Sunday, June 1, 2014

USMNT vs Turkey - Fabian Johnson goal

I haven't watched the game yet, but I could watch this highlight all day.

I don't know if you can have better one-two play than what is displayed here between Michael Bradley and Fabian Johnson.  Bradley's entry pass is amazing and Johnson's first-touch shot on goal is as impressive as you will ever see.

In the video, Taylor Twellman says "I could watch that 1,000 times." At this point, I'm probably closing in on a couple dozen times and I've decided that this is what makes it so special for me:

- Johnson kicks it off the short hop, a finish that was world class for any striker. Yet, Johnson is the right back. He's a defender. His main job is not to score goals, but to prevent them, but you would never know it from the way he one-times that shot into the side netting.
- Johnson did not hesitate on his run forward toward the goal once he passed the ball to Bradley. As soon as he passed the ball to Bradley, he was looking to attack from his defender position.

- Johnson is right footed. That strike is perfect with his left. Amazing placement with his "weak" foot.
- I love that Bradley has the soccer IQ to either expect Johnson to make that run or the ability to react fast enough to chip a ball over the defense once he saw Johnson making that run.

- Bradley's placement of the ball was impeccable. Over a defender, who you can see in the replays was expecting the ball to go by him on his left and not over him, but not so far that the keeper had any play on it. Taylor Twellman seemed more impressed with the finish, but as a midfielder at heart, I think the 20-yard chip shot service from Bradley is what created that goal.

- Now that you know what you are watching, don't watch the ball. As soon as the video starts, find Bradley and watch what he does. As he drifts into position to get the ball from Johnson, his head is on a swivel. Bradley's head turns three or four times looking for who is around him and by the time the ball gets to him, he knows where everybody is located around him. He's already figuring out options on where to go with the ball five seconds before the ball ever found his feet. That, to me, is what makes him one of the most important pieces of the USMNT.

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