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Anatomy of a Goal - Manotas Makes Columbus Pay

Breaking down Mauro Manotas’ goal against the Crew.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The last time Columbus Crew SC visited BBVA Compass Stadium, in 2017, they went behind early thanks to a giveaway just 2 minutes in. This past weekend’s trip followed just about the same script, with a sloppy giveaway putting Columbus down after just 3 minutes. Mauro Manotas’ goal, with the hard work of Alberth Elis, is in the cross-hairs for this week’s Anatomy of a Goal.

Elis puts immediate pressure on the ball, looking to make something happen.

The ball is played back to Columbus center back Lalas Abubakar and his first touch gets away from him slightly. Elis has continued to pressure the pass all the way back to Abubakar and is ready to pounce on the slightest of mistakes.

Elis wins the ball off Abubakar and the Dynamo are off to the races. The Honduran pushes the ball ahead to create space while Mauro Manotas and Tomas Martinez realize the break is on and begin their runs.

Elis is now in the clear, continuing to push the ball away from Abubakar. Memo Rodriguez joins the runs from Manotas and Martinez as the Dynamo run the channels to get in to goal scoring positions.

As Elis enters the 18, his only real option is Manotas. Martinez and Rodriguez trail the play by some distance and unless Elis were to cut back, they are essentially just occupying defenders at this point. Manotas does so well to recognize his nearest defender is to his left and that his available space is at the near post.

The ball from Elis is played across and Manotas has done well to get to the near post, in front of his defender. Manotas knows he has the defender on his back and his near post run will require a one-touch shot.

Manotas gets to the ball slightly early and it is behind him. Somehow, the Colombian gets a flick on the pass and with Columbus goalkeeper Zack Steffen leaning to his right, a slight touch to the near post will do.

Manotas gets just enough on the ball for it to trickle in past a helpless Steffen and give the Dynamo an early 1-0 lead.

With the improved back line and strong midfield play from Boniek Garcia and Matias Vera, the Dynamo attackers can take chances and pressure opponents, like Elis did on this goal. We have talked at length about how dangerous the Dynamo are in space and by creating turnovers, Houston adds another dynamic to an offense already clicking early on in the 2019 season.