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Anatomy of a Goal: Accam is (barely) onside for the game-winning goal

This week we look at David Accam’s 46th minute game-winning goal.

MLS: Montreal Impact at Columbus Crew SC Joe Maiorana-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 23 of the 2019 MLS Season, we take a look at David Accam’s 46th minute goal that was called back for being offside gave the Crew a 2-1 lead, and their first win in months, against the Montreal Impact on Saturday.

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

The Black & Gold entered Saturday’s match looking to build momentum off their 2-2 draw at Chicago, their first points since June 1. They started off well with a Josh Williams goal in the sixth minute, but fell off the pace and gave up the game-tying goal to Montreal just before the half.

Accam’s game-winner begins with an Orji Okwonkwo pass into the space between Max Urruti and Micheal Azira. Artur eyes Okwonkwo’s misplayed ball and races Azira to pick it off.

Artur just beats Azira and turns the ball up the field with Urruti giving chase.

With Urruti bearing down, Artur has four options. He can play a through pass to Luis Argudo, play a quick ball forward to Pedro Santos, attempt to beat Urruti on the dribble or play a square pass to Accam.

Artur decides to keep the ball, and does a quick turn. Urruti’s momentum carries him toward the midfield line and Artur now has a few extra yards of free space.

Okwonkwo steps up to apply pressure once again leaving Artur with four options: attempt to beat Okwonkwo on the dribble, a quick pass back to Wil Trapp, a similar drop pass to Hector Jimenez or a diagonal ball to Accam.

Artur hits a safe pass around Okwonkwo to Jimenez. Jimenez quickly drops the ball all the way back to his goalkeeper, Crew debutante Eloy Room.

Room quickly cycles the ball out to Josh Williams as the offensive possession resets.

Williams switches fields to fellow center back Aboubacar Keita, who has room to carry the ball toward the left flank.

Keita sees Jimenez open just across midfield and slides a pass his way.

Jimenez takes a touch to settle the ball and then hits an inch-perfect diagonal pass to Santos, sending the attacking midfielder on the run at the Impact defense.

Santos carries the ball toward the Montreal goal with Accam just ahead of him. Zardes peels to the middle of the field, forcing his Rudy Camacho to decide between sticking with Zardes, opening up space for Santos or stepping to Santos and letting Zardes run free toward the goal.

Camacho steps toward Santos, letting Zardes run free and leaving Columbus’ attacking midfielder with three options. He can play a quick through pass to Accam, attempt to beat Camacho off the dribble or knock a pass around Camacho to Zardes.

Santos hits a quick pass to Accam as Zardes continues his run.

Accam lets the ball run out ahead of him as he head toward the penalty box. Both Accam and Santos have only Evan Bush between them and the goal.

Bush steps toward Santos, potentially opening Zardes up for a quick pass and shot. Zardes has been forced to slow up to stay onside, but his run has prevented Bush from stepping out further on Santos, limiting the goalkeeper’s reach toward either of his posts.

Accam must now decide whether to take a shot on goal or to play a through pass to Zardes for his own shot.

Accam sees an inch of space and hits a shot toward Bush’s back post.

Bush attempts to dive to his left, but . . .

. . . Accam’s shot is too well placed. It rolls toward the back post . . .

. . . and into the back of the net!

But wait! The assistant referee has indicated that Accam was offside. No goal!

However, before Montreal can play the ball forward the head referee gets the call to check with the Video Assistant Referee and makes his way to the sideline review station.

From the side angle, you can see Diallo just cut back exactly as the ball is played. Diallo’s right foot, and possibly left, is just inches ahead of Accam. From this angle, Accam appears to be onside.

The referee agrees. Goal!


  1. Artur has not had a great season with the Crew but does some excellent work on this play. He easily picks up Okwonkwo’s pass, makes a smart turn to keep possession and resets the play with Jimenez.
  2. Jimenez and Santos both make difficult but incisive plays here. Both look to attack directly, as Columbus did for much of the match, and made difficult passes in tight angles. Jimenez does really well to find Santos in motion on a two-touch pass and Santos does well to hit a perfectly-weighted pass to Accam at the exact second that the winger was onside.
  3. Zardes does not touch the ball on this play but makes an excellent run that occupies Bush’s attention. By making this run, Zardes forces Bush to play honest on Accam’s shot, freeing up just enough space on the back post for the ball to sneak into the goal.
  4. Accam’s onside run is very well timed, if a bit lucky. His shot was made at the perfect moment that Bush left just a sliver of daylight on the back post. Accam rounding into form right now could really help the Black & Gold’s implausible but not impossible playoff push.