Sebastian Jaime's goal on Saturday was a beautiful thing, and not just it put Real Salt Lake up 2-0 aaginst Seattle Sounders.
What we saw was a goal from a team that has built an unusual amount of attacking understanding in the last two months, and it was about good movement, good control, good shooting, and, most of all, a good result.
Kyle Beckerman kicked the movement off with a simple pass to Joao Plata, and this was as far forward as he came during the play. You won't see him in the frame again, but you can immediately see the impact his pass had.
Rather than looking toward Luis Silva centrally, Javier Morales in the channel, Tony Beltran out wide, or Luke Mulholland in a safe position, Beckerman's stretched to pick out Plata in a good attacking position. Now, remember — Plata can shoot from there, and we've seen it before.
Here, Plata's passing options aren't spectacular, and he's more or less cut-off from handing off to Luis Silva in the middle. That's perhaps RSL's most dangerous option, but notice Silva jogging forward — he's about to move a player with him, and that little bit of movement is going to make a difference in the final play.
Here, you can see the effect of that movement. They're now attempting an offside trap, with Plata being squeezed out by a trio of players. It's a reasonable defensive setup, but by trying to play the offside trap, they've already put themselves on the back foot. First, they're not well-aligned in their actions; second, they haven't accounted for a pressure-relieving pass at all.
From there, Plata chips the ball up and over, and somewhat surprisingly, Luis Silva actually tips it back to Plata. I don't know if that was his goal, or if he didn't get a good touch to play it forward to Jaime, but in doing so, the whole defensive setup has been disrupted. It didn't take an outlet pass, but they're now even more vulnerable to it.
That pass by Silva is up there with Kyle Beckerman's as unrecognized in value, because it's the pop back to Plata that sets us up for our final ball. Plata is, again, surrounded by three, but notice that they're not trying to block off any meaningful pass that isn't forward. While they've cut out Plata's options in one way, they've freed him up to retain possession, force the deepest line of confrontation (the red one) away from goal, and Seattle is now ripe for disruption.
Luke Mulholland takes the shot here, and it pings off the crossbar back toward attacking players. You'll notice here that the lines of confrontation have essentially merged, and seven players are cordoned off into a distinctly small area.
While it would have been an unusual amount of fun to see Mulholland score from there, it didn't come to be. There's nothing particularly strategic about what happens next — Sebastian Jaime simply recognizes the ball's rocketing off the crossbar before anyone else, and he doesn't complicate his header into the net. He could've tried to control it, or place a header, or any number of other things, but instead, he just sort of cushions the ball into the goal.
It was perfect.