With the Impact beating the Sounders in just about every major stat category, it was a goal that was eluding the home side at Stade Saputo, until Laurent Ciman headed in a Marco Donadel free kick with only a few minutes remaining.
Laurent Ciman 88’ (1-0)
From leading up to the foul and the final product, it was all Laurent Ciman on this goal. The MLS all-star not only scored the header following a free kick, but also drew the foul himself. The center back’s bouncing header left Seattle goalkeeper Troy Perkins with little time to react.
Why it happened
This goal starts about one minute earlier inside Montreal’s half of the pitch when Ciman intercepted a Sounders forward ball. The Belgian’s heavy first touch required him to put in a second effort to be able to save the ball from going out over the touchline. It was a close call, but Ciman was able to keep the ball from going out of play.
From this point on, Ciman saw himself with metres of space ahead and, rightfully so, decided to dribble towards the Seattle goal. The Impact centre back was first confronted by Seattle midfielder Gonzalo Pineda, but was able to shrug him off. This forced Sounders’ Osvaldo Alonso to come in and make a challenge on Ciman.
The way Ciman drew the foul also shows his experience. Just as Alonso was nearing him, Ciman used a quick skill move, pulling back the ball and therefore putting his body between Alonso and the ball. This meant that in order for Alonso to reach the ball, he had to make contact with Ciman’s body, therefore making referee Chris Penso’s split second decision on the 50/50 challenge that much more difficult.
The foul was given and that left Montreal with a free opportunity to send a ball into the box and create problems for Seattle. They did just that as Donadel’s free kick landed in a perfect area around the penalty spot.
It was Ciman who finished what he started and was able to meet the delivery and head it past former Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins. Ciman’s run in the box was text book, as he started behind his marker Zach Scott and quickly cut to the inside when the ball was kicked. This allowed him to reach the ball before his defender. Seattle gave Ciman space in the box and was punished by it.