Welcome to the Anatomy of a Goal, where each week we dissect one goal (or near goal) from a previous Columbus Crew match.
For match 12 of the 2021 MLS season, the first Hell is Real match at FC Cincinnati’s TQL Stadium, we take a look at Miguel Berry’s first goal for the Crew that gave Columbus a come-from-behind draw against the team’s southern Ohio rivals.
The first Hell is Real Derby of 2021 could not have started any better for the home side, still looking for their first win at TQL Stadium. Within the first 30 seconds of the match, FC Cincinnati was able to grab a 1-0 lead. Luciano Acosta doubled the lead in the 24th minute, and a Harrison Afful red card from a second yellow card in the 42nd minute saw the Crew looking up at the scoreboard down a man and two goals with just over one half to play.
Lucas Zelarayan worked some more of his magic to cut the lead to one goal just before halftime. FCC held the possession edge in the second half but the Black & Gold still managed to create some attacking chances despite playing down a man.
Berry’s game-tying goal begins from a bit of Cincinnati possession. Liga MX and MLS veteran Edgar Castillo possesses the ball under slight pressure from Berry and can either play a long pass up the field toward Brenner, hit a quick touch pass to Yuya Kubo, make a square pass to Caleb Stanko play a drop-back pass to Gustavo Vallecilla.
Castillo opts for the more difficult pass forward to Brenner, who is marked by Saad Abdul-Salaam.
Castillo’s pass is off target, allowing Abdul-Salaam to easily intercept the ball.
Abdul-Salaam carries the ball forward and finds himself with five options. He can play a pass up the sideline to Berry, attempt a long pass forward to Crew debutant Erik Hurtado, carry the ball forward, play a short pass into the path of Isaiah Parente or try a square pass to Darlington Nagbe.
Abdul-Salaam continues the quick counter attack, opting for the attacking pass to Hurtado.
Hurtado takes an awkward touch but is able to collect the under Stanko’s defensive pressure. Notice Zelarayan, the most dangerous player on the field, standing totally unmarked in the middle of the field.
Hurtado’s collection takes him around Stanko and he uses his next touch to hit a long drop pass back to Aboubacar Keita, with Zelarayan still unmarked nearby.
Keita approaches the ball under pressure from Brandon Vazquez. The Columbus Homegrown player must use his first touch to either dribble around Vazquez’s pressure or make one of three passing choices: a touch forward to Nagbe, a long pass forward to an un-marked Zelarayan or a square pass to Pedro Santos.
Keita hits a well-placed, but a bit heavy, first-touch pass right to Zelarayan.
Zelarayan takes a moment to collect the ball before starting his turn upfield. The Black & Gold attacker is pressured by Franko Kovacevic (21) on one side while Stanko will attempt to prevent him from turning toward the FCC goal.
Zelarayan beats Kovacevic’s light pressure and then is able to jump over Stanko’s outstretched leg.
The Crew’s No. 10 turns toward the goal and surveys his options. He can either play a diagonal pass forward to Abdul-Salaam, try a long, through ball to Berry, attempt a pass between Kubo and Stanko to Nagbe or attempt to carry the ball forward.
Zelarayan spots Berry and hits a perfectly weighted through ball into the path of the young striker.
Rather than collect the ball and slow down his momentum, Berry lets the ball run out in front of him and maintains his pace. This savvy move allows Berry to easily beat Vallecilla and turn toward the goal.
The ball, perfectly paced by Zelarayan, rolls in front of Berry who finds himself chasing the ball with no outfield defenders between him and the goal.
Berry approaches the ball and must decide what to do with his first touch as Kenneth Vermeer attempts to close down the play. The Columbus striker can use his first touch to take a touch around Vermeer, take a shot over Vermeer toward the goal or play a quick pass into the path of Hurtado.
Vermeer slides into his path and Berry decides to shoot a chipped shot over the FC Cincinnati goalkeeper.
Vermeer has gotten low as Berry chips a low-driven shot over him.
Vermeer is unable to get a touch on the ball.
Berry’s shot beats Vermeer and takes a bounce in the middle of the six-yard box, sliding...
...into the back of the net!
- This goal is a tale of two excellent first-touch plays (from Keita and Berry) and a perfectly weighted pass by Zelarayan.
- Abdul-Salaam does well to carry the ball forward after intercepting Castillo’s pass.
- When the ball makes its way to Keita, his pass to Zelarayan, while heavy, allows the Crew to shift immediately shift into the attack.
- Zelearayan got the scoring started with a long, rocket shot and is almost equally responsible for this goal. He trusts Berry to make the most of the pass and plays a perfectly weighted through ball into the penalty box.
- Berry looks like a veteran as he scores his first goal for Columbus. Rather than collect the ball, he lets it roll forward to beat the center back. Then, the young striker hits a difficult shot over the sliding goalkeeper to secure a valuable road point.