Anatomy of a Goal: Martínez Nets Winner in 2016 Regular Season Finale

Nov 2, 2018

The 2016 season was filled with ups and downs for Miami FC. The Spring Season was one to forget, but Miami rallied in the Fall Season and was one of the better teams in the NASL over the latter months of the season. On the final matchday of the regular season, Miami put its stamp on the season with a late winner and set itself up for a historic 2017 season.

Time of Goal: 65th minute with the score at 0-0
Goalscorer: Ariel Martínez
Assister: Blake Smith
Other Contributors: Jonathan Borrajo, Kwadwo Poku

The play starts out in Miami's own half, where right back Jonathan Borrajo brings the ball up and plays a one-two with forward Jaime Chávez. Borrajo chests down the return pass and flicks the ball over his marker to midfielder Kwadwo Poku near the touch-line. 

Poku controls the ball with his thigh and brings it down to his feet, setting himself up to squarely face his defender. Poku stutters and exits left, leaving space between him and his marker, who has backed off. Poku then ventures forward and is met by a defensive midfielder.

Poku recognizes the defender is closing in quickly, so he lays off a pass to Ariel Martínez in the middle of the field. Martínez has been awarded a ton of free space because of Poku's run and Chávez settling into position between Edmonton's two center backs. Martínez latches on to the pass and sets it up for his left foot, taking a deft touch to the left as two defenders converge on him. 

Martínez feels the oncoming pressure and gets rid of the ball within a fraction of a second before the defenders can close in. He finds an open Blake Smith on the left wing and immediately begins a targeted run towards the top of the box after releasing the pass. 

After bringing the ball under control, Smith quickly spots Martínez awaiting the return and caresses a pass to the midfielder at the inner edge of the box. With the defender bearing down on him, Martínez stays calm and cleverly dummies a touch, allowing the ball to bounce cleanly between him and the defender. With the defender left grasping at air, Martínez sets himself up and laces a powerful right-footed shot into the bottom right corner of the goal.