Anatomy of a Goal: The Start of Something Historic

Aug 15, 2019

Two Saturday nights ago, The Miami FC rewrote history by becoming the first team in NPSL history to repeat as National Champions. The Orange and Blue took out its former NASL rivals, the New York Cosmos, 3-1 and put a stamp on yet another stellar season. Here is how the Orange and Blue took an early lead that it would never relinquish in Uniondale, New York.

Time of Goal: 18th minute with the score at 0-0
Goalscorer: Dylan Mares
Assister: Miguel González
Other Contributors: Ariel Martínez

Early in the match, Miami was on the front foot for much of the first 15 minutes. The Cosmos start up play out of the back here, while Miami defends in a 4-3-3 shape, with Ariel Martínez positioned as the lone striker. 

The Cosmos' deep-lying midfielder backtracks with the ball and takes a heavy touch that carries him into the middle of the field. Martínez' relentless pressure makes the midfielder panic and he is unable to push the ball forward to one of his teammates, allowing Dylan Mares and Hector Morales to close down on the ball.

With González out on the right wing, Miami is now set up with a four-versus-four attacking scenario, with two midfielders having to cover in the middle of their two center backs. 

Mares runs on to the ball as Morales makes a darting run behind him to alert the right center back. Martínez drops deep after his pressure and forces one of the midfielders to cover him. Mares quickly pushes the ball to the right wing for González, who is in front of the left center back and has New York's right back bearing in from behind the play.

With the Cosmos' defense scrambled, they are chasing the ball instead of defending in a compact shape. Mares sees that and plunges towards the box behind both Cosmos midfielder after passing the ball to González. 

The right back can't close quickly enough on González, so González takes one touch to settle the ball and then returns the ball to Mares at the top of the box. Mares opens up his hips and strikes the ball with his intial touch, perfectly placing it into the bottom left corner of the net with pace to put Miami up 1-0 in the National Championship.