As a former centre back I perhaps harshly see almost every goal as being preventable. To that end, I’m going to start regularly selecting some goals and try to analyze why they were scored. Generally I’ll highlight defensive mis-cues but there will also be credit to attackers for creating chances that are to do much about. Hopefully it will be of assistance to other coaches and I’m sure it will spark some debate occasionally on whether there were other causes or culprits regarding the goal.
Our first example comes from the Whitecaps v Sounders MLS game tonight at Century Link Field. The Caps came into the game needing a win to have any chance of making the playoffs yet being without two of their strikers. Kenny Miller is out with an injury and Darren Mattocks is on international duty with Jamaica. That meant that 18 year old Kekuta Manneh was given a rare start up front paired with the team’s leading scorer Camilo Sanvezzo.
The Caps got off to a great start with Manneh scoring in the 11th minute. Here’s what happened.
Sounders centre back Jhon Kennedy Hurtado is served up a lofted ball and rises for an uncontested header. He has an open teammate to his right and could even play in his central defender partner to his left with a well placed header a bit in behind so as not to create a 50-50 ball with Camilo (#7). His other option is to connect solidly and play the ball behind the Caps Daigo Kobayashi in central midfield.
Instead, he heads the ball directly to Kobayashi who reacts with great alertness and technique to punch the ball in behind Hurtado and into the path of the speedy Manneh. Hurtado has placed his header in perhaps the most dangerous place on the field.
In the space of around one second, Seattle has gone from what should have been either a routine header to a teammate or at the very least a clearing header into the space behind Kobayashi to defending a 50-50 ball that, due to Manneh’s speed, very quickly turns into a breakaway. He calmly slots past an awkward effort to block the shot from Sounders keeper Michael Gspurning.
Responsibility: Hurtado. He has to be able to deal better with a simple header under very virtually no pressure. Instead he puts the ball right to Kobayashi in a way that allows him to one touch it through to Manneh.