No, he didn’t plan to score a goal straight off a corner kick, and yes, his team deserved these three points. And the veteran made sure to mention almost every one of his teammates who played a role in the victory like an Academy Awards acceptance speech.
The stars aligned just right for what ended up being what Medunjanin called “the perfect corner kick.”
“When it's five minutes to go, I think that’s the best corner to take — in front of everybody, in front of the goalkeeper, to make it very difficult, to make him make a choice,” Medunjanin said. “But you need to have also a little bit luck over there. I was just trying to shoot as hard as I could to my teammates there, but the ball took a little bit of a strange touch and went straight in.”
It wasn’t the first time a Medunjanin corner kick was influential in an FC Cincinnati win over the Red Bulls. The last Cincy win came at the MLS is Back Tournament where Medunjanin’s corner went in off Florian Valot to spark his team to a 2-0 victory.
So his teammates weren’t necessarily surprised, but they sure as heck were impressed.
“I mean it's a spectacular goal,” said defender Nick Hagglund, who impressed in his first start in since last October. “This isn’t a goal that happens all the time, but do we practice it? Absolutely. We make sure that this is our game plan, that we know the weaknesses of the goalie and we kind of put the ball right on top of him. Haris was trying to put it in a dangerous spot and it was incredibly dangerous, in the back of the net. He has this quality about him, the way he serves a ball that you wouldn't say you're surprised, but it is a spectacular goal for him.”
FC Cincinnati coach Jaap Stam couldn’t immediately recall the last time he witnessed an Olimpico in person during his storied career. But he’s seen Medunjanin do it at training.
“Maybe I scored one myself back in the day. No, I don’t remember,” Stam joked. “Sometimes you need to have a bit of luck as well, but like I said before. Haris, he's got the ability and he's done it before in training sessions. My staff is very busy with the players as well in creating opportunities from set pieces. And when you're taking set pieces, going forward, it’s very important that you have somebody who's got a great kick to put that ball where you want to have it. He’s done that and we're very happy about that.”
In some ways, to concede a goal of that variety is a microcosm of how things are faring for the Red Bulls these days. The team is being punished for missed, or in Saturday’s case few, chances and give up a “worldie” on the other end.
“As the game goes on, we said it was going to be tight, we said it was going to be a game divided on margins and no cause to panic, no cause to pull the panic button just yet and then they score a worldie of a goal of which they have no influence in,” interim coach Bradley Carnell said.
“It wasn’t Kendall Waston crashing in on the box, we dictated that, we put it on our terms for all the set pieces we faced on the night, and unfortunately, as per the picture, it’s probably fitting over the last couple of weeks, that one goes in. It leaves me thinking ‘what do we have to do to score?’ but we keep going.”