In NWSL action this week, let’s look at two goals from Sofia Huerta and Lynn Williams. Both are derived from similar set ups, but the goalscorers decision making and execution in the box are impressive yet different.
Sofia Huerta bends a pure class finish
What Happened: In the 37th minute, Sofia Huerta doubled the lead for the Chicago Red Stars in what was their best half of soccer so far this season. Her curling finish was one for the highlight reel and helped Chicago lock in a 3-1 victory over the first place North Carolina Courage.
How It Happened: Huerta’s finish against the Courage may very well be one of the top NWSL goals of the year. Let’s break down how it happened. First, Christen Press plays a beautiful, lofted ball to Huerta right at the top of the box. Press identifies that Huerta is in a 1v1 situation against Courage defender Abby Dahlkemper and lofts a ball to her, hoping she’s able to win the advantage to get in on goal. Huerta is able to use her body to settle the lofted ball from Press after a bounce to deny Dahlkemper from getting a touch and making a clear. At this point, Huerta has the ball at her feet, back to goal, right inside the 18. She feels the pressure from Dahlkemper and executes a step over move that becomes a game changer. With the step over, she fakes to her right which forces Dahlkemper to lean that way, and gives Huerta space (and a moment of time) to go left instead. She takes two quick touches to her left, now shifting her body to start to turn to face goal. With the inches of space she now has ahead of Dahlkemper, Huerta launches a shot on goal. But, it’s not just a shot on goal. She hits a bending ball that sneaks right past Courage goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo on the far post. The side netting finish shows just how perfectly Huerta placed this ball. Once she beat Dahlkemper, she chose to go far post and put some curl into the ball, so much so that D’Angelo was unable to even get a hand on it. This was one for the highlight reel folks, that’s for sure.
— NWSL (@NWSL) May 21, 2017
Williams pulls one back for Courage with smart finish
What Happened: In the 55th minute, Courage forward Lynn Williams uses a chest trap and one-time finish to pull one back for North Carolina early in the second half against Chicago on Sunday afternoon. This was Williams’s second goal of the season.
How It Happened: Similar to Press’s ball to Huerta, we saw Jaelene Hinkle pick out Williams on-the-run in the box with a lofted ball. Hinkle’s vision was really impressive here because she was able to see Williams on the far side and send her a ball in the air that beat two of the three Chicago defenders that were holding down the back line at the time. Because of the way Hinkle played the ball to Williams, Williams was able to run onto it with only one defender (Casey Short) near enough to do anything about it. Short, however, was beat with the ball so she was trying to catch up to Williams’s position as she was already on the run when the ball left Hinkle’s foot. Williams, with her true goal scoring instincts, chested the ball down from the air perfectly so that it dropped right ahead of her in stride, not too far where Naeher was able to grab it, but not too close where she was forced to take more than one touch. Williams ran right through the ball after the bounce and used her foot to get there first, beating both Naeher coming out and Short trying to close. The goal, however not enough to win any points for Courage on the day, was indicative of Williams scoring form and her attacking instincts.
— NWSL (@NWSL) May 21, 2017
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