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Anatomy of a Goal: Artur secures an early lead

This week we look at another Artur goal that gave the Crew an early lead against Philadelphia Union.

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

For match 21 of the 2020 MLS Season, we take a look at Artur’s 37th minute goal that gave the Crew a 1-0 lead as part of their 2-1 win against the Philadelphia Union on Sunday.

Here’s a look at the goal from Columbus’s midfield stalwart.

For the first time since the last time the team played Philadelphia, Columbus started a full-strength lineup. Darlington Nagbe, Lucas Zelarayan, Eloy Room and Gyasi Zardes all returned to the lineup as the team tries to round itself into playoff form.

The first few minutes of Sunday’s match showed a lot of promise for the Black & Gold before the Union settled into the match and began to create some chances. Philadelphia’s attack is at its most effective when the trio of attacking midfielder’s and two strikers can play quick passing combinations up the middle of the field. Fortunately, the Crew’s biggest strength is its central core which helped limit the effectiveness the Union attack.

Artur’s goal begins with a throw-in on the sideline.

Milton Valenzuela runs up the sideline as Pedro Santos quickly throws the ball out ahead of the Argentine left back.

Olivier Mbaizo outpaces and out-muscles Valenzuela, winning the ball deep in his own defensive territory.

Mbaizo hits a quick pass to Jakob Glesnes who has already turned his attention to his next pass up the field.

Glesnes attempts to clear the ball toward Alejandro Bedoya, but Santos steps in front of the American winger.

Santos intercepts the pass to Bedoya and quickly finds Zelarayan.

Zelarayan takes turns, takes a touch toward the middle of the field, and finds himself with five options. He can play a drop to Artur, continue carrying the ball toward the middle of the field, hit a square pass to Derrick Etienne, play a through pass to Gyasi Zardes or make a pass toward Valenzuela.

Zelarayan sees Etienne call for the ball and plays a quick pass toward the winger.

Before we get to what Etienne does with his first touch, let’s take a look at Valenzuela’s positioning. As you can see above, Valenzuela appears to be in an offside position at this moment. This picture is taken at the moment the ball leaves Etienne’s foot, so if the pass is to Valenzuela rather than Zardes, it should be whistled for offside.

Etienne redirects his first touch toward Valenzuela who appears to be in an offside position.

The ball rolls toward Valenzuela who has yet to take a touch from his onside position.

Before Valenzuela can make a touch on the ball, it is intercepted by Bedoya and touched toward Glesnes.

Bedoya takes another touch on the ball and then turns to attempt a clearance up the field.

Valenzuela just gets in front of Bedoya’s clearance, deflecting the ball up and toward the top of the 18-yard box.

So, should this play have been blown dead for offside? Maybe. In the case of Video Assitant Review, plays can be reviewed if there is a clear and obvious error. In this instance, Bedoya intercepts the pass before it has a chance to touch Valenzuela. As always, the offside law is tricky when the offending player does not touch the ball. The whistle can be blown if the offside player interferes with play or gains an advantage from being in the offside position, but that is a judgment call by the referee in this case and most likely not a clear and obvious error.

Valenzuela’s deflection pops up toward Jamiro Monteiro at the top of the penalty box. Artur heads toward Monteiro to try and intercept the ball.

Artur bodies up Monteiro as the ball takes a high bounce over his head.

Artur and Monteiro turn but Artur is in the better position to win the ball.

The Columbus midfielder shields off Monteiro and plays the ball back to Harrison Afful.

Monteiro shifts toward Afful who has four options. He can continue to carry the ball, play a through pass to Etienne, hit a looping pass over the top to Zardes or a simple pass back to Artur.

Afful fakes a pass to Etienne causing Monteiro to throw up a leg in defense. This gives Afful a chance to further survey the field and for Artur to open himself up for a simple touch.

The Ghanian right back his a pass right back to his teammate.

Artur picks up the ball and surveys the field.

Artur takes a touch to set himself up for his next move and can do a variety of diffrent thins from this position. The midfielder can play a diagonal pass to Zelarayan, play a through pass to Zardes, have a shot on goal, play a diagonal pass to Etienne or a pass the ball right back to Afful.

Artur takes aim at the bottom left corner and hits a low, rolling shot toward the goal.

Kai Wagner isn’t able to get in front of the shot, leaving old friend Joe Bendik as Philadlphia’s last line of defense.

Bendik starts to lean as the ball approaches the penalty spot, apparently not expecting Artur to take a shot 26 yards from goal.

Bendik isn’t able to get to the ball as it rolls under his hand . . .

. . . into the back of the net!


  1. Santos might not have made noise in the stats column but has two key interceptions that lead to both of Columbus’ goals. Great defensive work by the winger.
  2. Ultimately, the referee made a judgment call on Valenzuela’s positioning. Had he blown the whistle, Black & Gold supporters would have been hard-pressed to find fault in the decision. Either way, this one is a judgment call and here he decided that Valenzuela did not get involved in the play from an offside position.
  3. Afful does well to get Monteiro to jump and provide Artur with some additional time and space to take his shot.
  4. Artur, with his second goal of the year, hits an absolutely perfect shot on goal. Sure, Andre Blake might have made this save, but any goalkeeper would have to be perfectly positioned to get on the end of this shot.