Anatomy of a Goal: Touch and Go and Score

Jul 25, 2019

The Miami FC has reached the NPSL National Semifinals after four playoff victories. The toughest match of the playoffs to this point for Miami came in the Sunshine Conference Final, where Miami United FC took a 2-1 lead into halftime and made life difficult for the Orange and Blue. Two second half goals earned Miami FC a spot in the South Region Playoffs. Here is how Miami turned the match around.

Time of Goal: 57th minute with the score at 1-2
Goalscorer: Ariel Martínez
Assister: Dylan Mares
Other Contributors: Mohamed Thiaw, Miguel González, Lloyd Sam

After a United player can't control his touch, Lloyd Sam quickly moves the ball to Miguel González on the flank. With 14 goals and five assists to his name, González' mere presence on the ball draws three defenders towards him. The forward recognizes United tightening on him and plays a chipped ball to Mohamed Thiaw, whose quick sprint towards the sideline gets him free of his defender. 

Immediarely after González lets loose of the ball to Thiaw on the wing, the former streaks forward into an open pocket of space that United's defenders have left him. Thiaw runs on to the ball and exercises patience, allowing his initial defender to gain ground in front of him and for United's left back to close in on him from behind.

Thiaw's willingness to hold up the play gives him time to decide his next move and for González to get more forward, deeper into United's territory. WIth United's defense unorganized and out of sync, Thiaw plays a ball – just as the trailing defender bears in on him – to the middle for an open González.

Thiaw's pass reaches González near the corner edge of the box. González' first touch takes him into the box and with two defenders closing down on him, he must make a quick decision. The forward smartly recognizes Dylan Mares in the middle, just as the midfielder is entering the fray from behind the play.

Instead of waiting for González' pass to reach him, Mares attacks the ball and leaves the closest defender grasping for air. The defender believed Mares would wait for the ball and attempted to close the passing channel to the middle, where Ariel Martínez was positioned behind the marker.

Mares' first touch is soft and allows him to control the ball perfectly before an incoming defender roams towards him before he can enter the box. With Mares' initial defender now out of the play, a window to pass to Martínez is now fully open and Mares takes advantage. 

Martínez opens his body up ro receive the pass, though his first touch bounces the ball up on him. Martínez doesn't panic and opts to strike the ball on the volley before it can hit the ground. His shot is powerful, accurate and dips at the end, making it impossible for United's goalkeeper to keep out a monumental equalizer that swings the match in Miami's favor.