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Anatomy of a Goal: Hurtado grabs a road draw with his first Crew goal

This week we look at Erik Hurtado’s draw-securing goal on the road in New England.

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 10 of the 2022 MLS season, we look at Erik Hurtado’s 89th minute goal that secured a 2-2 draw for the Crew against the New England Revolution on Saturday.

Here is a look at the goal, Hurtado’s first for Columbus.

The Black & Gold ended their goalless streak in a big way against DC United the week prior with a 3-0 win. That match marked the team’s second consecutive match in the defensively focused 4-3-3 formation and started a new unbeaten streak following a 0-0 draw at Sporting Kansas City. Head coach Caleb Porter rolled out that 4-3-3 again in New England with Miguel Berry once again getting the start up top and Lucas Zelarayan on the bench, working his way up to 90 minutes of match fitness following a nagging knee injury.

Berry put the Crew ahead in the first half with a very similar goal to Hurtado’s. Columbus’ striker started wide and made a last-second run in front of center back Andrew Farrell before hammering in a goal. The Revolution responded in the second half with two goals and multiple strikes off the post, taking a lead and putting Columbus on the ropes.

Hurtado’s goal starts with the Revolution in possession. Left back Pedro Santos pressures midfielder Carles Gil into a careless pass that central midfielder Artur intercepts.

Artur steps to Gil’s pass forcing the New England player into a defensive run to recover the ball. Derrick Etienne Jr., starting at right back following a lingering injury to Steven Moreira and a pregame injury to Marlon Hairston, steps across the midfield line to run at old teammate Emmanuel Boateng.

Artur easily beats Gil off the dribble and finds himself with plenty of options. He can play a quick touch pass to midfielder Darlington Nagbe, play a pass up the sideline to Santos, hit a direct ball forward to Hurtado, try a diagonal pass to Zelarayan, carry the ball forward or switch the field to Etienne.

Artur takes a few steps forward as Zelarayan drops toward the midfielder. The Brazilian nudges the ball toward the No. 10, who takes possession. Etienne stays wide and makes an unmarked run forward.

Zelarayan lets the ball run in front of him, turns and quickly plays a first-touch pass forward to Etienne.

Etienne picks up the ball near the sideline in front of Boateng. The Crew offense has followed with winger James Igbekeme making a run toward the middle of the goal box, Artur making a late run toward the top of the box, winger Luis Diaz drifting toward the middle of the box and Hurtado running diagonally toward the goal. Etienne must decide whether to attempt to beat Boateng off the dribble or to play a cross into the 18-yard box.

The right back eyes Hurtado’s run in front of New England center back Omar Gonzalez and hits a quick cross toward the six-yard box.

Hurtado runs from the image’s left to right, cutting in front of Gonzalez to take an open look at the ball. As mentioned earlier, this is nearly an identical run to Berry’s during his first half goal. Runs like this, between the center backs, are common but clearly appeared to be a point of emphasis for Columbus in Saturday’s match.

Hurtado easily beats Gonzalez to the ball and hits a first touch shot toward goalkeeper Matt Turner’s goal.

Turner has very little time to react and can only throw out his arm as the ball travels by him...

...into the back of the net!

Findings:

  1. Porter has frequently mentioned that the Crew needed to get the first goal to set the tone in matches. The Black & Golld did grab that first goal in New England but still found themselves down 2-1 in the closing stages of the match. Road points are difficult to come by in MLS and even more difficult to grab when trailing.
  2. Etienne stepped into the match as a last-second right back and put in a man of the match level performance. The young winger has recovered well from a tough 2021 season and has made the case that he should be in the starting lineup moving forward.
  3. Hurtado does exactly what he was supposed to as a late substitute. He uses his fresh legs to make a quick run in front of a defender and easily finishes the goal.