Stumptown Fan-Breakdown: The Own Goal

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Since Stacey understandably didn't want to be a part of this one, I decided to quickly break down the own-goal against DC United in the "Timbers Win!" thread, and thought I might as well throw it in an actual FanPost.

So on this wonderful Corner Kick, you can pretty much watch the zonal defense break down in a matter of 4 seconds. With the first image, taking advantage of the shot from the touchline, you can see where everyone’s marked up (it actually appears here that Darlington Nagbe is Cristian’s "marker", although they are nowhere near each other) , and also the difference in positioning between Futty Danso and Cristian. This is where it all seemingly starts to go wrong; it’s usually hard to pick up your mark when there’s this much of a spacial difference from the beginning:

Next frame, the ball is already in the air. Cristian is mid-run into the box, and Futty still hasn’t picked him up yet because, frankly, he doesn’t have to. The problem is apparent right here of what went wrong—Pa Modou Kah is overloaded with two markers, while Futty doesn’t have anyone who he has to pick up. There’s enough space between him and Cristian at this point that Futty still has to make sure the ball doesn’t drop behind him. Is he caught in two minds? Sure, but that’s by design. Also of note here is Michael Harrington completely facing away from the ball, keeping his eye on what is presumably his marker.

Third frame, ball is closing in on the group. By now, Kah has recognized the path of the ball and dropped away from Bobby Boswell. Futty has also recognized this, and attempts to close in on the marker (Cristian) as Kah tries to cut the ball out with a futile leap.

Kah can’t get enough on his jump to do anything immediately useful, although Futty has positioned himself well enough in the small amount of time he has to react to the situation that he can actually prevent Cristian from making contact without fouling him in the process. Unfortunately, the ball hits the back of Futty’s head, bouncing perfectly into the bottom corner. Ricketts is in no-man’s-land, and the match is (at that point) tied up.

I don’t know who gets direct blame for this goal. According to Ross Smith, Caleb Porter has attempted a hybrid zone/man-mark defense of set-pieces. This means that Cristian SHOULD have been picked up by a Portland player, as well as one of the centerbacks should have been able to stop the ball. However, absolutely no one makes the run with Cristian—I assume that Nagbe was the guy who was supposed to, if this is the case.

Credit to DC for exploiting our weakness, but this really needs to end soon, for the sake of all involved.

Alright guys, I don't believe I have to say this but, just in case, please do not submit anything racist, homophobic, sexist or otherwise not appropriate for even the younger Timbers fans.

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