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Anatomy of a Goal: Sosa slams home the Crew SC winner

This week we look at Eduardo Sosa’s first goal for the Black & Gold.

Welcome to the Anatomy of a Goal, where each week we dissect one goal (or near goal) from Columbus Crew SC‘s previous match.

For match 19 of the 2018 MLS Season, we take a look at the 23rd minute goal from young Crew SC midfielder Eduardo Sosa that put Columbus up 2-0 as part of their 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

Here’s a look at the finish from the Black & Gold’s attacker.

Crew SC entered this match with multiple big absences. Sosa filled in for an injured Federico Higuain, Jon Kempin replaced an also injured Zack Steffen, and Hector Jimenez slotted into Milton Valenzuela’s spot with the young Argentine forced to sit out due to yellow card accumulation. After an early Gyasi Zardes penalty kick goal, the Black & Gold looked to add on their lead in the first half.

Crew SC’s second goal begins off of a Brooks Lennon throw in. The Salt Lake right back tosses the ball nearly to the midfield line.

Columbus captain Wil Trapp and Jimenez battled for the header with RSL striker Damir Kreilach. The ball lands at Trapp’s feet and the captain plays a quick pass to Luis Argudo.

Argudo took one touch on the ball and played a quick pass to Artur. Pedro Santos, near midfield, pleads for the ball while Harrison Afful, just to the right of the image, sprints into the wide slot on the right side of the field.

When Artur receives Argudo’s pass he can either play a field-switching pass to Afful, carry the ball forward, play a quick pass to Santos, deliver a a through ball to Sosa, play a touch- pass right back to Argudo or play a squared ball to Jimenez.

Note that Santos has turned his head toward Afful and knows that the right back is making a run up the right flank.

Artur sees Afful’s run and chips a pass toward the right back.

Afful approaches Artur’s lofted pass and flicks the ball forward into the path of Santos. The Black & Gold winger recognizes Afful’s positioning above, and immediately sets off on his run as soon as Artur chips the ball toward the fullback. Santos’ diagonal run takes him right into the path of Afful’s flicked header.

Santos runs, undefended, into the path of Afful’s flicked header. Behind him, Sosa runs toward the goal in the middle of the field.

The three highlighted RSL defenders are all important to the development of this play. Sebastian Saucedo, trailing behind Santos, cuts inside and attempts to get in front of Sosa. Justen Glad slides out to mark Santos, leaving empty space behind him for Sosa to run into. Marcelo Silva attempts to fill in the empty space left by Glad.

Glad slides over to cut off Santos’ path forward leaving the winger to either try and beat Glad off the dribble, play a through pass to Zardes or hit a touch pass into the path of Sosa.

Santos decides to play a perfectly weighted pass into the path of Sosa.

This pass initially looked simple, but the close-up shots reveal that it was anything but. Santos’ momentum carried him forward toward the goal. As Glad closes him down, Santos is forced to quickly decide whether to float a cross to the back post or to slide the ball to Sosa.

As Santos prepares to pass the ball, seen above, notice the positioning of his feet and hips. The Crew SC winger’s initial move looks like an attempted shot. His hips and plant foot both suggest that he’s taking a shot.

Instead, Santos is able to get his right foot around the ball, hitting a softer pass to his side.

When Santos’s pass reaches Sosa, the midfielder has three options. He can carry the ball forward, hit a one-touch shot or play a pass into the path of Zardes.

Silva cuts of Sosa’s angle to Zardes so now he must decide whether to take a few touches forward or to shoot.

Sosa decides to shoot the ball, and the video above shows this excellent finish in motion. This angle provides an excellent look at just how much pace Sosa was able to put on the ball.

With space on his right and left, Sosa decides to hit a first-touch shot at the goal. Notice the positioning of Sosa’s head. He keeps it down, preventing the ball from flying up and over the goal.

The Columbus attacking midfielder fires a hard shot across the face of Nick Rimando . . .

. . . and into the back of the net!

Findings:

  1. Artur’s quick switch of the field allowed the Black & Gold to catch Salt Lake shifted heavily toward the opposite side. RSL’s attempt to cover the empty space created more room for Sosa to run into.
  2. Afful’s flick was perfectly placed into the path of Santos.
  3. As seen above, Santos’ pass to Sosa was not simple. Santos had to get around the ball in order to put it back and into Sosa’s path.
  4. Sosa’s shot was perfect weighted and placed. He kept his head down and avoided sending the ball over the goal.