The idea to blog on this matter came to me directly after my coed team's 3-0 win Thursday night. In the game, I scored a real poacher's goal. I read a bounce which I figured would soar over the last defender and put me through on the keeper. My calculations were right and the job was easy from there, as I coolly slotted the ball home. The taste of a goal like this, was delicious. I have scored all sorts of goals during various stages of my soccer life, but scoring a true poacher's goal last night brought me back to why I freakin' love these kind of goals.
Whether it be reading a potential error in play, testing the offsides line, or simply being in the right place at the right time in the area, goal poaching brings dividends. Consider Milan hitman Filippo Inzaghi (pictured above), who Sir Alex Ferguson claims was "born offside." Super Pippo has scored crucial goals for club and country, winning every footballing title know to man. He has lived every players dream (and one which few achieve): winning the domestic league, domestic cup, Champions League and World Cup. After that, what else is there? He's made a living dancing along the offsides line and picking up any scraps in or around the 6-yd box. He is crafty, well-positioned, and ready to pounce at the whim of possibility. Here are a few reasons why we should appreciate players like this more:
1) They are smart and opportunistic.
Transforming a small chance into a big reward exudes quality. Poachers mix instinct with insight, giving them the ability to read and foresee a goal from the smallest opportunity.
2) They win games (big ones too).
Ronaldo in the World Cup Final of 2002. Inzaghi in the Champions Leauge Final of 2007. Zlatan on the last day of the Serie A, MULTIPLE years. Big players poaching in huge games to bring home titles for their teams and fans.
3) They are exciting!
Seeing a poacher snatch a goal out of nothing brings the crowd to it's feet! I felt good after scoring on Thursday and it was primarily because I scored in this manner. Flashing into a situation and coming out with a goal to your name is exciting for all but the opposition (sorry losers).
4) They keep teams honest.
Nothing haunts me more then seeing someone like Pippo or Ibra bag a goal out of nowhere against my beloved Lupi. It is frustrating to be pitted against that 'right place, right time, somehow he scored striker' and watch as he runs to the sideline in celebration. However, a poacher's existence, as irritating as it may be, keeps teams on their toes.
I feel extra credit must be given to instinctual, split second thinking. A poacher's goal, or what one we might call an opportunistic goal, lives on this thinking. So give props to those who score them, people (ME ME ME ME)!
Please stay tuned for the next edition of Sensible Soccer where I'll slide-tackle (two-footed) the Ballon d'Or sham, 2010.