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Breaking down Buffalo Men's Soccer's pair of goals vs Cornell

Yesterday while watching the replay of Women's Soccer's win over Kent State, I was impressed by their goal and decided to do a post breaking it down. I had a lot of fun doing that and was equally pleased by Men's Soccer's showing against Cornell, so I've done the same.

Neither of these goals have the same buildup as the Women's goal, which is probably ok. Both came on good long balls and strong initial touches, and both saw strong finishing, which is really what the Bulls have been missing in October.

Buffalo 1-0 Cornell
Braden Scales (Cramarossa, Doney)

This is really a pretty simple play that succeeded for two reasons: Russell Cicerone drew the attention of FOUR defenders, and Daniel Cramarossa made a great play.

(1) Cicerone and Cramarossa are in a crowd of defenders. Cornell looks in OK shape here. Russ is moving towards the ball and the Big Red have numbers along the back line.

(2) Cramarossa makes a run into open space as Doney plays the ball. A split second earlier, three defenders committed to Cicerone, and a fourth took a step and half in his direction, leaving space for Cramarossa to move unhindered.

Given where this play is going, it sure looks offside by the end, but this is the money shot I believe. Cornell #17 and the guy in front of Scales are both in front of Cramarossa.

(3) All of a sudden, Cornell's in trouble. Cramarossa is preparing to backheel the ball into the space in front of the net, where Scales (and I think Enstrom, but maybe Netskar) have easily gotten a step on three defenders. This is where the offside instinct comes - the Big Red were just slow on this play. Maybe they thought they had trapped Buffalo successfully.

Rhys Moller has come out of the net, anticipating a loose ball, but he's not going to get to it before it hits Cramarossa.

(4) Cramarossa manages the backheel, Moller is doomed, and Scales only needs to stop the ball from bouncing past him.

This is the last piece of the "it's not offside" puzzle: Behind all the defenders, Scales does need to stay even with the ball, and here and in the next picture he's scrambling to catch up to it.

(5) Scales knocks it down.

It wasn't necessarily super-pretty, but it didn't need to be, because Cicerone bought space for Cramarossa and Cornell's other defenders were so flat-footed (or in Moller's case, out of position) that Daniel had room to messily redirect it.

Buffalo 2-0 Cornell
Russell Cicerone (Culver, Doney)

This goal was a little less simple, but started with some good field awareness by Austin Place and finished with consecutive passes into space.

(1) Place plays the ball forward. This isn't entirely noteworthy, but it's a great play, because look at all the Cornell defenders in the shot. Off screen, it's Doney and Cicerone matched up two on two with the Big Red. Braden Culver is at the 32 yard line, and only he and the two Cornell players in the upper left will factor into this play after Place puts it forward.

(2) Doney bicycles the ball over his head. Culver has been running since the ball was kicked, as have the two defenders, and Doney doesn't have the room to corral the ball, but he does have the height to touch it first, like Cramarossa did earlier. He plays it into the space behind him, hoping Culver gets to it.

No one is even looking at Russ.

(3) Culver touches the ball once, and gets it across as defenders converge on him. No one was looking at Russ, so there are now four defenders on the play unable to stop an overhead kick and a single touch and worthless after that. Moller is this time a little slow to react, and seems oddly far to his left even for where Culver is.

(4) Ha. This was a goal the second Culver got a clean touch in. Russ has yards and yards of space, and as Moller is shifting over he leans early and opens up the left side of the net.