JMo Is Hungry
You’ve probably seen this highlight already, but Jordan Morris is pretty freakin’ good at soccer, so watch it again for the culture.
Los Angeles mainly relies on the physicality of Jelle Van Damme and Brian Steres to keep opposing forwards in check, which makes sense, seeing as they’re both big, strong dudes who will definitely have better luck in an arm-wrestling match than a footrace. This makes this goal from Morris all the more impressive, as he fights off the challenge from Steres, doesn’t go down under pressure, and manages to flick the ball on into open space so he can open up the afterburners and get in on goal. The finish is very nice with the outside of the right foot, and while his left still needs considerable work, he’s quick enough to make it all work out on this play.
But the real good stuff, the kind of thing that makes this play juicy, is the oh-so-subtle tug to get by Steres. That’s a veteran striker, master of the poacher dark arts type of foul, one that many very, very good strikers have in their bag of tricks (everyone from Luis Suarez to Pescadito Ruiz, take your pick) that drive opposing teams nuts and let them get in on more goals. That Morris can dive into the grey areas of the game that subtly is a nice little sign of maturation. Sometimes it’s better to be hated than loved, right?
A Different Kind of Hat Trick
Khiry Shelton is still not as impressive as his lofty draft position when NYCFC selected him with their first pick of the 2015 SuperDraft (while Christian Roldan somehow drifted down into the late first round). He produced a bit in his rookie season and was a U.S. U-23 tag-along during Olympic Qualifying, frequently making rosters, but not really seeing much in the way of game time.
On the other hand, here’s the top nine people on the MLS assist list right now: Sacha Kljestan, Sebastian Giovinco, Gio dos Santos, Steven Gerrard, Mauro Diaz, Joao Plata, Benny Feilhaber, Andrea Pirlo, and Shelton.
Everyone on that list is more or less a blue chip MLS player at this point except for Shelton, who racked up 3 assists against the Fire to take his total on the season to 9. Having David Villa on your team definitely helps, and none of his passes are groundbreaking things to see, but Shelton’s found a home in Patrick Vieira’s system by using his speed to stretch opposing defenses and then making common-sense plays. By the time of the last assist to David Villa, both Chicago centerbacks are so concerned with Shelton’s speed they just ignore Villa slipping behind their line, where Shelton once again makes the no-brainer pass to NYC’s Golden Boot candidate for him to finish off. It’s easy, it’s smart, and it’s effective.
Take a Bow, Ale
I mean, come on.
Bedoya’s never been one to produce stuff of this quality on a regular basis, but he has been known to produce some magical goals in the past. I don’t know if this overtakes that 30-yard blast against Paris Saint-Germain, but this chip is the definition of touch.