A lot goes down on the pitch in any given match. Each week, we’ll be talking to a player or coach about one specific play from last week’s match and letting them give an inside view of the play as it developed.
This week, we took a bit of a different approach, talking with Assistant Coach Ian Fuller about the Darwin Quintero pass to Abu Danladi that forced the Portland Timbers defenders into a bad spot and resulted in an own goal. Fuller broke down how an own goal might be a mistake, but it’s rarely an accident, and how players like Quintero are all about forcing defenders to make bad decisions.
Ian Fuller: If you look at how we won the ball, we won the ball about 30 yards from our own goal. Our defensive shape was fairly good for us to transition to attack. This is the beauty of Darwin [Quintero]. He floats and holds where other people probably wouldn’t. His first touch is great. The second touch is hit without even really thinking or hesitating at all.
If you look where Abu [Danladi] is, he’s right in between the two centerbacks, right where we want him to be. His run is forward, which is exactly where we want him to be running. And Darwin’s ball is nearly inch-perfect, where the defenders are in a decent position, actually, to begin with. But the goalkeeper couldn’t come, and they had to defend Abu there, [because otherwise] Abu is taking a touch and scoring. The ball is absolutely inch-perfect, with the right trajectory, the right pace.
And it’s nearly impossible to defend for two defenders running towards their own goal. The ball is absolutely undefendable. Clearly without Darwin’s dropping in the hole early on, and [Francisco] Calvo finding him, that doesn’t happen. But Abu’s positioning is great, and him running forward against the defense was actually set up fairly well. We’ve been working on it since day one with [Abu]. You know, I think 12 months ago, he’s coming towards Darwin, instead of running away from Darwin towards goal. Defenders always want center forwards to be in front of them, and I think this is exactly what Abu’s strengths should be, running towards the goal and creating opportunities.