FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas’ Newcomer of the Year candidate Michel is making waves in the opening stanza of the 2013 MLS campaign, and he could've made the biggest one yet this past Saturday night against the Seattle Sounders.
This time around, the Brazilian is in the running for AT&T Goal of the Week after he curled a corner kick over Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning’s head and inside the far post in FCD's eventual 4-2 loss at CenturyLink Field. Michel said that was the first time in his career he has hit the rare “olimpico,” but that he was not surprised the team scored on the play.
“We practice that play – to curve the ball in close to the 'keeper and have someone sort of try and block,” he explained through an interpreter. “I got fortunate that it went in, but we practice putting the ball in that way all the time.”
“I had a similar play against Vancouver where I put the same kind of ball in, the keeper tried to parry it away, and it hit Kenny [Cooper] and it went in, so it was kind of the same play.”
Michel has now been involved in 11 of the team’s 20 goals on the season, while Dallas lead all of MLS with 10 set-piece goals.
“Brilliant,” was FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman’s response when asked what he thought of the rare feat. “This might have been the first time I’ve seen it since I’ve been here at FC Dallas. The higher the level of play, the less you see that because you have tremendous goalkeepers, you have great defenders, so you’re going to see that less and less.”
Hyndman has often said in the past that he prefers in-swinging corners and free kicks for exactly this reason – there’s a chance it will go in all on its own.
“[Michel] hit the ball with good pace, he put it into a danger zone – I think we had Je-Vaughn [Watson] at the far post in case it didn’t go in and then … Kenny was exactly where he needed to be, so the goalie got boxed in and didn’t have anywhere to go,” Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com.
“You don’t [get] those if he’s serving from the other flank because it will naturally curve away.”
The goal in the 61st minute tied the match at 2-2, but it is what happened next that defined the match for Hyndman.
“This was an excellent goal for us to tie the game," he said. "[But] after such a brilliant moment, our disappointment was to turn the ball over in the midfield and get scored on again within a minute, and we have to do better with that.”