracks Ilsinho into the box and then decides to hang out in the middle of the box rather than cover the open winger. Trapp sees his man drop out of the play and slowly walks into the box; the captain has to do a better job here.


  1. Philadelphia displayed some excellent, quick passing in this sequence.
  2. Even if the ball took a difficult bounce, Crognale should have been able to at least clear it out of bounds.
  3. Artur and Trapp both mentally switch off on this play, leaving Ilsinho open for an easy volley.