Tactical look at Lefèvre’s goal v NYCFC

The Impact made its first ever trip to Yankee Stadium to play New York City FC this past weekend. In the loss, the Impact Academy product Wandrille Lefèvre scored his first goal in MLS.

Wandrille Lefèvre 88’ (2-1)


The goal
Referee Jair Marrufo gave the Impact a free kick from around 40 yards out from the NYCFC goal on the left hand side of the pitch. Lefèvre’s center back partner Laurent Ciman stepped up and sent the ball deep towards the second post for Lefèvre. Lefèvre found himself completely unmarked and easily guided his header into the opposite corner of the goal.

Why it happened
Goals coming from free kicks always have two components: the technical aspect and the foul.

The foul was off a throw in. The ball was thrown to Jack McInerney, who took a heavy first touch and was facing back-to-goal. NYCFC’s Jason Hernandez didn’t have to slide in and risk committing the foul as McInerney was not posing an immediate threat given the situation. Committing fouls in these types of situations is unnecessary and gives your opponent a completely avoidable chance to attack the goal. A good team will take advantage of those errors and that’s exactly what the Impact did. 

From the distance of the free kick, Ciman’s options were to either play short and get the game rolling quickly or send a long ball into the box for one of his teammates. Ciman selected the second option and played a perfectly weighted ball to the back post. The delivery was a floated over every one and was played into an ideal location where the goalkeeper had no chance to come out a collect the ball.

There was also some obvious disorganisation from NYCFC and the Impact took full advantage of that. From the time the referee signalled the foul and the actual kick, NYCFC had 20 seconds to get ready. The home side had six players in the box to defend Montreal’s five players. In theory, that should be enough to defend the situation, but very poor man-marking all-around left most Impact players open. Andrew Jacobson was responsible for covering Lefèvre, but he was far from his marker and let him cut inside alone in front of goal.