Sometimes all the practice, all the patterns and systems do not matter. Instead it is a moment of flair that opens up a game. An experienced and/or skillful player will do something that turns a rather routine play into magic. Not all of that magic results in an assist.
In the win over the Portland Timbers the first goal, an own goal, will result in no assists given. Not for Adam Johansson, nor for Osvaldo Alonso the last two Sounders FC players to touch the ball. But even if it was not an own goal Christian Tiffert would not get an assist. He never touched the ball.
His dummy was clearly a part of why that goal was scored. It opened up an aggressive defense and took advantage of over-pursuit. Without that dummy Johansson probably never gets the ball.
“I thought it was just the best way,” Tiffert said after practice Thursday. “If I'd touched the ball someone was behind me and maybe he takes it. So I saw Johansson running and did it.”
But it was not planned, he didn’t even think about it. Instead his vision and knowledge of where his teammates should be resulted in an instinctive play that could only result in a chance.
Assistant Coach Brian Schmetzer says that the team does not plan around dummies. It is the players that enact that bit of flair or other moments of creativity.
“It's two fold. When a guy has more experience, like Tiffert does, your vision is better. You see the field more and make those types of decisions,” Schmetzer said Thursday after practice. “It's also the creative guys. You rarely see, unless it's a simple easy roll through to the keeper, you rarely see a defender dummy the ball, but you're going to see Montero, or Ochoa, or Estrada, or Zakuani. The creative guys have that little bit of flair. They're the ones that aren't afraid to try something different.”
So that dummy? It was not designed, but it was the right thing to do.
“Some players have a good look [vision] and they see runs, space and with their eyes they see many parts of the field. Some players are looking more straight it depends on the player,” Tiffert theorized. “Maybe it is experience, or the players, but like I said it I just did it.”