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Anatomy of a Goal: Kaye curls in the opener

This week we look at Mark-Anthony Kaye’s game-winning goal against Crew SC.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Columbus Crew SC Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

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 13 of the 2019 MLS Season, we take a look at Mark-Anthony Kaye’s 37th minute first-touch curler that opened the scoring for Los Angeles Football Club against the Crew on Saturday.

Here’s a look at the finish from the Los Angeles midfielder.

The Black & Gold entered their second home match of the week against another LA team. With fatigue setting in during the last game of their second three games in eight days stint of this young season, Caleb Porter trotted out a new 4-3-3 formation slotting David Guzman in for Federico Higuain.

Kaye’s goal begins with LA playing the ball out of the back. From a goal kick, center back Eddie Segura slides a ball over to Jordan Harvey on the left side of the LAFC defensive setup.

Harvey carries the ball a few steps forward before cycling it back to Segura.

From a much deeper position, Segura switches fields to Walker Zimmerman.

Zimmerman carries the ball up the field while Gyasi Zardes cuts toward the center back to cut off his progress toward the Columbus goal.

Zardes finally cuts of Zimmerman near midfield but not before the LAFC center back is able to play a long pass up to his right back, Steven Beitashour. Beitashour heads toward the goal but is forced toward the sideline.

Hector Jimenez recovers onto Beitashour and forces the right back to give up the ball. Beitashour makes a quick turn and is able thread a pass between Robinho and Wil Trapp to Carlos Vela.

Vela receives Beitashour’s pass and cuts toward the middle of the field. Trapp turns his defensive focus on the LA’s No. 10. Kaye, just to Vela’s left, will cut across the face of Vela and into the space between Artur, who is right behind the referee, and Trapp. Gaston Sauro is highlighted in the spot where Kaye will end up.

Latif Blessing steps forward into unmarked space on the left side of the penalty box.

Without hesitation, Vela plays a ball across the face of Kaye toward Blessing. Kaye will continue his run forward.

At this point, Kaye and blessing are both unmarked. Artur, behind the referee, should slot over toward Blessing and Trapp should go with Kaye. Trapp is focused on preventing Vela from getting into scoring position, but Vela could be marked by either Robinho or Sauro, if he is able to get into the goal box.

Trapp sees that Vela is hanging back but not before Kaye already has a head start. Sauro is focused on Blessing and helping Jonathan Mensah mark Christian Ramirez.

Kaye continues his cut and Trapp, without urgency, jogs behind him. Sauro has moved toward Ramirez, leaving space for Kaye to run in behind him.

Blessing takes a few steps toward the 18 yard-box and is hounded by Guzman and Artur.

Blessing sees Kaye’s unmarked run and quickly flicks a pass toward the midfielder as Trapp lags behind.

Blessing’s pass bounces toward Kaye who will immediately have three options: a quick pass to Ramirez, to carry the ball toward the goal or a quick shot.

Kaye prepares to receive the ball and Ramirez gets caught in an offside position, limiting the midfielder’s options to carrying the ball forward or quickly shooting.

Kaye decides to hit a curling, first-touch shot toward the far post.

Joe Bendik reads the shot and dives toward Kaye’s curler.

But Bendik isn’t able to get to the ball in time, and the shot rolls . . .

. . . into the back of the net.

Findings:

  1. This goal is an example of LAFC using field switches to catch the Black & Gold out of position, and the Crew briefly shutting off mentally.
  2. Kaye makes a simple, effective run into the penalty box and is never marked by a Columbus defender.
  3. LA’s passing on this play was excellent from Zimmerman’s pass to Kaye’s finish, LAFC was able to play the ball in tight areas with accuracy. They were a class above the Black & Gold on this play and for much of the night.
  4. Kaye did well to hit a bouncing ball curling toward the goal on his first touch. It’s no surprise that Bob Bradley is such a fan of his.