Over on the RSL Soapbox discussion channel I was asked how Adam Henley, who has been injured early this season, played in his appearance for the Monarchs over the weekend. Unfortunately for me the highlight video for Corey Baird’s first professional goal off Maikel Chang’s picture perfect cross starts a little too late to illustrate the roll played by Adam Henley and demonstrate the interplay present between Henley, Hoffman and Chang in the first half of the match. Let me lead you through the build up to the cross in a series of screen captures and have you evaluate his performance. If you would like to see the sequence in video and normal speed go out to the YouTube link below and start the video at the the 5:55 mark in game time or 16:34 on the video replay.
Just before the 6:00 mark Nick Besler makes a long high clearance out of the Monarchs end that sails all the way upfield to a Roughnecks defender. The defender heads the ball back toward the Monarchs end only to have it sail out of bounds near the midfield stripe on the Monarch right hand side.
Maikel Chang (#44) quickly collects the ball on its way back in and tosses it over to Adam Henley (#3) to make the throw in and before moves up field into the Tulsa half.
In this image the ball has just left Henley’s hands and is moving toward Chang who is waiting on the infield of the baseball stadium. Justin Portillo is just infield from Chang on the midfield line and Sebastian Velasquez is in the center of the four Tulsa defenders.
As Maikel settles the ball at his feet, Adam moves up field toward him while Chandler Hoffman pulls a defender back toward the ball at the right edge of the image and Velasquez moves to provide an outlet toward the middle of the field.
Both Chang and Hoffman establish contact with the defenders on their backs and Velasquez continues moving to establish a passing lane toward the center of the field.
Maikel continues to hold his ground allowing the defender by Adam to close in an attempt to box him in. Adam maintains his distance and receives a short high percentage pass while looking up field at his offensive options. Justin has remained in position on the midline and Sebastian now has moved into a clear passing lane as another option for Adam.
Henley receives the ball with his right foot and slides it around to his left while looking at his options. He can go in to Velasquez, forward to Hoffman or take the ball upfield himself.
Adam elects to move upfield with the ball and draws two defenders to him. Maikel turns and races up along the line. Hoffman maintains contact with his defender. Velasquez remains in a clear passing land and Portillo begins to slowly move up with the motion of the play.
Henley continues to move upfield toward the double team as Chang pulls away from the Tulsa midfielder who is remaining back behind the play near the sideline. Hoffman establishes some space in anticipation of a pass. Velasquez trails the play to still provide a clear outlet for Henley back to the center.
Henley splits the two defenders as Hoffman begin a turn into the center to give him room and Chang continues to motor up the sideline. The defender behind Hoffman now needs to decide if he will follow Hoffman or move off toward Chang.
The defender is now facing a three on one situation as the two defenders split by Adam attempt to recover.
Henley continues to draw the defender and shifts the ball to make a pass for the now open Hoffman moving toward the center. Chang continues to speed into the corner and provide another option.
As the pass moves toward Chandler the trailing defenders move toward him and the defender on Henley turns to face Hoffman as well. Chang starts to slow in an attempt to stay onside.
The ball arrives at Chandler along with the trailing defender, Velasquez moves up in support as Henley turns and Chang stays wide and onside.
Hoffman manages to redirect the ball forward and then attempts to knock it back out to the open Henley, but the ball deflects off the defender moving to shut down the passing lane.
It manages to roll by Henley but moves on out toward Chang who races to cut it off.
Chang makes it back to cutoff the ball and Henley wisely turn up field in an attempt to pull off a defender. Hoffman turns and heads toward goal as well. Chang is left wide open with time to survey the field and the cross is off toward the onrushing Corey Baird.
Corey Baird comes into the picture and heads it cleanly home across the goalmouth leaving the Tulsa keeper little chance of making any save.
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