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Anatomy of a Goal - Quick Restart Pays Off

MLS: Houston Dynamo at LA Galaxy Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

A trip to Los Angeles is never easy in Major League Soccer and the Dynamo may have more bad memories of playing in Carson than any team in the league. Friday night was no different with Houston suffering their first defeat of the 2019 season, a 2-1 loss to the Galaxy. All was not lost, however, as Alberth Elis continued his torrid start, scoring the lone Dynamo goal of the match. Quick thinking from Tomas Martinez and Elis’ 1 v 1 ability are the highlight of this week’s Anatomy of a Goal.

After a foul by the Galaxy, Tomas Martinez decides to play the restart quickly, a very smart choice. In this image we notice, while Alberth Elis is still on the ground, multiple LA defenders are not ready. One is looking back at the referee, one has his back to the play, and one is bent over, perhaps scratching an itch.

Martinez plays the ball in to space for Elis to run in to. Not only has the Honduran gotten up off the ground but he’s now gotten a step on his defender.

Elis now has Galaxy defender Jorgen Skjelvik 1 v 1. He has Mauro Manotas and Tommy McNamara making runs, but Elis is one of the best players in MLS beating players off the dribble and Skjelvik is now in no-man’s land.

Elis decides to use his pace as he pushes the ball in to space and attempts to run passed Skjelvik. Manotas and McNamara continue their runs as the Dynamo have this play set up perfectly.

Elis beats Sjkelvik off the dribble and has a couple of options. A pull back to Manotas is on as Mauro has delayed his run perfectly. A ball across the face of goal to McNamara is also an option as Tommy has all kinds of space.

Neither option plays out as Skjelvik takes Elis down and the referee points to the spot for a penalty kick.

Was Elis fouled in the box? In my opinion, no. It looks here like Skjelvik contacted Elis before the two players entered the box. VAR, however, stuck with the call on the field. Perhaps the soccer gods owed the Dynamo one in Carson?

Elis stepped to the spot and beat LA keeper David Bingham to equalize for the Dynamo.

We’ve talked in the past about how lethal the Dynamo are on counter-attacks. This quick restart was essentially a modified counter-attack. Any time Elis is 1 v 1 with a defender you have to like the Dynamo’s chances. The way he’s been playing so far in 2019, you have to LOVE the Dynamo’s chances.