For the veteran Portuguese winger, his late backheel was more about stress release than unbridled joy.
“I don’t remember to score a goal like that,” Nani said after the match. “It's always nice to score goals like that because it's like a release of a lot of stress.”
The stress for Nani and his teammates came from getting goal-scoring chances, finishing those opportunities, only to see two goals waved off by the offside flag, including one of three Video Review decisions on the night.
Only the last of those reviews — Nani’s 79th-minute leveler — was ruled a goal. Neither coach, not Orlando's Oscar Pareja or Peter Vermes for SKC, complained about the calls.
“Today we suffered a lot because we deserved that equalizer and after Nani scored such a great goal with such creativity, such a beautiful gesture, you want it to be real,” Pareja said. “But they took their time and we were frustrated for a moment. But fortunately it was a great goal for him.”
Nani said he also enjoyed the goal because there wasn’t much for him to do. The carom off a blocked Chris Mueller attempt fell perfectly to him. And then he showed his class with the finish, though the description of the goal after showed the humility of the former Manchester United and Portugal star.
“We were in the situation in the game where we needed to score and it was good to score like that because I didn’t have to do too much,” Nani said. “The ball just bounced to me and then I had just to do the movement, back heel, and it was good.”
Earlier, Andres Perea, who has played in a more advanced role early in the season due to injuries, thought he had scored his first goal of a young MLS career, only for it to be taken away following Video Review.
“I was really happy with my goal,” Perea said. “I was really unlucky, but maybe the next one comes and I’m going to work to score again and make opportunities for my team and do whatever the team needs to win the games. But I was really happy.”
“The goal he scores, people aren’t going to look at it this way but from my perspective I look at it as being an incredibly high level goal,” Vermes said. “Maybe you you could even say world class from the perspective of the tight space that he received the return and the quick release and hit it to the near post like he did and overpower the ‘keeper was tremendous.”