If you came here to read my breakdown of Mauro Manotas’ goal Saturday night, I’m sorry to disappoint you. I couldn’t really fill an article with “dang, that was sick” and I’m quite the sucker for a beautiful team goal. So, if you want my analysis of Mauro’s goal, here goes. Dang, that was sick.
Now, let’s talk about that team goal. Tomas Martinez finished off a 19-pass sequence to give the Dynamo a 2-0 lead in Toronto Saturday night, a goal that proved to be the game winner. What a beauty it was, let’s take a deeper look.
The build up to the goal starts all the way at Tyler Deric, but we pick things up with the ball at the feet of Kiki Struna. The Dynamo have begun to set up their offensive shape and pay close attention to Memo Rodriguez (circled).
As the ball is played wide to Maynor Figueroa, look at the run Rodriguez has made. Figueroa sends the ball down the touchline to Adam Lundkvist and Rodriguez has created a ton of space in the middle of the Toronto defense.
Lundkvist pushes the ball and prepares to pass to Rodriguez. From this image we see a tactical adjustment that Wilmer Cabrera made last game. With the Dynamo in attack, the front 3 is Rodriguez, Mauro Mantoas, and Martinez. Tommy McNamara is playing deeper with the Dynamo in possession, allowing Martinez to play as more of a wing.
Rodriguez has the ball now and quickly swivels to pass to Manotas. Lundkvist continues his run on the left touchline and has acres of space for Manotas to play the ball in to.
Manotas plays the ball wide to Lundkvist and the three Dynamo attackers begin to make their runs. Martinez wants the ball immediately at his feet but Lundkvist drives at the Toronto defense.
Lundkvist picks his head up to cross the ball into the box. Manotas and Martinez are wide open at the top of the box. Inexplicably, the Toronto defenders are yards away from the Houston attackers.
Manotas receives Lundkvist’s pass and here’s where things get odd. Some people may say this was an accident but a player of Manotas’ skill doesn’t make accidents like this. In my opinion Manotas knows Martinez is behind him and turns to flick the ball into Martinez’s path. Does it come off as he planned? Probably not, but that’s beside the point. It works.
The ball finds the feet of Martinez at the penalty spot and the Argentine would make no mistake from 8 yards out.
When the Dynamo are playing free flowing soccer on the break, there aren’t many teams in Major League Soccer that can stop them. The adjustment I mentioned earlier, of moving Martinez to more of a wing position and out of this traditional #10 role paid off huge for the Dynamo. McNamara played well in the deeper position as well, scoring Houston’s opening goal. It will be interesting to see going forward if Cabrera continues to push Martinez higher in the attack. It sure worked on Saturday night in Canada.