Finlay Celebrating with Angelo

In the Moment: Ethan Finlay

A lot goes down on the pitch in any given match. For In the Moment, we talk to a player about a specific play from last week’s match, letting them give an inside view of the play as it developed.

It was only fitting that Minnesota-born and Wisconsin-raised Ethan Finlay would have a major hand in one of the Loons’ first goals at Allianz Field. Across a wild eight minutes in the first half, four goals would be scored, and Finlay earned an assist on the final one, a pinpoint ball across the box to an onrushing Angelo Rodriguez. It began with the hard-working Romain Metanire holding up possession along the right touchline and Finlay timing his run down the wing perfectly once he saw the opportunity.

Ethan Finlay: To me, a trigger is a back pass or a square ball. And the way Jan [Gregus] is positioned here, [he] really has two decisions. He can play the ball forward with his right foot, bending around the corner, or he's going to be playing back to Ike. If Jan's positioning is maybe two or three yards back towards Ozzie, he's probably going to be taking that ball and we're going back the other way. He could turn in this situation, but because he's not really opened up, he's kind of already told me that this is where he's starting to look. When I see that — obviously Romain's getting doubled here — this is my opportunity to make this run. The timing ends up being absolutely perfect. Sometimes this ball comes a little too slow or too fast. The ball's played perfectly by Romain so that Jan can play a good ball in behind.

In all honesty, I'm thinking I can go to goal here and I think my first touch somewhat lets me down.

You could argue I give myself a little bit of space, but had I taken my touch straight in [toward the goal] there, I might be in a position where [Maxime] Chanot can maybe almost make a play on it because he starts to cut that angle. But because my touch is a little bit away from him, it buys me probably a half second and actually a better angle to play this ball.

In these positions, I'm pass-first. I'm thinking the goalie is currently marking me, right? So Angelo is the open guy in this situation. There's obviously an opportunity to shoot, possibly and maybe he makes a save and Angelo's there to tap it in. But when I took that touch the way that I did, I knew Chanot wasn't going to be able to make it over to me.

You could argue that in the situation right here, [Chanot] should say, 'I'm going to go [mark Rodriguez] and allow my goalkeeper to make a save.

If that's the case then obviously I'm going to be picking my head up, seeing that he's going here and I'm going to take the shot on goal, probably low near post or high near post, just based on his positioning. But the moment [Chanot] sells out and start to help all the way across, Angelo's the guy.

The timing of everything is honestly just perfect, from Romain's ball back to Jan's ball through. I think it's maybe one of our better team goals this season.