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Anatomy of a goal: Diego Lainez vs. Tijuana

Here’s how Club América’s teamwork lead up to Diego Lainez’ golazo against Tijuana.

America v Tijuana - Torneo Apertura 2018 Liga MX Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images

Diego Lainez’ goal against Tijuana was a fantastic strike and indicative of the potential the 18 year old possesses. A goal like this shows why so many are so high on him becoming one of the next European exports from Mexico. It also shows how adept América is at identifying an opportunity when one arises.

In the first frames of this, goalkeeper Agustín Marchesín is being pressured by Tijuana’s Miller Bolanos. Down two goals already, Bolaños is doing what an attacking midfielder is supposed to by trying to force Marche into making a bad pass. The right footed goalkeeper naturally looks to his right to his options: center back Bruno Valdez and right back Paul Aguilar.

In the first second of the clip just before Marche gets rid of the ball, you’ll see Fabian Castillo making a run toward Valdez in the event the ball goes to him. Castillo is in a good position to make a play on the ball should it go to Valdez - or at least contain Valdez and pressure him.

Look at the space Aguilar has though.

Marche sees this and hits the longer ball upfield toward the sideline. Castillo has committed too far up on Valdez, and midfielder Luis Chávez heads over toward Aguilar. There’s no way Chávez can make it over to Aguilar before he gets the ball and even making it to him in time to contain him is a stretch, given that Chávez’ trajectory is taking him toward Aguilar and not into the space in front of him.

This opens up space for Matheus Uribe down the line.

Here, América’s practice and execution pays off. Aguilar flicks the ball on down to Uribe without looking. Right back Luis Fuentes tries to come over to cover Matheus, but Uribe takes a touch and flips it up the field toward Renato Ibarra over his own head.

Diego “Torito” Rodríguez initially starts toward Uribe but then peals off toward Ibarra when he realizes what Matheus is doing. Juan Carlos “Topo” Valenzuela also comes up from his center back position, but Ibarra’s touch causes Torito and Topo to almost collide.

Notice Lainez at this point.

There is no one near him, and the players in front of him are already marking someone. Julián Velázquez is on Roger Martínez and Omar Mendoza is on Andrés Ibargüen, and they’re faced with either leaving their man alone to mark Lainez or hoping that Ibarra can be closed down before he can get the ball over to Lainez.

Watch the runs Martínez and Ibargüen make once Ibarra makes his turn. Ibargüen sticks to the far side of the pitch, while Martínez cuts toward the near sideline. This opens up even more space for Lainez. Mendoza realizes this and heads in toward Lainez, willing to risk having Ibargüen out wide alone. Lainez meanwhile is pointing to where he wants the ball, and Ibarra serves up a perfectly weighted ball to Lainez.

From there, it’s all Lainez. He takes a few touches and seemingly picks his spot before unleashing a shot that beat Tijuana goalkeeper Gibran Lajud. Lainez is a special player and that was a special goal, but the thirteen seconds from Marchesín to Lainez to 3-0 was equally as special.