Welcome to the Anatomy of a Goal, where each week we dissect
one goal (or near goal) one save or double save from Columbus Crew SC‘s previous match.
For the 34th and final match of the 2019 MLS Season, we take a look at Eloy Room’s double save of both Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley in the 36th minute of Sunday’s 1-0 loss at Toronto FC.
Columbus entered the match out of the playoffs for the first time since 2016 but on a solid run of form and looking to build momentum for the 2020 season. Much of the recent run of form has built upon the team’s reliance on defense and counter attacking, which begins with goalkeeper Eloy Room.
Room may only have one shutout for the Black & Gold, but his 1.17 goals against per game (GAA) during his 12 matches for the Crew show just how well he has played (Zack Steffen’s GAA was 1.31 for his final 13 matches in Columbus). Much of Room’s success comes from his quick decision making and expert body positioning, both of which were on display in his double save against the Reds.
Room’s save begins with him picking up a long through pass from Toronto.
The goalkeeper looks to begin the Black & Gold’s offensive possession and has six options to reset play: a long clearance, a quick toss out to Josh Williams, a pass outside the 18-yard box to Wil Trapp, a short pass to Jonathan Mensah at the top of the penalty box, a similar pass out to Artur or a ball into the path of Harrison Afful.
Room rolls the ball to Williams to begin the Crew’s offensive possession out of the back.
Williams settles the ball and immediately has a number of options as well. He can play a pass up to Trapp with Altidore pressuring, carry the ball forward, hit a through pass to Artur, play a square pass to Jonathan or knock a pass back to Room.
Williams plays a short pass up to Trapp who must quickly decide what to do. The central midfielder can turn and carry the ball forward around Altidore, attempt a through pass up the field to Artur, play a big square pass to Afful, drop a pass to Jonathan play a pass back to Room.
Trapp drops the ball back to Room to quickly reset play.
Altidore continues his pressing run forward leaving Room with decision between a long clearance up the field, a diagonal pass to Afful or a short pass to Jonathan.
Room plays Jonathan out wide while Artur and Trapp both cut toward their center back to provide support.
Jonathan Osorio shifts pressure on to Jonathan leaving the Columbus center back with another choice to make. He can try a dangerous pass back to Room, play a field-switching pass to Williams, look for a tight pass to Trapp, attempt a pass up to Artur, play a long clearance or hit a pass up the flank to Afful.
Jonathan looks to play Artur up the field but his pass is deflected by Osorio.
Osorio’s deflection rolls toward the top of the 18-yard box where Altidore and Marky Delgado are waiting.
Delgado prepares to receive the ball and must quickly decide whether to a quick pass back toward Osorio, play a through pass to Altidore or a layoff to Michael Bradley with Trapp providing immediate pressure.
Delgado plays a deft one-touch pass around Trapp and into the path of Altidore.
Altidore composes himself and fires a shot toward Room.
Jonathan just misses deflecting the shot as Room has already begun to dive toward the ball traveling to his right.
Room just gets a hand on the ball, parrying Altidore’s shot to the goalkeeper’s right.
Bradley has continued his run into the penalty box and is ready to pounce on Room’s save. The Black & Gold’s goalkeeper is still on the turf as Bradley is just three yards from the ball. Williams heads toward the goal to try and make a save if Bradley is able to get a shot off.
Bradley lines up his first-touch shot as Room has halfway recovered. Room dives into the path of the ball.
Room is able to extend his right arm just as Bradley takes aim for the far post.
Room’s right arm fully blocks Bradley’s shot.
The saved ball rolls outside the 18-yard box . . .
. . . and briefly out of danger.
- As always, the Crew avoid playing long clearances, preferring to play out of the back.
- A few times here, the safest pass would not necessarily have been the shortest pass. Artur was open with space ahead of him and Afful had some open lanes on a full-field switch. Columbus will have to recognize these opportunities in the 2020 season.
- Room has been everything that was expected. He is able to quickly react to both Altidore and Bradley’s shots, keeping the team alive for a few more minutes.
- Bradley really should have finished this chance. He looks to beat both Room and Williams to the far post when he should have hit the ball as hard as he could straight ahead.