Brandon Vincent has been lauded for what he has given the Chicago Fire's attack this season, but it took Patrick Doody to surpass his assist production from left back.
Doody had three assists in Saturday's win against New England to go with one assist he had in his first appearance the previous week in Kansas City. Vincent has one goal and three assists this season. Here's a look at Doody's big game and what he gives the Fire as opposed to Vincent and the controversy on Juninho's go-ahead goal late in the first half.
Patrick Doody's breakout game
Patrick Doody's first game in a year and a half had its ups and downs. He assisted on David Accam's goal in the second half in Kansas City, but he also got burned by Graham Zusi on KC's second goal. His second game of the season was more about the positive with three assists and cleaner defending.
Doody's first assist, Juninho’s goal, was a fairly simple pass from Doody. He picked his head up and saw Schweinsteiger. Passing to Schweinsteiger is rarely a bad option. Schweinsteiger saw one better and dummied the ball through for Juninho.
The second assist, Michael de Leeuw’s header, is a highlight reel caliber cross from Doody. Coach Veljko Paunovic referred to it as a “curveball” after the game and it’s not hard to see why. The ball curled out of reach of the goalkeeper and had enough depth to go over the centerback’s attempted headed clearance.
What’s good to see from Doody on this play is that he took on his defender. Doody moved more centrally to provide Dax McCarty with a passing option. Center mid Scott Caldwell stepped up to defend Doody. To get back to the wing, Doody had to take a big touch wide. He had enough separation from Caldwell to put in the cross and de Leeuw did the rest.
The third assist showed more aggression from Doody. He pushed forward to get to the corner late in the game. The cross itself may have been more hopeful than directed, but Solignac did the work to turn it into an assist.
Doody probably isn't as good in possession or defensively as Vincent, but his crosses are better. Vincent has improved in virtually all aspects this season, but Doody is probably still the best crosser on the team. His quality service on the wing has been apparent in practice, but he has been able to show it off in games finally. Now that teams are going to be well aware of what Doody can produce from crossing areas, defenders will be marking him differently. Let's see if he can still produce.
Controversy on Juninho’s goal
Juninho scored what held up as the game-winner and it was his first goal with the Fire, but New England wasn’t happy with the goal. It wasn’t the goal itself, but a foul that happened 20 seconds before it.
David Accam had the ball on the left wing, took a heavy touch and ran into Revolution defender Andrew Farrell as Farrell cleared the ball away. The Revs wanted a foul called. The ref waved for Farrell to get up.
Meanwhile, Schweinsteiger picked up the loose ball from Farrell’s clearance and dribbled right back at New England’s defense. Farrell gets to his feet a few seconds before Schweinsteiger goes back to that side with a pass to Patrick Doody. Doody then sets up Juninho for the goal.
“I think the second goal, really, really hurt us because we just felt like there was a foul on the play,” New England coach Jay Heaps said after the match. “Other than that, it’s going up the other way, we get to halftime 1-1 and we can still regroup.”
In the new era of video review in MLS, this play is something that could have been reviewed. One of the vague terms the league has been using is “attacking phase of play.” Goals can be reviewed not just for something that was clearly missed by the ref on the shot or the assist, but if at any point there is an infraction in the “attacking phase of play.” In this case, you could argue that Schweinsteiger picking up the ball is the start of the attacking phase of play, therefore the possible foul on Accam may not have been reviewable. Even so, Paul Tenorio said on the broadcast that the video assistant referee did check the play, but did not call for further review.