Only five teams in Major League Soccer have scored 50 goals thus far in 2018 and one of them is NYCFC. That’s just a quick way of saying that a one goal lead against City Football Group’s MLS squad cannot be considered safe.
So when Philadelphia Union was holding onto that slim advantage at home, they weren’t just sitting back and defending — Jim Curtin wanted to push for a second goal.
The Brazilian has a seemingly infinite array of slick moves and can exit them to the left or right. He’s a nightmare matchup 1v1 early in a match, and a late-night-alone-in-a-tent-in-the-woods level ‘mare when you’re already tired. And when he entered the game in the 68th minute, NYC was tired.
So when Ilsinho collected the ball on the right with a runway in front of him, anticipation flooded Talen Energy Stadium. Moments later, that anticipation became a raucous roar as the Brazilian trotted away with his fifth goal of the season.
Looking back on those short seconds that will haunt Ronald Matarrita, Ebenezer Ofori, and Ben Sweat for a lifetime, it’s incredible to note just how badly all three were shook. Ofori’s attempt at a tackle is barely in the same zip code as the ball, and Matarrita looks more like he’s doing an impression of a Philly pretzel than any actual defending. Sweat is so scared of becoming soccer’s version of posterized that he grants Ilsinho enough time and space to calculate the physics of his shot before he takes it. It’s a sequence bathed in a fear of losing pride, and yet that fear is quickly realized.
And that is why Ilsinho won August’s Goal of the Month.